By all accounts, 2016 has been an extraordinary year for Silicon Valley. Not only have the technology behemoths mustered a growing influence on Capitol Hill, their sheer market capitalization also testifies to one undeniable fact: They are the ones who change the world. The tech industry's missions are unapologetic and filled with passion. Their corporate myths are often wrapped up in their early days as startups. That some awkward twenty-year-old could turn their social ineptness into their biggest advantage and build a global enterprise from their garage is the highest expression of the American dream.
Will robots put Arnie out of a job? Schwarzenegger comes face to face with a rival during a press conference for'Terminator Genisys' at a press conference in South Korea (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon) Science fiction in the movies is almost as old as the movies themselves. It didn't take long before frock-coated futurologists spotted the potential of the medium resulting in the production of'A Trip to the Moon' by George Melies in 1902. But how good is cinema at predicting the future with any degree of accuracy? Where for example were all those spaceships that were supposed to be buzzing backwards and forwards to the moon fifteen years ago according to '2001: A Space Odyssey', given that the last person to set foot on it did so back in 1972?
As carmakers and tech companies race to perfect self-driving vehicles, Apple's program and its automotive intentions remain notably ambiguous. Like Washington's old rule about the National Security Agency, its very existence isn't to be mentioned – at least not by the company. Yet when Apple recently offered views on preliminary guidelines for autonomous vehicles in a letter to U.S. regulators, it let slip an interesting detail: Its "Titan" project team has a high-level Big 3 veteran with more than 30 years of industry expertise. The author of Apple's comments to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is Steve Kenner, identified in the letter as the company's director of product integrity. It confirms that Apple wants the option to test automated vehicles on public roads, though it doesn't mention a specific plan to do so or an intention to commercialize such technology.
We are on the cusp of a new industrial revolution defined by the blending of our digital and physical worlds. At HP we call this Blended Reality, and we believe it will surpass the revolutions that came before in scale, scope and complexity. Connected factories, robotics, artificial intelligence, augmented reality and 3D printing have the potential to disrupt and reinvent virtually every aspect of the $12 trillion manufacturing industry, unlocking unprecedented economic potential. We estimate 3D printing will expand at a 30% compound annual growth rate to an $18 billion industry in 2021, with plastics being the largest portion of the market accounting for an estimated $10.4 billion. Even at $18 billion, that is a small fraction of the $12 trillion manufacturing industry.
Joni Mitchell lamented how they paved paradise to put up a parking lot in 1970. But in 2035, we might be tearing up those lots to build parks and playgrounds. Bits of urban paradise restored: It's one of the many unintended consequences of autonomous vehicles. Although futuristic to some, the technology is being worked on by at least 33 major corporations. And in California, at least 15 companies have permits to test autonomous vehicles on public roads.