Common Purposes Blog

Common Purposes

What are the Common Purposes? I've dwelt on that question since first reading my alma mater's founding principle "for the purposes of instructing persons, who may choose to apply themselves, in the application of science to the common purposes of life". The question, more than any answer I may ever offer, has guided me through many personal and professional endeavors. And, if I have learned anything it is that I have derived my greatest joy when I, as part of a team, have made a lasting difference to improve the lives of others. Should the thoughts I share here and the ensuing discussion lead others to ask the same question, to seek their own answers and to experience the same joy as I, then I shall consider this effort of value.

Image: "The New Shoes" by Jane Bucci. This work is based on the touching photo snapped by Gerald Waller in 1946, in Austria. The little boy, who lived in an orphanage, had just been given new shoes by the American Red Cross.

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Much To Do! Twelve Potentially Economically Disruptive Technologies

Posted June 12, 2013 12:12 PM by MillMatt

Please read this free and insightful report from McKinsey & Co.: Disruptive Technologies: Advances that will Transform Life, Business, and the Global Economy. You will be glad you did. (Note: there is a link to an Executive Summary and a Full Report; the full report is long but well worth your time.)

I'm going to be very brief here in my remarks. The report is long and speaks for itself; I would rather you read it than my thoughts on the matter. Suffice it to say, once in a GREAT while, a knowledgeable group of individuals will undertake a thoughtful review and present information of value in a logical and inspiring manner. And, in this case, the information is of incredible professional value to the CR4 audience.

In a nutshell, McKinsey's team has assessed various technologies currently being developed and presented information on the twelve that they believe meet the following criteria:

  • High rate of technology change
  • Broad potential scope of impact
  • Large economic value that could be affected (by 2025)
  • Substantial potential for disruptive economic impact (by 2025)

The twelve technologies are:

Mobile InternetIncreasingly inexpensive and capable mobile computing devices and internet connectivity
Automation of Knowledge WorkIntelligent software systems that can perform knowledge work tasks involving unstructured commands and subtle judgments
Internet of ThingsNetworks of low-cost sensors and actuators for data collection, monitoring, decision making and process optimization
Cloud TechnologyUse of computer hardware and software resources delivered over a network or the internet, often as a service
Advanced RoboticsIncreasingly capable robots with enhanced senses, dexterity and intelligence used to automate tasks or augment humans
Autonomous/Near Autonomous VehiclesVehicles that can navigate and operate with reduced or no human intervention
Next Generation GenomicsFast, low-cost gene sequencing, advanced big data analytics and synthetic biology ("writing" DNA)
Energy StorageDevices or systems that store energy for later user, including batteries
3D PrintingAdditive manufacturing techniques to create objects by printing layers of material based on digital models
Advanced MaterialsMaterials designed to have superior characteristics (strength, weight, conductivity) or functionality
Advanced Oil & Gas Exploration/RecoveryExploration and recovery techniques that make extraction of unconventional oil/gas economical
Renewable EnergyGeneration of electricity from renewable sources with reduced harmful climate impact

Let it never be said that people in need cannot be served, that there are insufficient tools or that we lack enough opportunity. Go forth and make it a better world.


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