It’s hard to predict whether a particularly promising technology is going to be transformative. Great corporate names which seemed at one time to offer innovative products or services with unlimited possibilities have turned out in retrospect to have pioneered one-trick ponies. Several seemingly more modest enterprises, on the other hand, have managed to transform themselves into world leaders in what has seemed the blink of an eyelash.
We make lists of technologies that seem to us to have transformative potential. Several years after 3D printing was invented in 1983, this technology started to appear on top-ten lists of transformative technologies. The fact it’s still on these lists decades later, though probably a promising sign, is just that: a promising sign.
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