Catalyzing startup’s stories that end in global narrative disruption.
Major breakthroughs of the internet created brand new vast industries when the world went online. Software ate the world and our entire human race’s collective consciousness is being formulated in ever increasing rates via the internet. The human colossus is still in his teenage years, but he’s waking up. And he will continue to do so at an ever increasing rate.
We will see the rise of armies of robots, replicating the profitable actions of humans on the internet. This will create a class of the have bots and the have nots. The quicker this revolution takes place, the faster the sybil-resistant web comes online. This marks a prominent forward step for mankind.
In this new age of AI, size, intelligence, and utility of botnets will become unprecedented. Content will be enabled to evolve its mimetic fitness over time as more people watch it. First through human guidance and eventually through a neural net trained for virality. Alongside these evolutions human symbiosis with AI video editing will make editing lightning quick. As prices decrease and quality increases of photos, we will see the emergence of video generation. This will allow users to prompt any story or idea and see it play out in real time.
Returns of impact on our personal lives will become greater and greater as we move deeper into an age where we are seeing magic become a reality.
Before we peer much deeper into what the future holds, I first want to glance over the history of the past three industrial revolutions. This will help us enter deeper into understanding how the fourth industrial revolution is set up to emerge.
Innovation seems to happen in a S curve sense. By that I mean rapid first the foundation setting for a new revolution, then its strong emergence, and then the laying of a new foundation. These past 10 years can be seen as the groundwork of the digital age which will be the most disruptive yet. Already we see culture entirely shifted online, this article will lay out what more to expect.
A lot of people claim the Third Industrial Revolution didn't start until 1970 and is still ongoing, while others claim there's only one industrial revolution and everything since has just been sub-periods within it. And a good number include the inter-revolutionary periods in their accompanying revolutions.
This graph and the sections laid out simply help categorize the advancements. We are in the foundational period before the boom of computing and digital.
"Foundational Period" refers to the fact that technology generally progresses in inter-twining S-curves and right as one paradigm peaks, another troughs before rising. This is why people between 1920-1940 and between 2000 and 2020 felt like all the great technologies of their preceding industrial revolutions had given way to incremental iterative improvements and great laboratory advancements that never seemed capable of actually leaving the laboratory. If you ever wondered why the 2000s and 2010s felt indistinguishable and slow, as if nothing changed from 1999 to the present, it was because you were living in that intermediate period between technological revolutions. During that time, all the necessary components for the Fourth Industrial Revolution were being set up as the foundations for what we're seeing now while simultaneously all the fruits of the Third Industrial Revolution were fully maturing and perhaps even starting to spoil, with nothing particularly overwhelming pushing things forward. You might remember this as "foundational futurism."
As it stands, a lot of foundational stuff tends to be pretty boring on its own. Science fiction talks of the future being things like flying cars, autonomous cars, humanoid servant robots, synthetic media, space colonies, neurotechnology, and so on. Sci-fi media sometimes set years for these things to happen, like the 1990s or 2000s. Past futurists often set similar dates. Dates like, say, 2020 AD. According to Blade Runner, we're supposed to have off-world colonies and 100% realistic humanoid robots (e.g. with human-level artificial general intelligence) by now. According to Ray Kurzweil, we were supposed to have widespread human-AI relationships (ala Her) and PCs with the same power as the human brain by 2019. When these dates passed and the most we had was, say, the Web 2.0 and smartphones, we felt depressed about the future.
But here's the thing: we're basically asking why we don't have a completed 2-story house when we're still setting down the foundation, a foundation using tools that were created in the preceding years.
We couldn't get to the modern internet without P2P, VoIP, enterprise instant messaging, e-payments, business rules management, wireless LANs, enterprise portals, chatbots, and so on. Things that are so fundamental to how the internet circa 2020 works that we can scarcely even consider them individually. No increased bandwidth for computer connections? No audio or video streaming. No automated trading or increased use of chatbots? No fully automated businesses. No P2P? No blockchain. No smartphones or data sharing? No large data sets that can be used to power machine learning, and thus no advanced AI.
Finally and a bit more lightheartedly, I'd strongly recommend against using this to predict future industrial revolutions unless you're writing a pulp sci-fi story and need to figure out roughly when the 37th industrial revolution will be underway. If the Fourth Industrial Revolution pans out the way I feel it will, there won't be a Fifth. Or perhaps more accurately, we won't be able to predict the Fifth, specifically when it'll take place and what it will involve.
The first Industrial Revolution went from 1760–1840, and was defined by steam power and textile industry.
Life in 1840 was not much different from life in 1760. Outside the general background technological progress being known, your daily life and the general human condition had not meaningfully changed since the days of Ancient Greece other than the increased number of machines and better nutrition. This industrial revolution largely benefited only the capitalist owners, undermining the aristocracy and causing a drop off in the quality of life for the working class. The Napoleonic Wars had a big effect in causing the revolution to continue past the point it would have otherwise ended by delaying the industrialization of Europe until it all started happening at once.
First Foundation Setting Period: 1840-1870, which started because technology got about as good as it possibly could at the time. This was the era of an economic recession as a result of the end of the industrial revolution, of technological refinements to what came before, the maturation of the telegraph, and the birth of the technologies that would later define the Second Industrial Revolution, such as the telephone, recorded sound, automobiles, atomic physics, modern medicine and germ theory, and more. Otherwise, little changed in the daily life of the average person.
The second Industrial Revolution went from 1870-1914 and is defined by the maturation of electricity, electric light, advanced steam power, nuclear physics, early quantum physics, the telephone, automobiles, the birth of modern medicine, modern agriculture, advanced mechanics, radio, and so much more that it boggles the mind. For the first time, technological change had a direct effect on the human condition, changing the quality of life for even the poor. The Industrialization of life itself wrought great optimism, but it also directly led to the bloodshed of the first World War.
Second Foundation Period: 1915-1945. Capped by the First and Second World Wars, this was an era where the fruits of the Second Industrial Revolution really ripened and matured, but the rate of world changing innovations slowed in the meantime. The foundations for the Third, Digital Revolution were established, but technological limitations prevented a flourishing. The average futurist of this era would have been flummoxed at where the great innovations of the previous generation had gone, and why it had all been replaced by countries and reloading for another pointless world war. Of course, innovative discoveries and inventions still happened, such as jet propulsion, digital computing, penicillin, nuclear power, space exploration, and the Chemical Revolution. However, the innovations of the Second Industrial Revolution wrought great horrors upon the world due to society developing slower than technology. Most notably through the rise of totalitarianism, fascism, communism, and industrial genocide.
Third Industrial Revolution: 1945-1995, which was defined by nuclear power and advanced energy production, digital computing, the birth of the internet, genetic modification, jet flight, space flight, early robotics, television, mass media, mass electrification, home automation, personal computers, and much more. The human condition changed at a rate so extreme that the future was no longer easily predictable based on past performance. In fact, even the poorest could now live better than kings of olde.
Third Inter-Revolutionary Period: 1995-Present (?), marked by the maturation of digital technology and the overwhelming sense of technological stagnation. Also known as the Smartphone Era, the Social Media Era, and Y-2-Lame, the expectations of the new millennium being an era of science fiction dreams come true initially seemed to be dashed by the arrival of Y2K in a society that seemed otherwise unchanged since the 1970s sans advanced computing.
When 2000 came and went, we noted that we were still "doing things," to use a phrase I coined before. We were still getting in rattly elevators, driving our own cars, planting on our food, flipping off light switches, walking to places we wanted to be, hanging out with friends in meat-space, shopping in physical stores, and otherwise living lives that could best be described as "high-tech 1970s."
There were no flying cars. There were no domestic robots. There were no smart-glasses. There were no virtual reality headsets (on the mass market). There were no driverless cars. There were no holograms. There were no colonies on the moon or Mars. Militaries weren't using ray guns or force fields. We weren't becoming cyber-augmented transhumans. We weren't living in mile-high starscrapers. Buildings were still rectangles in the sky. The best chatbots were still Markov chains that didn't understand anything past the fourth thing you told it. And even though we got some form of home robots with the Roomba, it was the dumbest thing imaginable. It felt like even the Ancient Greeks could have developed something like it. Plasma screen TVs and big stereoes were a poor replacement for the future we were promised. As has been mentioned before, this was the era of a yuppie with a pager and PDA bicycling to work while a Boeing 747 flies above the smoggy, boxy metropolis filled with rose-petal highways. In some ways, that was futuristic, if you compared it to life in, say, rural France in the 1600s. But compared to our sci-fi visions of tomorrow, this was the lamest possible future imaginable.
The summer of 2010 was hot, muggy, and hazy in a world where advanced AI was a bunch of magic tricks in a barely-elaborate Potemkin village. The best robots could barely walk without being tethered, and ASIMO seemed to almost be light years ahead of the competition just because it could navigate stairs reliably. This was supposed to be the technology that replaced human workers? Even if you claimed it wouldn't happen for another century, it was a hard sell.
However, in the background, the paradigms of the next industrial revolution were established, such as machine learning, artificial general intelligence, genetic engineering, fusion power, advanced solar and wind power, automation, room temperature superconductors, transhumanism, mixed reality, the metaverse, passenger drones, commercial space exploration, advanced space industry, graphene, advanced robotics, brain computer interfaces, and more.
Fourth Industrial Revolution: What's going to happen next?
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is the upcoming/current one.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution will have more quality-of-life impacts on the human condition than even the Second Industrial Revolution, which saw humans going from horse-and-buggies and prayer-and-gin to automobiles, airplanes, and penicillin in just a generation. Indeed, the reason I'm making this fund is because I believe many of us are underestimating what’s to come. In a sense I feel like those not clued in to what our future holds are in the Santa Clause phase of life, its just something you do until you finally see the right information on the situation. In our case, one of societies Santa Clause beliefs is believing investing with a 15-30 year outlook is something that can be done. Its hard to fathom just how obscenely overwhelming the Fourth Industrial Revolution is going to be, potentially as difficult as getting over the fact that Santa Claus never did exist. Nothing we've experienced thus far has adequately prepared us for this.
The power of propaganda and the power of myth will become self evident. We will be able to craft entire worlds and experiences. We will be able to EXPERIENCE thought experiments in full form which will bring new moral truths in full form in the global consciousness. Status is about to become redefined.
What will define the Fourth Industrial Revolution? What are its foundational technologies?
- Artificial Intelligence. Advanced artificial narrow intelligence and artificial general intelligence will be the steam and electricity of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, allowing for a lot of what we're soon to be capable of. Indeed, my honest opinion is that without digital computing and narrow artificial intelligence, we as a technological civilization would have stagnated around 1970 much the same way we could have stagnated in the 1800s without steam power. On its own, AGI almost certainly means the Singularity, a revolution so far beyond anything we've ever seen in the history of life on this planet that it'd essentially begin a new epoch of the universe itself. Of course, that's IF the Kurzweilian Singularity proves true. The sheer range of changes that will come from artificial general intelligence is so absolute that I'd undermine this whole post if I listed them here. This— is— the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
- Genetic engineering. With the human genome now completely decoded and technologies like CRISPR starting to mature, we're rapidly approaching an inflection point where modifying genetic material can be done on an industrial, ultra-precise scale. The very nature of what it means to be human is going to change— and that's without getting into other lifeforms. We could engineer more nutritious food, domesticate wild animals in a single generation, resurrect extinct species, create entirely new species that have never existed before, and so much more. The question isn't "can we?" but "should we" and "will we?" You know my opinion on these matters: yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, we should.
- 3D Printing and Micro-Manufacturing. There was a time around 2013-2015 when 3D printing was overhyped and seen as the next big thing. That hype faded as the limitations of 3D printers became obvious, but that doesn't mean the technology is dead. Rather, it's just maturing in the background. Once atomically-precise printing becomes feasible, all bets are off, and we could see an industrial explosion. 3D printing also ought to make space exploration much, much easier since it would only require us bring raw materials off world (and that's when we couldn't fabricate materials out of extraterrestrial resources, such as for things that require biological matter). The laws of thermodynamics prevent us from creating full-fledged Santa Claus machines, but there's still a wide range of possibilities even with current technology.
- Robotics and automation. Once we have even proto-AGI, let alone the full thing, we'll be living in neo-Antiquity. Robots are the final true stepping stone to a "sci-fi world," because once we have robots, we will have The Future™. Robots mean industry wherever. Robots mean abundance. The lines between capitalism and the idealized version of socialism will blur with the introduction of a technological helot class, and in more entertaining fashion, robots mean almost any fictional creation can be realized in our real world. Barring thermodynamics, robots resolve many of the crises of labor such as the need to eat and rest or the inefficiencies of human labor. But this will only be realized through AI.
- Autonomous vehicles and personal aero-transport. Another technology enabled by AI, autonomous vehicles will be realized once we have commonsense-understanding perfect vision systems, which all but heralds AGI itself (hence my opinion that we need AGI for autonomous vehicle technology to truly take off as promised). As a side effect, autonomous vehicle technology will make the dream of flying cars feasible by cutting out what has always been the biggest obstacle to personal air transport: the need for a human pilot.
- Brain-computer interfaces alone are going to upend everything, with techno-telepathy possibly becoming the next big medium of communication. We're only about a decade out from having a more unified non-invasive regime of changes, and probably two or three from more invasive methods becoming dominant. By the end of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, there WILL be a sizable number of humans who are extensively techno-augmented.
- Metaverse and augmented reality. I view the Metaverse as being a 3D internet more than the buzzword its came to be, and mixed reality will overlay that next generation internet over our actuality. As a result, I see the metaverse as also being a place plenty of people will choose to escape into as an alternative form of proto-transhumanism, and plenty of those aforementioned trans-humans will be defined by the fact they use technology to sustain themselves IRL so they can live out other lives in the metaverse.
- A resolution to the energy crisis. Solar, wind, nuclear fission, nuclear fusion, tidal, geothermal, and space-based solar power will converge to push humanity to realms of energy production so outrageous in such short order that we'll laugh and cringe at the fact we were so dependent upon burning dinosaur-era plants just to keep our civilization functioning. Solar in particular has already passed the terawatt mark, and is almost certainly going to double in about four to five years presuming current growth sustains itself, and that growth will similarly double, to the point solar alone could supply 30% of our global energy needs by 2035 (I think 2030 is too soon, and 2050 far too late). Solar is going to dominate the Fourth Industrial Revolution, with fusion coming online in the middle of it. So in an indirect way, fusion will still dominate the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
- Blockchains. This is almost certainly going to be more of a banking and economic thing than anything impacting wider society like those behind NFTs like to claim, but I still do think that blockchain technology will be an important aspect of this era. They may allow for more decentralized economic activity to take root, which would certainly upset world governments but could, in theory, be useful in our upcoming automated society.
- Quantum computing. The most discrete tech of the Fourth Industrial Revolution but still an important one, quantum computers are fantastic for crunching extraordinary amounts of data, making them perfect for artificial intelligence and genetic engineering applications. Even with RTSCs and more advanced material science, I strongly doubt these will ever be in your home. But coupled with cloud computing and more advanced data transmission, it may not matter.
- Lab grown meat and next-generation agriculture. As a byproduct of advanced biotechnology, we're going to see the next big food and consumer materials revolution through lab-grown foodstuffs and other lab-grown materials, like lab-grown leather. Couple this with indoor farming and you could see a much more sustainable agricultural economy. Indeed, once you have such agricultural technology, you actually no longer need full-fledged globalism as individual regions could create just about anything they desire. You could have Canadian chocolate, Caribbean whale blubber, Mongolian bananas, and more. Thus it's possible that next-gen agriculture could actually trigger a wave of "benevolent nationalism" as megaregions no longer have a reason to be interconnected economically besides some larger resources that can't be made in a lab without nucleosynthesis.
- Next-generation medicine. With artificial intelligence and genomics, we're going to see the formal "end" of diseases as we know them between now and 2060. We already see this today with the advent of mRNA and T-cell treatment, but it's going to become much more advanced as we solve things like protein folding and gene modification. Diseases like all known cancers, diabetes, heart disease, even prion diseases might be resolved in less than a generation, and again, you can thank artificial intelligence for enabling such progress. We've made such predictions before, predicated on that classic "Well, we'll solve them somehow through sheer human ingenuity and black-swan breakthroughs," but it's since become clear that we're only going to accomplish such things with AI. Quantum computers may be needed for the most complex of diseases. The holy grail of this is undoubtedly life extension. Once medicine can reliably allow people to live to 120 and beyond, we'll know that the human condition has truly and irrevocably been changed forever in ways beyond anything we've ever known.
Remember when I said that it was in no particular order of importance? That was mostly the truth, but I started with artificial intelligence precisely because it IS going to be the single most important technology of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We could still have a Fourth Industrial Revolution without it, because just look at the sheer number of technologies that are going to mature at roughly the same time, but it's going to be the accelerant of the end of the S curve of technological progress. It is an accelerant that will move past human cognition. Indeed many technologies will only reach their maximum potential BECAUSE of it. Like medicine and robotics— without AI, medicine would progress slowly and unevenly for the rest of the century, with life extension and cures for deep diseases like cancer, diabetes, and prion diseases being forever just-round-the-corner, while robots flat out would never progress beyond where they are now without AI (barring something unusual like VR remote control of robots becoming a major industry).
I also didn't include synthetic media as its own unique bullet point because that's ultimately a direct impact of AI. Indeed, I view synthetic media— the Age of Imaginative Machines— as the direct precursor to artificial general intelligence. There are good reasons why generalized AI only started becoming a thing through synthetic media.
Everything still felt humdrum and "normal," even though technology was unfathomable by historical standards. The year 2000 came and went feeling like the year 1970 with cell phones and GPS. There didn't seem to be anything particularly interesting about what technology was like. And this was right after a final dying burst of innovation from the Third Industrial Revolution. The late 90s gave us things like widespread internet access, GPS, cloning animals, more capable robots, the International Space Station, cruise control in cars, and much more. So there was at least some incentive to think that technology was about to go crazy.
Instead, we got the most 2000s technological era imaginable, where the Future became peer-to-peer networks, voice over IP, enterprise portals, bad chatbots, wikis, infrastructural projects like dams and public transportation terminals, and post-modern globalism. This was futurism that was only interesting to the most boring class of people, those who don't even believe in a sci-fi future to begin with. Though as it would happen, this is precisely what we needed to bootstrap us to the current era we're in now.
Still, after ten years of business technology dominating the Future™ with scant few news stories of interesting technologies that never seemed to leave the lab, it was easy to grow disillusioned. Reading the first iteration of the Future Timeline forums when it was still active, you just got this visceral sense that the Future was dead or, at best, was so far away that it felt pointless discussing it. The Obama era saw definite technological improvements, but it was all a pitance compared to what we were promised. One such technology that comes to mind was brain-computer interfaces. One of the most advanced technologies imaginable, BCIs actually date back to the 1920s. This is referring to EEG technology, however, which was interesting in its time but has an upper limit on what it can usefully do. One EEG headset from around 2009 involved a man typing on Twitter with only his thoughts, something which might have inspired Will Fox to predict that texting by thinking would be commonplace by 2020. This didn't even begin to come true.
Some other news stories involved the replacement to the space shuttle being discussed, new robots that could walk a few miles, further developments in driverless cars in controlled situations, and some plans for gene modification in plants. And there was also 4G technology being rolled out. Otherwise, it was still very much 2000s business technology futurism.
The first Future Timeline forum lived and died in the deepest trough of this era— 2009 through 2011. This was the period in which the Future seemed more distant than it ever has. We could see it. We could see what the Future™ held and just what might be possible because we were developing it all.
But it wasn't here. Worse, we had absolutely no idea when, if ever, it would get here.
For those unaware, this was the "original" FutureTimeline forum:
Most of it isn't archived anymore, though a few pages still linger. It dates back to around, IIRC, February or March 2009 and came to an end in May 2011 (almost a full decade to the day before the second version of the forum would be retired).
When it was still up, I'd pity-read this forum because of how badly I felt for the users on it at the time, damned to deal with the absolute worst era of sci-tech progress in the new millennium.
This was an era before deep learning took the AI world by storm, so we didn't even have the promise of ultra-rapidly developing artificial intelligence to boost our faith in tomorrow. As far as we knew, the 2010s and 2020s were going to be more hit-or-miss machine learning experiments that eventually culminated in something interesting by the 2030s. If it sounds like that's exactly what's happening, let me explain the context. When I say "something interesting," I don't mean "artificial general intelligence" or even "proto-AGI." I mean something on par with ImageNet circa 2015. Something that could reliably classify images on par with a human, suggesting vision modeling is roughly and effectively solved. Something like AlphaGo would have been seen as heralding the Singularity itself, and plenty around 2011 thought that a computer defeating a human champion at Go wasn't going to happen for another 20 to 30 years. Sure, there was a minor blip around 2007 of an AI defeating a high-level human player at Go, but in a very, very restricted situation that gave the AI every possible handicap it could have, playing on a tiny board that vastly reduced the number of computations needed, and in a truncated game. This was the Go equivalent of Eugene Goostman passing the Turing Test in 2014.
This era of futurism was tragic because everything we wanted felt so distant in the future. All those news stories about future technology on the way felt horrifically sad in retrospect because I would read them and think "You're going to have to wait many, many years to see anything come of this, my friend." And that's when whatever was mentioned didn't turn out to be a dead-end or vaporware.
As a futurist-adjacent youth in this time period, it felt so bad knowing that all the fun sci-fi technologies were probably decades away. I wanted my virtual reality headset. I wanted a domestic robot. I wanted to see images of futuristic cityscapes. I wanted to know that there were space colonies. I wanted to hear more about cyborgs and transhumans. I wanted to see flexible smartphones and smart-glasses. I wanted there to be holograms in downtown Hammond and flying cars up above. I wanted to talk to an artificial intelligence.
And yet it wasn't there. And as I've been repeating, the absolute most dire part about living in this time was that visceral, raw sense that it wouldn't be there until I was a decrepit old man, or worse, long after I was dead. It's one reason why I love reading through the second FutureTimeline forum, the one that's actually archived— especially all the posts from around 2011-2013 because that painfully slow rate of progress was still so damned overwhelming. Knowing how things actually turned out makes it funny to read nowadays.
Even now, at the very earliest start of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (assuming history says it started by now), things are so much more exciting than they were a decade ago.
Synthetic media and neural interfaces mean you will be able to interface with infinite worlds. The prime directive, never experience a reality better than this one that is just as real. This is the matrix you want to keep.
Infinite utopias are coming, you can go play with the beginning of this revolution now at (link discord channel)
The future is coming, and you will be a part of it. If you don’t believe in resurrection then you should fund it even faster.
I haven't stopped thinking about the future and testing ideas. I’ve broken down multiple times in feeling like I have not done enough. I used to not be able to have sex without having an existential crisis after that I wasted time.
Rather than upgrading all appliance we will get the one majorly versatile option of the at home robot. The leading company is looking to be Tesla for this field.
Synthetic Media Startup
How can we grow protein the cheapest?
We view successful investing as a function of broadminded curiosity and deterministic alignment, leavened by constructive skepticism and capital discipline. Agnostic to sector, geography, and conventional credentials, this approach finds us invested and partnered with teams who use technology to build valuable and lasting businesses, often in industries long overdue for change. - Ajay Royan
Functional best versus
Helping users consume new technology with assurance rather than just helping creators
Catalyse market formation dynamic capability formation and market formation coming together is the innovation paradigm.
The micro-story needs to be strong
Our best investments function as time machines that deterministically pull the future forward, positive examplars of the power laws intrinsic to venture capital. Among their many remarkable achievements, Mithril family companies have
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Human content pairing will work best; dopamine headsets should be able to help train the editing skills our our AI.
The world will birth new leaders, leaders of the attention era, presidents of the metaverse Class: Attention Sourcerer Viral Memes have the lowest CAC rate