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From the industrial revolution to the railway age, through the era of electrification, the advent of mass production, and finally to the information age, the same pattern keeps repeating itself. An exciting, vibrant phase of innovation and financial speculation is followed by a crash, after which begins a longer, more stately period during which the technology is actually deployed properly.
This collection of surveys and articles from The Economist examines how far technology has come and where it is heading.
Part one looks at topics such as the “greying” (maturing) of IT, the growing importance of security, the rise of outsourcing, and the challenge of complexity, all of which have more to do with implementation than innovation.
Part two looks at the shift from corporate computing towards consumer technology, whereby new technologies now appear first in consumer gadgets such as mobile phones. Topics covered will include the emergence of the mobile phone as the “digital Swiss Army knife”; the rise of digital cameras, which now outsell film-based ones; the growing size and importance of the games industry and its ever-closer links with other more traditional parts of the entertainment industry; and the social impact of technologies such as text messaging, Wi-Fi, and camera phones.
Part three considers which technology will lead the next great phase of technological disruption and focuses on biotechnology, energy technology, and nanotechnology.
Part 1. Information technology grows up.
1. Coming of age.
2. Securing the cloud.
3. Make it simple.
4. A world of work.
Part 2. The shift towards consumer electronic.
5. Mobile phones.
7. Digital home.
Part 3. Searching for the next big thing.
8. Climbing the helical staircase.
10. Small wonders.
11. Robots and artificial intelligence.