- Imperial College London
- Academics at Imperial Tech Foresight have created a
periodic table of mind-blowing tech.
- The table is designed to be a visual conversation
starter about where the world is going.
- It features 100 innovations, ranging from the benign
and everyday, to the mind-blowing and potentially
Academics at Imperial Tech Foresight (ITF), an offshoot of
Imperial College London, have been working to bring to life
nebulous and intangible technological advances in a way you’ve
never seen before.
They have created a table of disruptive tech, taking inspiration
from the periodic table of chemical elements. It contains 100
innovations, ranging from the benign and everyday, to the
mind-blowing and potentially terrifying.
To give you an example, cryptocurrencies (identified as Cr) are
now part of our modern life, while battlefield robots (Br) sounds
like something straight out of “Iron Man.”
Each element is colour-coded and slotted into a space across two
axis: The Y-axis ranks the potential for disruption from high to
low, while the X-axis determines how soon it will become a
reality. Here’s how it breaks down:
- The green elements in the bottom left-hand corner are
- The yellow blocks could come to pass in the near future.
- The red elements are a more distant concept, which could be
20 years away from becoming a reality.
- The final section of grey is fringe science, which TF
identifies as “highly improbable, but not actually impossible.”
Finally, the elements have numbers, which relate to an example of
the tech in action provided by ITF. They are also grouped into
themes – the initials at the bottom right of each box. These
themes include extreme automation and human augmentation.
The table was created by Richard Watson and Anna Cupani after
reading a dry list of emerging technologies on Wikipedia. They
spoke to experts to shape the table and produced a number of
drafts using Post-it notes for each element before agreeing on a
Maria Jeansson, who worked on the project, said it was designed
as a visual conversation starter. “Some corporate organisations
have used it in workshops highlighting things that they should be
thinking about,” she told Business Insider. “For some, they see
things and say, ‘We didn’t imagine that would impact us.'”