Dreaming big on new technology: Future or fantasy?

There have been a number of futuristic technology ventures recently announced that are either visionary game-changers or a huge waste of money.

by / August 26, 2013 0

The Geminids by fotopedia/Sergiu Bacioiu

There have been a number of futuristic technology ventures recently announced that are either visionary game-changers or a huge waste of money. Internet tycoons are spending large amounts on these grandiose schemes, and the media is reporting on these bold attempts to go where no man or woman has ever gone before. Could these ideas become our new infrastructure a decade or two from now? Are we witnessing the next Thomas Edison in action?

The Financial Times (FT.com) recently led with an article entitled Technology: Vanity or visionary. Here’s an excerpt:

“Testing their wits – and their fortunes – against the frontiers of technology has come to be seen as a mark of pride for the tech industry’s new super-wealthy, most of whom earned their money in the relatively low-tech environs of the consumer internet. Entrepreneurs such as Jeff Bezos of Amazon; Elon Musk, who made his first fortune at PayPal; and Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, have come to embody a new and ambitious era of technological ambition…."

The goal is to solve the world’s biggest problems. These challenges are seen as also the biggest opportunities as far as new investments. From laboratory-grown beef to proposed Hyperloop transportation systems, these new ideas are definitely examples of “outside the box thinking.”

Are these big dreams realistic?

Skeptics argue that the safety and energy concerns in developing the Hyperloop could kill the project. “By laying out his proposal before actually prototyping it, Musk has skipped a crucial step, argued Richard Muller, a physics professor at the UC Berkeley.

‘From the science point of view, he’s done it the wrong way,’ Muller said.”

Meanwhile Richard Branson continues to forge ahead with plans to begin space travel and essentially make it as accessible as a cruise in Florida.

Virgingalactic.com offers a leading video which describes the coming adventure of space travel for all.

Few people doubt that traveling in space could become a new multi-billion dollar industry that captures the imagination of future generations. Richard Branson has a track record of breaking existing paradigms, I certainly don’t doubt that he can be successful with Virgingalactic.

And one more – MIT Technology Review recently offered this article which highlights new visionaries in 35 Innovators Under 35.

The portal offers numerous fifty disruptive companies and ten breakthrough technologies that are sure to become a part of our new normal in the coming years. While reading through (and fully comprehending) the list is a somewhat daunting task, it is clear that new inventions are solutions to difficult problems are on the way.

So in conclusion, I urge you to take some time to step back think outside your box and read about some fascinating new innovators and ideas. Some will no doubt fail, but so did Thomas Edison – before he invented the light bulb.

What are your thoughts about these new ideas? Which visionary people or which new ideas do you believe have the most promise to really change the world for the better?


Dan Lohrmann Chief Security Officer & Chief Strategist at Security Mentor Inc.

Daniel J. Lohrmann is an internationally recognized cybersecurity leader, technologist, keynote speaker and author.

During his distinguished career, he has served global organizations in the public and private sectors in a variety of executive leadership capacities, receiving numerous national awards including: CSO of the Year, Public Official of the Year and Computerworld Premier 100 IT Leader.
Lohrmann led Michigan government’s cybersecurity and technology infrastructure teams from May 2002 to August 2014, including enterprisewide Chief Security Officer (CSO), Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) roles in Michigan.

He currently serves as the Chief Security Officer (CSO) and Chief Strategist for Security Mentor Inc. He is leading the development and implementation of Security Mentor’s industry-leading cyber training, consulting and workshops for end users, managers and executives in the public and private sectors. He has advised senior leaders at the White House, National Governors Association (NGA), National Association of State CIOs (NASCIO), U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), federal, state and local government agencies, Fortune 500 companies, small businesses and nonprofit institutions.

He has more than 30 years of experience in the computer industry, beginning his career with the National Security Agency. He worked for three years in England as a senior network engineer for Lockheed Martin (formerly Loral Aerospace) and for four years as a technical director for ManTech International in a US/UK military facility.

Lohrmann is the author of two books: Virtual Integrity: Faithfully Navigating the Brave New Web and BYOD for You: The Guide to Bring Your Own Device to Work. He has been a keynote speaker at global security and technology conferences from South Africa to Dubai and from Washington, D.C., to Moscow.

He holds a master's degree in computer science (CS) from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and a bachelor's degree in CS from Valparaiso University in Indiana.

Follow Lohrmann on Twitter at: @govcso