Key stages in history are defined by mankind’s great technological leaps that touch all aspects of the way we live.
These technologies, such as steam, electricity and computers, are often classed as a general-purpose technology (GPT) because of their profound impact on economy and society.
Blockchain has only been around for a decade, but it is already clear that its repercussions will be far reaching and it deserves a place among history’s GPTs.
The First Industrial Revolution was built on steam, the second on electricity and the third on computing. We are on the brink of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or Industry 4.0, driven by a combination of GPTs including artificial intelligence, virtual reality, connectivity, cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) and – the newest at a decade old – blockchain.
GPTs were typically developed to solve a single problem and then widely adapted as their versatility became apparent. The first commercial steam engine pumped water from coal mines. Later, steam power enabled factory automation and the development of railways. Today’s nuclear power plants still rely on steam to generate electricity.
Blockchain too was initially devised for a single purpose, as the technology underpinning Bitcoin and the thousands of cryptocurrencies that followed. Read More...