The one-sentence summary

The shape of things to come is already happening.


  • This is a rundown of all the inventions that will transform our lives.
  • Many visionaries are already ‘inventing the future’ in their labs, and by interviewing over 300 of them, the author takes us on a tour of technological possibilities.
  • Predictions are offered for the next 100 years, covering computers, artificial intelligence, medicine, nanotechnology, energy, space, wealth, and humanity broadly.
  • Each area is split into the near future (present to 2030), mid-century (2030 – 2070), and the far future (2070 – 2100).
  • Ubiquitous computing could involve scrap computers that you scribble on and then discard, and wallpaper that you change with the click of a button.
  • Haptic technology will allow you to feel and touch objects in the cyberworld.
  • Computer Assisted Translation (CAT) will allow you to talk to anyone in any language because your contact lens will include speech recognition.
  • Optogenetics combines optics and genetics to help map neural pathways that will eventually enable us to reverse engineer the brain.
  • Bioinformatics will allow you to own and view a blueprint of your own body and use chips to scan your DNA and provide early warning of any illness.
  • Nanocars will be sent through your blood to fix internal medical problems.


  • This is not fanciful sci-fi – all the subjects fall within the bounds of known physics, merely projected into the future.
  • Although not specifically a business book, most of the here areas have a direct bearing on markets, products, and company prosperity in some form or another.
  • The four fundamental forces that rule the universe are gravity, electromagnetism, weak and strong nuclear forces.
  • The four stages of technology are:
  • Examples include paper, books, water, electricity, computers, and more.
  • If modern technology whets your appetite, this is a great review of more seemingly outlandish possibilities.
  1. Products are so precious they are closely guarded.
  2. Many people can get them, for a price.
  3. Everyone can them, often for free.
  4. It becomes a fashion item, with many designer variants.


  • Although it is written in a jargon-free style, some of the technology is so advanced that the layperson may still be left baffled or incredulous.