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Technology is a blank slate, but when it is combined with human or machine based creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship it is a tool that can help us transform the world, and as new powerful emerging technologies become increasingly affordable and democratised our ability to use them to disrupt and transform global business, culture, and society at speed accelerates.


WELCOME TO THE Griffin Emerging Technology Starburst 2020 Edition, which is part of our overall 311 Institute Emerging Technology Starburst Collection, and which is complimented by the companion 311 Institute Exponential Technology Codex which explores the future and deep future and all of the technologies listed on our Starbursts in greater detail.

Firstly, I’d like to thank everyone who supported me during 2020 which, in spite of the chaos bought about by the global Covid-19 pandemic, was my most enjoyable year yet, and here’s wishing you all a prosperous 2021.

As in previous years, and building on the firm foundation of the previous 2017, 2018, and 2019, Griffin Emerging Technology Starbursts this year’s 2020 Starburst is the culmination of years of ceaseless investigating, monitoring, and tracking the appearance and development of new emerging technologies from every corner of the globe, and I am now tracking over 500 of them which is a staggering number when you think about the potential power and impact many of them could and will have in the years and decades to come. It’s also still clear to me that, year on year, the volume of new emerging technologies appearing is still increasing, now from a higher base than in previous years, and albeit the fact that I saw a marked slow down, of approximately 40 percent or so, in the number of net new technologies emerging as the global pandemic took hold and shifted many organisations research priorities.

In this year’s Starburst, which displays 167 of the world’s most promising and coveted emerging technologies, each with an addressable market value of at least $500 Billion spread across 13 categories, with Electronics being a new category, I have expanded the horizon timeline from 2060 to 2070, giving you a clear 50 year view of what’s coming, and promoted 44 new emerging technologies that weren’t in last years’ Starburst.

While the Starbursts might look visually appealing they have a more practical purpose which is to help governments, individuals, and organisations alike envision and predict new disruptive threats to their countries, industries, and companies. And, furthermore, when used in conjunction with our How to Build Exponential Enterprises Codex and our first of a kind ExPLORER Innovation Framework, they can be used to help organisations accelerate the development of innovative new policies, products, and services.

By creating and publishing these Starbursts I also hope they help spark people’s imagination, and demonstrate to us all, young and old, rich and poor, that nothing is impossible. For example, this year, and in spite of the global pandemic, we saw a wide variety of notable highlights including the development of new biosensors that can detect disease in the air around you, AI’s debating government policy and defeating US topgun pilots in battle, bio-printing robots, cameras that see through walls, cyborg locusts, digital humans fighting disinformation, extinct viruses bought back to life, even more flying taxi trials, hydrogen powered supercars, in vivo gene editing, portable MRI machines, pigs connected to the internet, transparent TV’s, viral molecular assemblers, and so much more.

In 2020, again, I’m happy to say the Starburst had the impact I hoped it would and it was used  by a wide variety of organisations from across sectors that included G7 and G20 sovereign governments, regulators, household names including Accenture, AON, Legal and General, LinkedIn, Microsoft, as well as BCG, Curry’s PC World, Decathlon, Ingram Micro, and many others, who used it envision the future, inform their own corporate strategies and policies, and develop their next generation products and services.

Signing off for now in traditional fashion if I could give you one piece of advice from all my years of being a “futurist,” it would still be be forget what you know and get rid of your preconceptions of what’s possible, keep learning, and keep exploring. And if my Starbursts have left you wanting to learn more about our collective future and deep future then dive into the wormhole and explore this site and all its awesome content, most of which will push your thinking to the limits.

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