John Boik writes in the Principled Societies Project:
We celebrate disruptive technologies like the PC, the Internet, and the Internet-connected smartphone because they empower us. They allow us to do things that would have been unimaginable to past generations. Investors celebrate disruptive technologies for the profit they promise—or fear them for the losses they could generate.
It’s no wonder then that experts across all fields remain vigilant for the Next Big Thing. On the watch lists are robotics, the Internet of Things, 3-D printing, artificial intelligence, and others.
But what if the Next Big Thing (or one of the next) is so big, so mind-blowing, so utterly disruptive, disruptive enough to render stock markets obsolete and income inequality nonexistent, and yet is almost invisible? This Next Big Thing is not on the radar because it’s unthinkable. Yet it’s coming because that’s where science is headed, because it’s what people want, and because the technology that it replaces is dismal.
The Next Big Thing I’m thinking of isn’t usually even considered a technology. It’s the capacity of communities to focus on and solve problems that matter. A community uses three primary problem-solving systems, which one can think of as social choice systems or decision-making systems. They are: economic/financial/monetary; governance/political; and legal/justice. Economic, governance, and legal systems, for short. Communities have inherited their systems, especially from the history of power struggles. This Next Big Thing is to design social choice systems consciously, informed by the deepest insights of science, technology, and medicine, in order to enhance problem-solving capacity.