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Disruptive Technology: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

Sep 6, 2016 | 09:15 GMT
Technology and geopolitics are unequivocally intertwined, and a closer look at some of the advancements that have been made in materials science over the past month underscores that relationship.
(JEAN-PIERRE CLATOT/AFP/Getty Images)

Technology and geopolitics are unequivocally intertwined. Throughout history, new technologies have had the power to change the world order. In the coming decades, any number of emerging fields and technologies -- from automated vehicles, blockchain and advanced manufacturing to robotics, additive manufacturing, precision agriculture and genetic engineering -- could alter how the world and its inhabitants work. But technological development does not happen overnight. On the road to full commercialization, an emerging technology sector will encounter numerous breakthroughs and almost as many failures. Developments in supportive industries such as materials science -- the study of materials and their synthesis, processing, structural elucidation, properties and performance -- meanwhile, can be just as important to the progress of disruptive technologies. Once limited to traditional materials, the sector has grown in recent years to include newer fields such as nanotechnology. Discovering new materials -- or new information about old ones -- can facilitate...

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