At the leading edge of each of each new technology—from the Internet, to blockchain, to artificial intelligence—a pattern repeats itself. Every “next big thing” is over-hyped and oversold. A wave of momentum builds, companies and capital plunge in, the wave crashes, and a few participants emerge to define the market moving forward. Many technologies eventually become “big things,” but often not in ways we originally envision.
One thing we can say for certain—because we’re witnessing it before our eyes—is that the aggregate effect of technological advancements over the last twenty years is the leveling of the playing field when it comes to availability of information. We have moved from a world of information asymmetry to one of information parity due to the digitization of data accessible at the click of a button. In this word, yesterday’s “experts,” defined as those who held troves of data in their heads, are less valuable. Whatever information they possess about a particular topic is dwarfed by what’s freely available online.