We may remember this decade as the turning point of a new technological paradigm shift, with DeepTech: the great wave of innovation encompassing artificial intelligence (AI), synthetic biology, nanotechnologies, and quantum computing, among other advanced technologies.
My first thought was about the transition to an AI-driven society for the next 10 years considering Designing a Mindful Tech Xperience. In this way, I’d like to think of a Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence, referring to a book written by Max Tegmark.
My second thought was about the Quantum Future of Information Technology with quantum computers expected to reach a million qubits and connect through a fully deployed quantum internet based on satellite constellations by 2030. One may wonder if Europe will have an opportunity to regain its technology leadership supporting the greatest DeepTech Minds to become a Quantonation and be more ambitious with a New Space Alliance.
Photo of la Manche / the Channel between France and England taken by Thomas Pesquet during his last mission at the International Space Station sent by SpaceX’s Crew-2 for NASA, ESA & JAXA
Billionaires technology leaders are turning their attention to tomorrow’s moonshots such as the widespread of self-driving, hyperloop transportation, a 6G satellite constellation or space tourism by 2030. Although walking to the moon once again is scheduled in 2025, Elon Musk has a much bigger moonshot; a human mission to Mars is the new moonshot that may accelerate tomorrow’s moonshots.
After joining the International Space Station last year with SpaceX’s crew-2, the French astronaut Thomas Pesquet is already heading towards the US NASA-led lunar exploration as the ESA is involved in the Artemis program. Still, Europe may be left behind with two leading lunar exploration projects being an example of US/China power competition as we may also ask ourselves, “can Europe compete in the quantum ‘space race’?”.
Among Europe, France is keeping pace with the traditional leaders and even pushing ahead in some areas thanks to the quantum research pioneered by 3 winners of the Nobel Prize in Physics. Although Alain Aspect didn’t get the Nobel Prize (yet), his pioneering research on quantum entanglement and quantum simulators may generate the next French Tech champion as he advises the entrepreneurs running the quantum rising star Pasqal.
Their quantum computer and others will revolutionise life science and chemistry research. For now, the mRNA molecule discovered by 3 French Nobel Prize winners in 1965 has allowed the rapid development of Covid-19 vaccines. With quantum computing and mRNA, the Crispr gene-editing pioneered by Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna are tomorrow’s moonshot to treat cancer, HIV, multiple sclerosis and even more diseases by 2030.
The Future of Life in the Universe still has many secrets to reveal. We have big hopes in James Webb Telescope en route to discover the origins of the Universe and study exoplanets. We can also expect more significant discoveries in nuclear research at the CERN, where Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1989. From Web 3.0 to Life 3.0, it is time to be mindful about future technologies to embrace tomorrow’s moonshots reducing existential risk.
Finance and Technology are interlinked and evolve together in the perspective of the Evolution of Fintech. The last paradigm emerged in 2008 following the financial crisis based on the widespread use of information technology and the need for regulatory innovation. The same year, a paper titled Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System was published by the unknown Satoshi Nakamoto, who created the well-known cryptocurrency, one of the first use cases of blockchain technology. One may wonder if this paradigm shift is an incremental evolution of Fintech or a more disruptive revolution similar to nuclear power or electricity.
If we look at some ethical considerations, blockchain gives rise to several issues in terms of security, privacy, efficiency and the integrity of the system itself, and the risk of crime and oppressive conduct that a mediating institution would otherwise offset. Those issues are only the emerged part of the iceberg of blockchain ethics which is a broader quest to redefine the value of our society since blockchain technology is changing the nature of money and organisations. In this way, we shouldn’t only consider the risks brought by the technology and the opportunity of blockchain for good based on evolved moral principles.
Fintech and blockchain are paradigm shifts in our society, with other technologies that include artificial intelligence and big data. Alone this paradigm is an evolution of Fintech. But combined with AI and cybernetics, this paradigm shift is a cognitive revolution that may either decentralise the power of monopolies or control the decentralised power of people. That’s why blockchain ethics should examine what the technology can do and ponder the potential consequences like the control of nuclear power that led to the atomic bomb or the electricity that led to the electric chair for the death penalty.
This article is part of the Ethics of Fintech & Blockchain series with the 5 key principles of digital currencies and cryptocurrencies and Are Digital Currencies the new Technological Power?