4 Articles on Progress and the Future

As humans, we love to think about what’s next. While our ancestors may have predicted that we would be zooming to work in flying cars and ordering our robot maids to clean the dishes, today we can see glimpses of our own future all around us. This week, we take a look at four articles that explore exactly what that future might look like—and there are no flying cars in sight.

The father of “disruption” weighs in: Clayton Christensen is widely regarded for developing concepts like the disruptive economy and the “jobs to be done” philosophy. Yet in a new article, the Harvard Business School professor says that his wildly popular theory of disruption is actually being misunderstood by many of the businesses who claim to “disrupt” industries. He lays out some key points in the theory, including why some companies which tout their disruptive model don’t technically fit the model. [Read more at the Harvard Business Review]

Our lives, hacked: New York Times tech columnist Jenna Wortham looks at the growing movement of “biohacking” in which devotees track every aspect of their lives, from heart rates to calorie consumption to sleep patterns, and then try to develop optimal performance regimens. She wonders if using data and quantification to track our performance and then tweaking our body chemistry is our future as a society, or if we’re just looking for easy shortcuts towards a healthier life. [Read more at the New York Times Magazine.]

The future can be frightening: Are we displacing our fear onto technology? That’s the question that Fusion columnist Felix Salmon tries to answer here, talking to social scientist Genevieve Bell about her theory that, as we fear fewer things in our lives, we put that fear onto technology, instead. She talks about how that fear is especially pervasive when we start to rely on technology to interact with our bodies—an increasing trend that isn’t going away. [Read more at Fusion]

Technology for all ages: The newest coveted demographic in Silicon Valley isn’t teenagers or twenty-somethings anymore. As the United States—and the world—ages, tech firms are now looking towards an older population as ideal users for apps, gadgets and software designed to make life easier as we age. [Read more at Fast Company]

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