How the Masses Will Innovate
Frank Moss, new head of the MIT Media Lab, talks about how in the future more people will take part in advancing society, by being innovative entrepreneurs.
How do you view the nexus between technology and entrepreneurialism?
It is hugely important. In fact, entrepreneurs are really the primary vehicle for innovation in our society. They've played an incredible role. Thirty years ago, the primary source for innovation was large corporate labs. That is where all of the money went. Then, 20 to 25 years ago, the source of ideas and creativity shifted to venture funds and startups.
Over the past 20 years, we've seen the economy and society change due to innovation from small independent efforts outside of corporate labs. Technology has enabled startups to have a big influence, and consequently they have had atremendous effect in the technology scene today.
Moving forward, what are the major areas in technology where academic institutions and venture capitalists will be channeling resources and investments?
The societal business model. Companies are now paying attention to some of the major socioeconomic problems in the First and the Third World.
We have a billion people using computers in the First World. It is still limited to wealthier societies.
In the next 20 years we will see the adoption (increase) to 5 billion to 6 billion. And the kinds of killer apps that are important in that world are not those necessarily centered on communication and commerce.
I think as we experience the problem of aging populations we will need to supply different ways to educate, and traditional schools are not the way to go. We will see technology dramatically change the way kids learn. We will see health care without hospitals. That is where the action will be. Just another tweak to a telephone or a handheld device will happen, but it will not be a major source of growth. That is becoming a commodity.