The world of “deep tech” has launched seven simultaneous global revolutions: artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, blockchain and cryptocurrencies, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3D printing, and quantum computing—a perfect storm that will drive the global economy for the next decade, to the tune of over $100 trillion.

In Deep Tech, Eric Remond outlines the promise (and potential perils) hidden within each of these emerging technology revolutions, all poised to explode into the mainstream market.

Whether a Fortune 100 executive or a hungry entrepreneur, Deep Tech teaches readers how to become fluent in deep tech—both its language and its possibilities—preparing them to take part in the decade’s greatest opportunities. I recently caught up with Eric to learn more about his journey writing the book and his favorite idea he shares with readers.

Published with permission from the author.

What happened that made you decide to write the book? What was the exact moment when you realized these ideas needed to get out there?

A core tenet of my career has been to stay at the forefront of emerging technologies. That’s why my friends jokingly called me the Forrest Gump of Deep Tech. Over the decades I often happened to be involved in technologies before they took off, where history was being made. I had some of the first iPhone apps with millions of downloads. I was part of forming what is now known as DevOps. I was involved in the early days of what we now call Agile, before that open source, before that the Web. My friends and I mined Bitcoin in 2011 (I’ll never forget my first Bitcoin purchase: a cup of coffee in Beijing that at current rates would be a $30k cup!).

I was active in the Maker community before it became the more industrial Internet of Things. Most recently I traveled the world helping popularize the value of Big Data, machine learning based analytics, and extended reality. I’ve written a handful of books on these topics. This current book is in some ways a natural progression of my life’s work keeping ahead of the curve. The idea for the book itself crystalized when I spent some time at MIT last year, attending the Deep Tech Bootcamp and ideating at the Media Lab. It became clear that a handful of technologies were everywhere, past the laboratory phase, but not quite ready for prime time either. It’s the combinatorial innovation leveraging these technologies that make up Deep Tech.

What’s your favorite specific, actionable idea in the book?

There’s one idea in the whole book—and that’s to invest the time to educate yourself on the basics of a broad range of technologies, to avoid getting left behind by the end of this decade. The pandemic has hastened a trend toward a new industrial revolution (often called Industry 4.0) based on new optimizations and opportunities, brought upon by a fully realized digital transformation. Being technologically literate used to be a nice-to-have skill for business leaders, and at best it was an advantage for a handful of industries like media or healthcare.

But that scope has broadened to every business, from education to selling hand-crafted items online. If you want to be relevant in the year 2030, your very survival in any business relies on an understanding of the current and emerging landscape of technologies, many of which I cover in the book. It’s becoming as basic a requirement as understanding the language of finance or your sales funnel. I’m not saying that everyone needs to know how to program computers or have a strong background in the sciences, but a basic literacy and interest in the technology that’s disrupting the world is paramount.

Published with permission from the author.

What’s a story of how you’ve applied this lesson in your own life? What has this lesson done for you?

Learning the technologies that power Deep Tech is like skating to where the puck is going to be. The pandemic of this past year has highlighted a clear divide between those most able to pivot the technology of the future and those who are struggling, and those markets are rewarding those who have been able to keep up, and even thrive. You never know when you’re going to need this knowledge. In the early days of the COVID lockdown last year there was a global shortage of ventilators (medical devices to assist in breathing).

Despite lacking any specific education or skill in 3D printing, electronics, or medical equipment, I was able to build and make some improvements to a ventilator based on an open-source design published by Rice University. My background is in programming, not these technologies. But because I was literate in the high-level skills necessary to construct such a device, I was able to work through it with the help of people I met online (as well as lots of Googling and YouTube videos). That’s a lesson I learned from the book—solving real-world problems is aided by a knowledge and confidence in a broad range of skills.

You don’t need to be an expert with Deep Tech, just able to imagine what’s possible with emerging tech not quite ready for prime time, but able to change the world all the same.