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A few weeks ago, one of my teammates Brad had the opportunity to go to the NexGen Cloud Conference in San Diego.  (I know what you might be thinking, just stay with me for a second; this isn’t going to get too geeky.) Here is his quick unpacking of some of the sessions he attended (okay, and a few of the geeky facts he picked up):

The sessions ranged from what you would expect at a cloud conference to hypothesis on technology in the year 2030. Jules Verne would be proud. One of the speakers, Ray Kurzweil, a Director of engineering at Google, spoke about the acceleration of technology in the 21st century and the impact on businesses, the economy, and society in general. A significant distance was traveled during the hour presentation; to start, he posed the question: can we reprogram biology to alter life? As an example he used our ancient ancestors. Twenty thousand years ago, humans didn’t know when or where their next meal would come from, so they would gorge on thousands of calories when available to be able to sustain periods of famine. But today, thanks to Trader Joe’s, I know for certain when my next meal will be. Studies have been successfully conducted on animals to allow them to eat ravenously and still not get fat. Scientists have been able to successfully “turn off” the genes that tell bodies to store fat. (Read: that’s a sell order on Sanofi-Aventis!)

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According to Tiffani Bova, Vice President and Distinguished Analyst at Gartner, there are a number of trends that will impact our future. For starters, we need to think of what technology can do for any business – the trend to digital books, window cleaners, cigarettes, bitcoins, and cars. (Some cars today have more computing power than horsepower!) There are hotels that have tags in the restroom that patrons can scan to inform the maintenance staff the restroom needs attention. Think of the time and money saved by having maintenance know exactly where to go when, rather than hitting every restroom in a 200,000 square foot convention center.

3D printing is not just reserved for the busts of presidents. Scientists have successfully used a 3D printer to create an esophagus and used it as a transplant when no donors or organs were available. They have yet to tackle more complex organs, but it is on the horizon. How mind-blowing is that?!

It is estimated by the year 2030, we will have the ability to augment immune systems with 3D printed biological T cells. Current studies cannot identify cancer cells yet, but successful studies have been conducted with T cells for Parkinson’s patients. Imagine if, as a doctor, you could just download and print new immune system T cells for your patient’s with identified diseases.

Healthcare providers will be able to 3D print casts for broken bones configured specifically for the patient. In the past, you got to pick the color, now you can pick the design. There are medical advantages too; Points can be selected to apply pressure at specific spots to heal breaks and potentially avoid “compartment syndrome” (the swelling that requires additional surgery to fix).

The internet has drastically changed the way we watch TV or listen to music, but can it change the fashion industry too? What if you could buy a program to 3D print clothes?  According to Tiffani, by 2017, nearly 20 percent of durable goods e-tailors will use 3D printing to create personalized product offerings. Although the internet didn’t kill the music industry, it has changed the landscape. Could the fashion industry follow a similar path?

Stay tuned for the rest of the conference highlights tomorrow!