The Wall Street Journal had an interesting article about the three technological revolutions, breakthroughs of around 2012: The Coming Tech-led Boom (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203471004577140413041646048.html?mod=WSJ_hp_MIDDLTopStories).
They (Millsand and Ottino) compare the current time with 1912 when there were also all kind of technological revolutions occurring: mass production (the T-Ford), stainless steel, electricity and telephony/ radio. The influence of these revolutions were tremendously underestimated.
What see Millsand and Ottino as the current revolutions?
1. Big data, working in the cloud.
There are huge amounts of data that can be stored for almost nothing; from these data all kind of new services will emerge and revolutionary scientific research.
All kind of (inter)networks are interconnected including social media networks and this will become –with endless number crunching- new now unimaginable markets. A medical revolution should come from this.
2. Smart manufacturing
Mass production will be replaced by individual production with the help of new materials. More and more will be produced from a molecular base, for example with 3D printing (see The Economist: How to print a Stardivarius).
Many new new materials, new alloys were discovered in the past years. Graphene got a Nobel price. Some of these materials have properties you cannot find in nature (the invisibility cloak of Harry Potter is almost reality in experiments where cannot see things anymore).
3. Communication with smart phones etc
Billions of people communicate/ trade/ socialise simpler/ faster/ cheaper than ever with (smart) mobiles. These things can more than supercomputers from the seventies or eighties.
Michio Kaku thinks that in the future (not next year) there will be everywhere connectivity with the internet and people use chips at their eyes to get information and to do all kind of commands.
The combination of the three revolutions will trigger fast rechnological change and high productivity growth and so economic growth should become high. The society has to adapt to these changes and will push on the brakes from time to time. However, you cannot stop these changes as for example the Arab spring learned.
The writers of the article see, just like Obama in the State of the Union, that only America can, will and must lead these revolutions. That is a little short sighted, even while America has led until know in these areas and even while the demography of the US is better (=more young inventors, innovators) than in Europe/China /Japan. But the world is bigger: India (IT), Africa/ Indonesia (communication) should surprise.
Striking is that in the article clean and cheap energy is not mentioned. The last year there are many stories about how cheap sun collectors have become (80% cheaper than a few years ago), so they are starting to get really competitive.
Also the coming medical revolution with gen therapy etc could have mentioned a bit more prominently.