The third big idea of the sixth wave is that the digital and natural worlds will coverge. There are now more transistors produced in a single year than there are ants on the planet – roughly the same as the number of rice grains produced globally each year. In the past, these transistors would have been embedded into microchips that were destined for a life of isolation in a calculator, a car, an alarm clock or a computer. They would have done their job in that particular device, end of story.
But with the sixth wave, something new is happening. These processors are starting to communicate beyond the confines of their device, and are sharing information that has never been shared, or even collected, before. This brings us to the third big idea that will govern how we innovate in a resource-limited world – the convergence of the digital and natural worlds.