Eleven European countries are in the top 20 for the Program for International Student Assessment scores compiled by the OECD; the United States ranks 25th. Europe is home to 43 percent of the world’s top 100 universities for life sciences, according to The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021; the United States has 34 percent. To a McKinsey Global Institute event on addressing Europe’s competitiveness and technology gap on Thursday, October 27. ICT and other tech sectors have spawned a range of transversal technologies, which are spreading horizontally across sectors and determining competitive dynamics. This research looks at ten transversal technologies and finds that Europe leads on only two of the ten.
- Ancient Egypt and India saw the invention of the shaduf, a hand-operated lever and fulcrum used to lift water to irrigate crops.
- Engines also enabled those products to be shipped like never before, and a huge variety of products were available to people all over the world.
- In the Industrial Revolution of the 1700s and 1800s, this type of technology revolutionized how humans travel, eat, and live.
- The use of scientific knowledge to solve practical problems, especially in industry and commerce.
Taken to extreme, some argue that technicism is the belief that humanity will ultimately be able to control the entirety of existence using technology. In other words, human beings will someday be able to master all problems and possibly even control the future using technology. Some, such as Monsma, connect these ideas to the abdication of religion as a higher moral authority. Similarly, the early peoples of Mesopotamia, the Sumerians, learned to use the Tigris and Euphrates rivers for much the same purposes. But more extensive use of wind and water power required another invention. By the mid-twentieth century, humans had achieved a mastery of technology sufficient to leave the surface of the Earth for the first time and explore space.
The internship turned into a full-time job, and Kha plans to work on enhancing the VR experience. Through RIT’s game design program, Campbell and his team created a game that garnered attention from 20th Century Fox, leading him to an internship with the company. Hatch utilizes The Construct to create 3D-printed mannequin hands for Genesee Country Village & Museum’s 19-century clothing exhibit. As an alum of the journalism program, Manon has put into practice the storytelling platforms and opportunities She took advantage of at RIT.
If Europe is not successful in competing in these technologies, it could also lose its strongholds in traditional industries. To give just one example, Europe has been a leader in automotive but could become a laggard in autonomous driving. The European Union was created in response to the ravages of World War II. The fall of the Berlin Wall marked the start of a period of economic catching up by economies in Central and Eastern Europe. The 2008 financial crisis and the eurozone crisis that followed led to more financial cooperation among European countries. The COVID-19 pandemic then triggered a higher level of fiscal coordination through the NextGeneration EU fund. Even amid war in Europe and the energy and cost of living crisis that has resulted, the region needs to pay attention to its slow-motion corporate and technology crisis.
Man’s relationship with technology has been explored in science-fiction literature, for example in Brave New World, A Clockwork Orange, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Isaac Asimov’s essays, and movies like Minority Report, Total Recall, Gattaca, and Inception. It has spawned the dystopian and futuristic cyberpunk genre, which juxtaposes futuristic technology with societal collapse, dystopia or decay. Notable cyberpunk works include William Gibson’s Neuromancer novel, and movies like Blade Runner, and The Matrix. Many discoveries also arose from pure chance, like the discovery of penicillin as a result of accidental lab contamination. Since the 1960s, the assumption that governments funding of basic research would lead to the discovery of marketable technologies has lost credibility.
Europe’s lack of scale in transversal technologies jeopardizes its position in nearly all sectors, including current strongholds like automotive and luxury goods. In automotive, US manufacturers account for close to 70 percent of all kilometers made by level 4 fully autonomous vehicles. Corporate Europe’s long-standing weakness in tech is ever more evident in today’s figures. This gap has long been considered a result of specialization and competitive advantage elsewhere—that Europe is strong in other sectors such as chemicals, materials, and fashion, for instance—meaning that the weakness is therefore not something to worry about.