By using website you agree to our use of cookies as described in our cookie policy. Learn More

TDWI Upside - Where Data Means Business

Generative AI, Quantum and Spatial Computing, the Metaverse, and 3D Printing: The Tech Blend of Tomorrow

Although these technologies have only been discussed in isolation lately, we can expect the greatest innovations to take place as they begin to be combined in novel ways.

There are an unprecedented number of innovative technologies coming to market. However, although we tend to focus on each of these technologies individually, interesting things happen when we start to blend them together into solutions.

For Further Reading:

The Importance of Generative AI and How Education Is Getting It Wrong

Navigating the New Era with Generative AI Literacy

A Closer Look at a Critical Partnership for Hybrid Generative AI

Let’s look at each category individually, then talk about what can happen when we start putting them all together.

Generative AI

Generative AI’s real power is that it can create complete, virtual things -- images, videos, or stories -- from nothing but a few lines of text. It can act autonomously in response to internal triggers and external events, can imitate humans to a degree where we can’t tell that it’s not, in fact, human, and can increase productivity significantly. This is the year of generative AI, and the speed at which it is advancing is unprecedented in modern times.

Generative AI is the brains of the current crop of innovative technologies, and although there are questions surrounding whether these brains can be fully trusted yet, the underlying power of this technology can’t be overstated.

Quantum Computing

This provides the ability to look at massive amounts of data and analyze it nearly instantaneously. Quantum computing is also capable of identifying whether that data has been accessed in transit and, using entangled quantum pairs, can transmit information across long distances in an instant. This technology hasn’t yet reached the mainstream, but its potential to help us see the unseen and to analyze massive amounts of data in a usable timeframe is unmatched by any other technology. Think of this as a sign of what’s coming.

Spatial Computing

With the introduction of its Vision Pro, Apple effectively planted the idea of spatial computing in the mind of the public. Spatial computing enables computers to blend in with the physical world in a natural way, which presents the possibility of a different kind of personal computer -- one that could conceivably make current PCs and smartphones obsolete once it matures. With the announcement that Elon Musk-funded Neuralink has recently begun human testing of its brain-chip device, one can easily imagine an even greater degree of human/machine interfaces.


Championed through industrial versions such as NVIDIA’s Omniverse, the metaverse simulates the world and the people within it. It is typically accessed through VR glasses or similar augmented reality hardware. This environment provides users with a safe but realistic place to test technologies without putting people at risk. Developers can also build and finalize products virtually before building them in the real world, allowing them to identify issues earlier and potentially reducing the costs associated with more traditional building.

3D Printing

This technology -- once out of reach to most -- has now become available to even hobbyist makers of modest means. Companies such as Prusa and HP have developed 3D printers that use plastics, metals, and ceramics for manufacturing purposes, including efforts to reduce housing costs by 3D printing homes and other buildings. One U.K. company has even developed technology for 3D printing drugs for children.

Wrapping Up: The Tech Blend

Arthur C. Clark once said that “any technology that is significantly advanced is indistinguishable from magic.” Imagine a workflow that combines all these emerging technologies -- an idea is conceived and created through generative AI, uploaded and refined in the metaverse, and then printed using 3D printers. Effectively, this poses the potential to create new things just by describing what you need -- even in the vaguest of terms -- and then letting the technology produce it.

Once these technologies become interrelated, you would only need to express a need or a desire to see it made real by such a system. Now that is what I’d call magic!

About the Author

Rob Enderle is the president and principal analyst at the Enderle Group, where he provides regional and global companies with guidance on how to create a credible dialogue with the market, target customer needs, create new business opportunities, anticipate technology changes, select vendors and products, and practice zero-dollar marketing. You can reach the author via email.

TDWI Membership

Accelerate Your Projects,
and Your Career

TDWI Members have access to exclusive research reports, publications, communities and training.

Individual, Student, and Team memberships available.