Many people believe that we are at or approaching another technology revolution or paradigm shift similar to the steam engine or the transistor. Candidates for the technology to mark the next paradigm shift are artificial intelligence (AI), Internet-of-Things (IOT), nanotechnology or perhaps a less publicized technology.
The concept of a paradigm shift was first introduced by Immanuel Kant, further developed by Thomas Kuhn and recently explored in detail by Carlota Perez. Perez has done much analysis of the cycle of a paradigm shift, where the last stage is the widespread introduction of the technology in many applications. At this stage the technology risk is lower and the greatest amounts of capital are attracted and invested.
Yesterday Lyft, the car sharing service, announced a $500 million investment from General Motors. The blog AVC, where the principals are investors in Lyft, announced that the money is to "develop a network of self-driving cars". I think this Lyft investment will be looked back on as the first big investment in Perez's last stage of a paradigm shift to AI everywhere.
(For more reading on Carlota Perez, an excellent starting point is her paper: FINANCE AND TECHNICAL CHANGE: A NEO-SCHUMPETERIAN PERSPECTIVE .)