The first step of roadmapping is frontier mapping

It’s hard to discover where the frontier is

This is what The Longevity FAQ and Climate Technology Primer are.

There may be two types of frontier map: a holistic frontier map and a purely technical map.

Holistic maps don’t assume that the world will beat a path to your door if you build a better mousetrap. A holistic map tries to take into account the environment: all the different constraints around diffusion - alternatives, markets, regulation, etc. It tries to answer “what are literally all the obstacles and opportunities between this possibility and becoming a prevalent part of the world.”

Technical maps ignores the environment and only cares about better mousetraps. These maps are like an underwater cave system or one of those video game maps that’s full of fire and you take damage every turn. You can use it to get somewhere you couldn’t ordinarily get to while coupled to the market system (Systems must take performance hits to get out of local optima) but you can’t stay there forever. Decoupling from market discipline is like cave diving.

Technological Whitespace is areas on the map that seem promising.

At first glance might seem like Technical maps are naïve and if you can you should always work with a holistic map. However! Holistic maps have many more assumptions about the world baked into them. Technical maps are less likely to change in surprising ways.


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