Richard Watson’s latest infographic is a more refined aesthetic compared to the futurist and scenario thinkers previous work. Focused on the less buzzy (but ultimately dizzying) subject of High-Performing Computing (or ‘supercomputing’), Watson has cut through the complexity of this subject to find some interesting patterns.

The infographic covers the current and future applications of supercomputing for:

  • Healthcare and Medicine
  • Modelling and simulation
  • Security
  • Fintech and Engineering
  • Materials and manufacturing industries

From bone implant modelling to war-forecasting, dynamic allocation of tax revenues to predicting properties of undiscovered materials, Watson presents a varied and complex look at a world that seems close and yet in the distant future at the same time. Watson believes the subject shouldn’t be dull;  “This is the first infographic on High-Performance Computing or ‘supercomputing’ that’s not 100% dull. The focus isn’t on size or cost but what you can or could practically do with HPC too. The infographic is a provocation intended to stimulate debate about what’s possible or what’s desirable.”

For many, the most interesting area will be the modelling and simulation part of the graphic as this contains the exciting area of real-time prediction – the big money area.  Think about what this could mean for media, healthcare, infrastructure and financial services to name but a few industries that will want to make money and save real money using real-time prediction.  Watson sees a mixed future with these areas; “Things that just weren’t observable in the past will be in the future. Whether that’s a good or a bad thing is a big question and perhaps more of an ethical/philosophical one.”

Watson’s new book, ‘Digital Vs. Human‘ focuses in on this point too.  In the book, Watson discusses the history of the next fifty years and believes the relationship between people and technologies will – rightly or wrongly – be created by a tiny handful of designers and developers. “We are shifting to a world where we work alongside machines in a symbiotic relationship. They are no longer our passive slaves but active and equal collaborators.  These inventions will undoubtedly change our lives, but the question is, to what end?”

Watson has a piece of advice for anyone looking to create similar graphics but stresses it is the application that is often the most interesting element; “…it all comes down to cutting through complexity and finding patterns and things that don’t fit patterns, which all boils down to accuracy and that dreaded word ‘efficiency’. This is all tech-push of course. How we or indeed governments react to all this capability is quite another thing.”

Watson’s new book is out now and you can download a copy of the graphic over at

Paul founded HERE/FORTH, an emerging technology advisory.