The Applications of Technology in the First Decade of the Twenty-First Century The Applications of Technology in the First Decade of the Twenty-First Century A quote I heard many times when I was in high school and which I now know traces back to Sir Francis Bacon, one of our earliest scientist or philosophers as they were then called, is the statement “Knowledge Is Power.” Today, I believe that the fuller, more correct statement is to say, “the application of knowledge is power.” The study of science, and technology subjects will broader our opportunities in life. As we continue to advance to the 21st century- now lesser than 30 days away-we are well aware that technology is possibly the hottest industrial commodity around the world today. In the years ahead, it will be an increasingly critical factor in determining the success or failure of businesses. It is the fuel many of us are looking at to help us win this race to the 21st century. To do that, we should make technology matter.
In this paper I am going to share my technology forecasts. I try to focus on my new forecasts a decade into the future – the first decade of the 21st century, because that is how far most businesses need to be looking ahead. There has never been a neutral or value-free, technology. All technologies are power. They evoke economic and social consequences in direct proportion to their dislocation of the existing economy and its institutions. I believe that technologies such as: biotechnology and genetic engineering, intelligent materials, the miniaturization of electronics, and smart manufacturing systems, and controls, will be the hottest technologies in the next decade.
I am going to put together a list of what I think as the top ten innovative products that will result from those technologies. Number one on the list is something we call genetic. There are pharmaceutical products that will come from the massive genetic research going on around the world today. In ten years, we will have new ways to treat many of our ills – from allergies to ADIS. We may see the discovery of new methods of treatment for various types of cancer, for multiple sclerosis, osteoporoses, Lou Gehrig’s and Alzheimer’s disease, to name just a few. The biotechnology frontier, especially developments in the field of genetic, promises- and to some degree has already archived – a revolution in agriculture and human health care.
But proving the means to develop plant species that are more disease-and-pest-resistant, more tolerant of drought, and able to grow during extended periods of adverse conditions. These technologies will very likely provide future increasing in agricultural productivity. So far, these techniques have not add much to world food production; recent grow has come primarily from increasing acreage in production, in response to higher grain prices. However, further expansion of productive land is limited, and the increased application of fertilizer appears to be reaching a point of diminishing returns. Therefore, increased agricultural productivity from this new field could be essential to feed the growing population. The mapping of human and plant genomes, a process already well underway, will provide greatly increased knowledge of genetic processes and, to some extend, information about how to control them.
For humans, this will provide the means to deal with diseases that have genetic origins or result from man functioning of genetic material in the body. These diseases include potentially: cancer, cystic fibrosis, Gaucher’s, hemophilia, rheumatoid arthritis, AIDS, hypercholesterolemia, and many others. Furthermore, genome analysis of an individual can indicate propensity to diseases whose symptoms have not yet been manifested. Scientists believe that many psychological and behavior attributes can be genetically controlled and therefore subject to diagnosis and eventually, for aberrant conditions, corrected. Such uses of this technology, of courses, raise serious social and ethical questions that must be considered. Other applications of biotechnology might produce novel protein for food replacing meat, stimulate awareness and evaluation of microbial threats (including archaea, ancient bacteria, being perhaps more adaptable and potentially hazardous than was previous thought), and creation of plantation to produce and distribute biological products in the ocean. The process of cloning was perfected; evidence by the fact that in 1997 a sheep was successfully cloned in Scotland.
Hence, biotechnology could eventually eliminate food shortages, improve health, and extend life expectancy. Number two on the list is the personalized computer. The personal computer now sitting on our desk will be replaced by a very powerful, personalized computer. It will be able to send and receive wireless data. It will recognize your voice and follow your voice commands.
It will include a variety of security and service tools that will make the computer fit your own individual needs. When we turn on our personalized computer the intelligent agents built into it might automatically show us high-lights and stories from last night’s football game. It could display the current stock report on your own portfolio and ask it you would like to make any changes. It would give us a traffic report for our normal commute to work and suggest an alternate, if necessary. Finally, it may let us know what the lunch specials are at our favorite restaurants and ask if we would like to make reservations.
The third product on my list is the multi-fuel automobile. In ten years, our cars will have to meet even stricter requirements for emissions and efficiency. And to do that, we are going to see a gradual shift to other fuel and power sources. Barring a major oil crisis, we don’t see a rapid shift to those alternatives. The internal combustion engine will still have a major place in ten years. But we will see an increase in vehicles running on energy sources like batteries, kinetic energy, fuel cells, and hybrid sources.
At first, these will be used in low-weight vehicles that typically travel short distances. But as these alternative- powered vehicles are introduced into the general population, many of our experts believe that they will likely run on a combination of fuels – like reformulated gasoline, electricity, and compressed natural gas. The fourth product is the next generation television set. Ninety-nine percent of American homes have televisions, and over the next decade, we will be replacing them. These new television sets will be wide-screen, digital, high-definition models with extremely sharp clarity.
Many will be so flat that we will hang them on the wall much like a large painting. Eventually, these televisions will merge with the personalized computer I mentioned earlier. Of course, we are going to have to pay for all these wonderful products, and we will probably be doing that will the fifth item on the list, electronic cash. We will be using electronic money for everything from buying soda in a vending machine to making an international transaction over our computer. In ten years, our pocket might not jingle, because credit-card-sized smart cards will have all but replaced our cash and keys.
At colleges, we will developed a system that will allow students to pay their tuition, sign up for classes, download textbooks onto their computer, do their laundry, enter their dorm, and order a pizza, all with one smart card. That card, of course, will be directly linked to their parents’ bank account! The next product on my list is the home health monitor. These devices will be inexpensive, simple-to-use, and non-invasive (which basically means they won’t puncture our skin). We will use them to monitor our health conditions right at home. They will be able to track a variety of our physical functions – like liver, levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, sugar, hormones, water, salt, and potassium. Monitoring our total health will be as simple as keeping track of our weight today.
The future industrial applications of biology and computing will allow more people than ever before to participate in creating imaginative service, to build new markets and to generate personal wealth. Number seven on the list is another one for our cars. It is smart maps and global positioning systems. Already, we can get a global positioning system in our cars, and it will show us where we are on a map and plot routes. But it won’t give us any information about what’s going on around us. That is what’s going to be different in ten years. We will be combining global position system with the traffic management infrastructure to help manage traffic flow. So, our dashboard map will show us where traffic problems are, and it will plot the best rout around them.
We will also be using global positioning systems to help stop crime by giving us the power to monitor the location of our cars and other valuables. And we will be able to follow the exact location of our most precious valuable. Parents will be able to follow the location of their children as they walk home from school. The eighth product on my list is also one we might have in our cars, and …