Friday, October 24, 2003

Too Much Too Soon?

Technology developer Battelle had listed the Top Ten strategic technologies by 2005, in order of importance. The list came out in a 1996 press release, a time when the World Wide Web was still at its infancy. A lot of what's listed below are realities in the here and now, in varying degrees of commercial application.

1. Human genome mapping and genetic-based personal identification and diagnostics will lead to preventive treatment of diseases and cures for specific cancers.

2. Super materials. Computer-based design and manufacturing of new materials at the molecular level will mean new, high-performance materials for use in transportation, computers, energy, and communications.

3. Compact, long-lasting and highly portable energy sources, including fuel cells and batteries will power electronic devices of the future, such as portable personal computers.

4. Digital high definition television. This important breakthrough for American manufacturers — and major source of revenue — will lead to better advanced computer modeling and imaging.

5. Electronic miniaturization for personal use. Interactive, wireless data centers in a pocket calculator-size will provide users with a fax machine, telephone, and computer capable of storing all the volumes in their local library.

6. Cost-effective "smart systems" will integrate power, sensors, and controls. They eventually will control the manufacturing process from beginning to end.

7. Anti-aging products that rely on genetic information to slow the aging process will include aging creams that really work.

8. Medical treatments will use highly accurate sensors to locate problems, and drug delivery systems will precisely target parts of the body — such as chemotherapy targeted specifically to cancer cells to reduce the side effects of nausea and hair loss.

9. Hybrid fuel vehicles. Smart vehicles, equipped to operate on a variety of fuels, will select the appropriate fuel based on driving conditions.

10. Edutainment. Educational games and computerized simulations will meet the sophisticated tastes of computer-literate student.

I find it both fascinating and disturbing that the lot of these fell under the science fiction category when I was a kid. Now we're adapting them as part of normal life. How much further do you think we'll be able to go before we become complete slaves of tech?

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