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December 8th, 2005
A Global Surge Protector?
Mike Treder: Behind the economic and military power surges foreseen by Hanson and Gubrud is the strength of emerging technologies. In particular, advanced nanotechnology – molecular manufacturing – is expected to enable dramatic changes in virtually all areas of life, including the home, the hospital, the boardroom, the battlefield, and the natural environment. Some refer to this as the next Industrial Revolution, and that is not an unreasonable comparison.
The big difference, however, between previous industrial revolutions and the nanotech revolution is the time span covered. Steam engines, electricity, the automobile, telecommunications, computers: these all brought extreme transformations to society, but they each did so over a period of decades. When molecular manufacturing arrives, probably before 2020, a shock wave of change could reverberate around the world in only a year or two. Never before have disruptive impacts occurred so rapidly.
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