Home > Possible Futures > Predictions
Last Updated: Wednesday, 02-May-2012 22:20:53 PDT
1999 State of the Future: Challenges We Face at the Millennium
"By 2050 the world had finally achieved a global economy that appears to be environmentally sustainable while providing nearly all people with the basic necessities of life and the majority with a comfortable living. The resulting social stability has created a world in relative peace, exploring possible futures for the second half of the 21st century."
2005 BT Technology Timeline
Ian Pearson and Ian Neild of BTexact Technologies. "In the next 60 years we will see nanotechnology and biotechnology making impacts on our life that might seem like magic to us but will be quite normal to our children's children. The world is speeding up as each generation learns from their kids, and through knowledge sharing via the Internet, so who knows what the next 60 years will bring?" (PDF)
Ray Kurzweil - The Future of Intelligent Technology and Its Impact on Disabilities The Future of Intelligent Technology and Its Impact on Disabilities.
The Disappearing Computer Will we be surrounded by computers by 2010? Yes, but we won’t know it, says Bill Gates, Microsoft’s chairman and chief software architect. November 2002.
Disarmament Diplomacy Nanotechnology and Mass Destruction: The Need for an Inner Space Treaty. The Acronym Institute Issue No. 65, July - August 2002
Merged science promises golden age UPI July 08, 2002. See the full report Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance and Commentary
The Potential Dangers of MNT - A Debate Nanotechnology Now April 12, 2002
MIT's Project Oxygen unveils host of new computing technologies MIT News June 19, 2002
The World in 2050 by Nick Bostrom 2000
Tearing Toward the Spike by Damien Broderick
Things that become practical with advance nanotechology (paraphrasing Dr. K. Eric Drexler):
- Nearly free consumer products
- PC's billions of times faster then today
- Safe and affordable space travel
- Virtual end to illness, aging, death
- No more pollution and automatic cleanup of existing pollution
- End of famine and starvation
- Superior education for every child on Earth
- Reintroduction of many extinct plants and animals
- Terraforming Earth and the Solar System
With order-of-magnitude performance improvements that are predicted for materials and devices, molecular manufacturing is now receiving attention at the highest level of government in the United States (and elements of it have been a national priority in Japan for over 10 years). Although determining the exact timing of the "assembler breakthrough" remains a speculative exercise, corporations can adopt strategies to avoid being blindsided by nanotechnology development (as were pharmaceutical companies by biotechnology). Industry can cooperate with governmental institutions, educational institutions, professional societies and standards organizations to (a) focus research priorities appropriately, (b) insure the adequate training of scientists, engineers, and technologists, (c) address public safety and environmental concerns, and (d) address national security concerns. Policy formulation will be an ongoing challenge, although new tools can improve the process of critical discussion and debate. David Forrest Sept 2000
"Within a few decades, healthcare will be revolutionized by combining nanotechnology with biotechnology to produce ingestable systems that will be harmlessly flushed from the body if the patient is healthy but will notify a physician of the type and location of diseased cells and organs if there are problems. Nanometer-scale traps will be constructed that will be able to remove pollutants from the environment and deactivate chemical warfare agents. Computers with the capabilities of current workstations will be the size of a grain of sand and will be able to operate for decades with the equivalent of a single wristwatch battery. Robotic spacecraft that weigh only a few pounds will be sent out to explore the solar system, and perhaps even the nearest stars. The total societal impact of nanotechnology is expected to be greater than the combined influences that the silicon integrated circuit, medical imaging, computer-aided engineering, and man-made polymers have had in this (past) century." What is Nanotechnology? LANL
In the not-too-distant future, computation will become a property of matter. Materials will be engineered on the nanometer scale, i.e., the molecular scale, to incorporate computation along with their other desirable structural properties. Computers might be incorporated in next-generation nanostructured materials in much the same way color is incorporated in the materials with which we now make clothing, appliances, motor vehicles, and aircraft. Toward Molecular-Scale Computers, Computation as a Property of Matter, and Matter as Software By James Ellenbogen, January 2002.
"In the nearer term, many businesses will see the impact of nanotechnology. Among the industries not explored here and likely to be impacted in the not-too-distant future include:
* battery-scale energy storage - nanostructured fuel cells
* textiles - novel fibers and fabrics
* defense and security - surveillance, explosive detection and communications
* medical research - scaled down gene and protein array-based diagnostics
As with previous disruptive core technologies, such as gasoline engines, integrated circuits, and cellular radio, two key questions will remain.
Which companies will adopt and grow with this new field and which will be out-competed by new players?
Far from being a dream, nanotechnology will materially impact many of our economies largest markets during the next 10 years, and will be a common thread in many of the emerging businesses during this time. While medicine will lag other industries due to the multi-year average time for new medical technologies to emerge from clinical trials, it may be the most profoundly impacted within the next two decades." Dr. Andrew Mutz, Managing Director Codesta. From: Nanotechnology Part Two: Markets
"Imagine windows that clean themselves. Or bathroom tiles that will not, and cannot, build up soap scum. Imagine piping sunlight around the house like water, or rolling on paint that can change colour whenever you want it to. Perhaps best of all, consider receiving a quarterly cheque from the electricity company because your house is producing more power than it is consuming." Read the Home Smart Home article.
Brave New Nanoworld
Aircraft wings made of lightweight, high-strength carbon nanotubes only a few billionths of a meter in diameter. Magnetic storage disks that could hold 100,000 times more data than current disks. These are some possible applications of new nanoscience research now being conducted at ORNL.
The world will get weirder, the end of the human era With 18 minutes of audio. By Damien Broderick, August 2002
The Return Of The Krell Machine Nanotechnology, the Singularity, and the Empty Planet Syndrome. By Steven B. Harris 2001
The good of small things Nanotechnology in biology. Living cells are natural nanotechnology. Artificial nanotech is about to give them a helping hand. From The Economist print edition Dec 20th 2001
Headlines From Tomorrow: 2002-2020 (PDF) Business 2.0 April 12, 2002
20 bold predictions for the next 20 years PROFIT Magazine April 30, 2002
A beginner's guide to nanotechnology Dallas Business Journal September 07, 2001
Click to buy
Hacking Matter: Levitating Chairs, Quantum Mirages, and the Infinite Weirdness of Programmable Atoms by Wil McCarthy.
"Savvy technology watchers swear that programmable atoms are the Next Big Thing. According to Wired contributing editor Wil McCarthy, this technological revolution will thoroughly transform life. Listen to his prognostications: "The flick of a switch; a wall becomes a window becomes a hologram generator. Any chair becomes a hypercomputer, any rooftop a power or waste treatment plant. We scarcely notice; programmable matters prevades our homes, our workplaces, our vehicles and environments." McCarthy blends lucid nuts-and-bolts explanations of "quantum dots" and other developing technologies with healthy doses of "You ain't seen nothin' yet" descriptions of speculative applications. A fascinating book for any reader intrigued by new technologies."
Programmable Matter: A Retrospective PDF. Will McCarthy - Oct 2000. "The flick of a switch: a wall becomes a window becomes a hologram generator. Any chair becomes a hypercomputer, any rooftop a power or waste treatment plant." FAQ: Quantum Dots and Programmable Matter Version 2.1 / 25 February 2003. Ultimate Alchemy Oct 2001.
See also Quantum dots, programmable matter, and wellstone An interview with Wil McCarthy. June 19, 2003
When we will be like the gods Spider Robinson on the year 3000
Autonomous NanoTechnology Swarm (ANTS) A new paradigm for remote mission architecture.
Ian Pearson and Ian Neild of BTexact Technologies A very comprehensive look at how future sciences may effect many areas of everyday life. (PDF)
Top 10 nanomyths: Part 1 and Part 2
The Next Sixty Years -- A Business Perspective By Rolf Dobelli A Business perspective, going forward to 2060.
'Smart Bandage' Diagnoses Danger Before Infection Takes Hold
K. Eric Drexler comments on dangers of nanotech (Audio) Speaking on a panel discussion during a symposium on "The War On Terrorism: What Does It Mean for Science?" held on 18 December 2001 in Washington, D.C. 18 minutes 30 seconds, requires the RealAudio Player. Additional information about the symposium.
Max More and Ray Kurzweil on the Singularity KurzweilAI.net February 26, 2002
Technology Fear Factor An interview with Ray Kurzweil, Jaron Lanier, and George Gilder. Darwin Magazine. May 01, 2002
Gingrich and Kurzweil: promise and peril of nanotech Keynote speakers Newt Gingrich and Ray Kurzweil addressed the promises and peril of nanotechnology in a press conference. KurzweilAI.net May 27 , 2002
Technology in the 21st Century: an Imminent Intimate Merger Ray Kurzweil talks in depth about the emergence of biological and machine intelligence, answering the three major challenges: limited resources, inadequate software, and ethical concerns. Presentation slides and audio [48 minutes].
6,700 words on: The Singularity: A Talk With Razy Kurzweil Edge March 25, 2002. Video available as well.
Kurzweil briefs CEOs at BusinessWeek's The Digital Economy New Priorities: Building A Collaborative Enterprise In Uncertain Times conference on December 6, 2001, in San Francisco. Over 30 minutes of video.
Also See: The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence December 1999
The Next Big Thing Video from: The Vega Science Trust. "Highly acclaimed discussion programme first shown on BBC2, where a panel of nanotechnologists discuss just what nanotechnology means, where it is at the moment, and where it could all be heading."
Millennium 3000 Scenarios by Theodore J. Gordon & Jerome C. Glenn
How far are we from realizing practical benefits from nanotechnology? Scientific America, October 1999.
Working Life in 2010: Let your ‘D-Me’ help you to communicate with mankind! AlphaGalileo, 19 March 2002.
Near-future technology and the difference it could make in our lives
A fictional interview by Chris Phoenix. Chris talks about the history of MNT, goes on to describe what it is, and then speculates a bit on the ways we will "grab hold of individual atoms and put them exactly where we want them", making some remarkable material, such as "fiberdiamond". He doesn't leave out the poitential downside either, talking about what could happen if a nanofactory got in the wrong hands. Read some of the thoughts of a well informed writer.
The Audacious Space Elevator FirstScience.com
The Space elevator Wikipedia.
"Nanotechnology, the ability to inexpensively arrange atoms in most of the patterns permitted by physical law – often called the manufacturing technology of the 21st century – is expected to revolutionize essentially all manufactured products, from computers to medical instruments to solar cells to batteries to planes and rockets. " Ralph C. Merkle
"It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be." Isaac Asimov
"We will ultimately have the opportunity to combine the rich, diverse, and flexible powers of human intelligence with the knowledge-sharing, speed, and capacity of machine intelligence. What form will this take? The answer is many different forms. One mode will be fully nonbiological entities with human-like qualities. The more interesting prospect will be expanding our own thinking through intimate connection with machine intelligence. "
"Although I believe the risks are real, I believe that maintaining a free and open society is our best route to developing effective countermeasures. Serious attempts to relinquish broad areas of knowledge will only drive them underground where the less responsible practitioners (i.e., the terrorists) will have all the expertise." Ray Kurzweil. November 14, 2001. Fortune Article
Applications of Nanotechnology to Aerospace Materials
"Clearly, there would be significant advantages to having materials that are 100 times stronger than we have now. Objects made from these materials could be up to 100 times lighter, using 100 times less of the same substance. By substituting diamondoid composite material this factor could be increased to about 250. As a result, ultralight cars, trucks, trains, aircraft, and spacecraft would use far less energy, especially with atomically smooth surfaces to reduce internal friction and air resistance losses."
"Space transportation costs could be reduced considerably with the products of nanotechnology. Comparing structural components made from titanium versus a diamondoid composite material, McKendree estimated that single stage to orbit transportation costs would drop (in one scenario) from $16,000/kg to $3.54/kg. Substituting diamondoid materials for aluminum, Drexler estimated that a vehicle with a gross lift-off mass of only ~3000 kg could deliver a 500 kg payload (four people with luggage) to orbit. The dry, empty mass of the vehicle would be only ~60 kg. Though the cost per flight savings would not be quite as dramatic with commercial and military aircraft, it would still be considerable." Molecular Manufacturing Development and Technology Planning. David R. Forrest. 2001