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Eight Technologies That Will Change the World 157

lostincyberspace writes "This story looks at existing advanced technologies, and contemplates how they may combine in the future to create the technology of 70's TV shows. Sensors + Mobile Power + Biomanufacturing = ... Bionics. ("We have the technology") The most fascinating part is that all of these new technologies seem like they'll be available in the not too distant future."
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Eight Technologies That Will Change the World

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  • transporters and communicators?
  • But a tractor beam would be nice....
  • /. has recently posted another story on the first technology described here.

    It's about wearable devices. Read more here.

    Personally, I think they look cool.
    In Belgium (where I live) there was recently an interview with a company making such things (shown on TV, don't remember when).
    They made a shirt + scarf + shoes & glass to see it all.

    They also showed a working demo version :-)
  • You can have little doubt that this will soon be employed by the United States military, as they are usually the first to adopt this type of technology. Due to our current technology and training right now we have something like a 50 or 100 to 1 kill ratio (50 to 100 of their soldiers die for every 1 of ours that is killed) If we have bio-mech soldiers how high do you think the odds will go then? Mess with the USA? I think not.
    • Pwaaah, well our soldiers will be manufactured from the ground up from carbon nanotubes, assembled by our Lego Quantum Storms (tm) molecular building set, and they will run on biodiesel, or even on a quantum nucleonic fuell cell. They will all be linked in on big matrix by our new cognitronic network. So where will your soldiers be then, huh?
  • I doubt it, the FDA will take eons to approve this.

    The tech may all be close but medical testing and then approval will make this take a lot longer.
  • by NETHED ( 258016 )
    I think it was in the early 30s or 40s that they demonstrated a video phone. Its twenty-o-two, I see no video phones.

    How about that molecular manufactering. Sounds like the replicator they had on the Enterprise. Truthfully, I don't see this even being in the lab for decades. Sure, we can theorize about these things that it is possible, but I can also theoretically date Britney Spears, and we ALL know that ANIT gonna happen.

    I take these tech preview thingies with many grains of salt.
    • Video phones exist and are actually reasonably common, especially in business circumstances. The reason most home users don't see them though is that for the most part the quality is sorely lacking, and they're often way too expensive...

      a quick search on google netted me this:
      a home videophone... []
      another home video phone... []
      and, for what appears to be the prevailing standard: h.232 []

      molecular manufacturing is a bit of a different story, but:
      a group devoted to molecular manufacturing []
      some interesting stuff on it []
      and, last but not least:
      IBM does some cool stuff sometimes []

      hope this helps dispel your mistrust of tech previews (Although i'll admit that at least a grain or two of salt is warranted in many occasions)

    • During the late sixties, my stepfather worked for Western Electric. At the time, it was the research and installation arm of AT&T. What's left of it is now Lucent, by the way. One of the projects he worked on was a test of the "Video Phone". There were a limited number of test subscribers on the East coast somewhere. It worked rather well, to hear him talk about it. What killed it was that the users really didn't want it. As I recall, one of the big complaints was that they were afraid of being seen getting out of the shower to answer the phone, etc. No matter that you could turn off your camera. Also, no one wanted to bear the extra cost of the equipment or the service. The technology was there, but no one seemed to want it. It was killed due to lack of market.
    • I think it was in the early 30s or 40s that they demonstrated a video phone. Its twenty-o-two, I see no video phones.

      So all the people with webcams are dreaming?

      The technology is here, and beyond.. sure its changed in its use, but thats the nature of development. And the law of supply and demand of consumers, Vs what the boffins dream up.

    • Videophones have been the next big thing for 60 years - the technology problems have been solved, and they can be made cheaply, and provide acceptable quality even over standard phone lines. Problem is, on the consumer side, _people don't want to use them_. Video telephony has always been a technology searching for consumer demand, and it hasn't gotten there yet.
    • unless by date you mean 'frantically and repeatedly masturbate to'...
    • I don't want a video phone. Ever. Well, maybe, if I can turn off the camera that's recording me. I don't want people to call in the morning before I've gotten up. Or what if you just got out of the shower. Sorry, can't think of any better examples, but you get the idea.
    • I see a lot of people replying that there is no market for a videopohone. Video phones make sense but only in a limited number of scenarios.

      While it's true that most people don't want to be seen when talking on the phone. It only makes sense for folks like me who want to be seen and see their families who are 5000 miles away. I am in the market for a long distance videophone. Webcams do the trick but the quality is definitely not there yet.

      There is a market for videphones but it's not for short distance/local calls. You probably want to videoconference with someone you haven't seen for three years but video-talking to someone you saw last night really doesn't make much sense.

  • Given that technology the rest of the technologies could be achieved rather quickly...

  • I'd like to have those small red squares to carry data... They're small and solid (no moving parts!!!) I wonder how much Gb you could put on these?
  • by IxnayOnTheIxnay ( 579226 ) on Friday May 24, 2002 @09:05AM (#3578333)
    This tech will allow people to "drive a car simply by thinking about doing so" Of course, thinking about driving will be an entirely new skill, now only inherent in about 10% of the population.
  • This nano-army of robots would then begin assembling atoms into any material the laws of physics will allow.
    Now, my dear nanobots, build me a Natalie Portman and a fine bowl of... ah, well, you get the picture
  • The way the article is written , it seems that most of this is just around the corner. But so is cold fusion, and has been, for a number of yeras now. [/sarcasm]
    One of the ideas that attract me the most, "cognitronics", as they call them, is reportedly based upon sensors, advanced analytics and smart materials. And none of those will be sufficiently advanced in the next 10 years to allow for any kind of practical widescale use.
  • Dildonics

    The big idea:

    Providing pleasurable massage sensations without using hands, in the privacy of one's own home.

    Image of three intersecting circles, labeled 'Internet connectivity', 'AI', 'ultra-delicate tactile stimulators'

    The challenge:

    There are two major issues still to be solved: making sure the electrical parts don't get wet and sticky, and hiding the gadgets from the unsuspecting parents.

    (I hope I didn't use any naughty words there!)

  • Right! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mjh ( 57755 ) <mark.hornclan@com> on Friday May 24, 2002 @09:06AM (#3578342) Homepage Journal
    The most fascinating part is that all of these new technologies seem like they'll be available in the not too distant future.

    Right. Which is exactly what they thought in the 70's, too, hence the TV shows.

  • Infrared, UV, etc, etc.. a la Shadowrun.
  • The Companion Piece (Score:3, Informative)

    by donnacha ( 161610 ) on Friday May 24, 2002 @09:09AM (#3578353) Homepage

    The companion piece to this article, Untangling the Future [], is also pretty interesting.

  • But is it worth paying six million dollars of taxpayer money for this?

    :-). I'm sure that sounded like a large sum of money in the 1970's, but today it's a drop in the bucket compared to other military projects.

  • i think that Duracell and Energizer are probably pissed about remote energy sources, but me want!
  • Ah! An article about possible future technologies. I see the comments broken down like this:

    The standard guff:
    1% - "Imagine a beowulf cluster..." posts
    2% - "First post" posts
    10% - "Off-topic, Microsoft stinks" posts
    12% - "Big Business is evil" posts

    And the more relevant posts. I predict:
    20% - "Very cool and exiting, I want this" posts
    25% - "Very dangerous, we do not want this" posts
    30% - "Very cool but it'll never happen, people" posts

  • I'm always skeptical of any gee-whiz predictions of the future. They tend to have a bad track record [], e.g :

    The future isn't what it used to be. Take Tomorrowland. When it opened in 1955 as one of the five original sections of Disneyland, Walt Disney himself appeared on the live opening-day telecast and promised "a step into the future with constructive predictions about things to come." He may have been a dull public speaker, but in envisioning "the world of 1987," as it was at one point conceived, he did offer up such astounding attractions as TWA's Rocket to the Moon and Monsanto's all-plastic House of the Future ("Hardly a natural material appears anywhere"). We now know that people still live in wood and brick houses; and that even if TWA did fly to the moon, no one would go because the service would be ghastly; and that if Disney could have given 1950s parkgoers a genuine look at the future, the most amazing thing about 1987 would have been the presidency of Ronald Reagan, ...

    Where's my flying car?

    But then again, we do have Soma, err, Slashdot :-)

    Sig: What Happened To The Censorware Project ( []

    • I think someone in 1957 would be pretty impressed with home computers, cell phones, big screen TV's, VCR's, etc...
    • Agreed. Plus, this sounds like some bad Cosmo article headline:

      Eight Technologies That Will Change the World
      Eight Makeup Tricks to Make You Look Thinner
      Eight Ways to Keep Your Man Interested
      Eight Hot Looks for Summer
    • We now know that people still live in wood and brick houses

      Well, yes, but ... Your kitchen cabinets and most of your cheap, assemble-it-yourself furniture are made of particle board (wood fibers glued together in a plastic matrix). Your countertops are particle board and formica if you're a working joe, and Corian if you're a yuppie. Your subfloor -- and your roof sheeting -- are Oriented StrandBoard (wood fibers glued together in a plastic matrix). Your floor is probably "tiled" with either polyurethane or vinyl, and carpeted with recycled polyester. Your exterior walls have an OSB layer (if you're lucky), a polystyrene insulating layer, and more probably vinyl than brick to face the elements. Your bathtub is either acrylic or fiberglass (silica fibers in a polyester matrix). Your deck is quite likely to be either sheathed in plastic, or simply made of plastic. Your couch is upholstered with polyurethane foam covered with polyester fabric. Your patio furniture is, of course, resin (plastic). Your LOTR chess set is resin (plastic). etc.

      • BS. My floor and deck are 100% pine, my couches are solid oak frames w/genuine leather cushions, my living room set is all oak, my exterior walls are stone, my bathtub is cast iron, my countertops are marble, my floor tiles are marble, my patio furniture is aluminum and my (non-LOTR) chess set is jade.

        Hey, give me a break. My note referenced an archetypal "you" -- the average american living on an average wage. The examples you present identify you as someone who either a) makes a lot more money than the average american, or b) chooses expensive, high-quality natural materials and forgoes other varieties of comfort or indulgence that most Americans prefer not to sacrifice.

        Drive by any middle-class suburban development and count the houses with vinyl siding versus those with stone walls. In these parts, the ratio is likely to be NAN. A cast iron bathtub (without whirlpool jets) costs $2000. An acrylic tub costs $200. The typical home today is built with a fiberglass tub/shower enclosure, not a cast-iron Kohler tub.

        Many people these days can't even tell the difference. The last time I was shopping for used furniture, I saw several particle-board tables that had been advertised as oak by their owners.

  • Slashdot + Unsuspecting site + Slashdot users = Server meltdown! wheeeeee!
  • Power Sources? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TheNecromancer ( 179644 ) on Friday May 24, 2002 @09:11AM (#3578366)
    Seems to me that this technology is limited, not by what it can do, but by the energy it consumes performing its function. Think about it, the SmartShirt that is talked about has electronics embedded in the fabric, but how is it powered? Current batteries in PDAs don't last very long, and it would be easy enough to replace batteries in the SmartShirt, but what about replacing power cells of electronics embedded in a person's skin? Once we are able to miniaturize powercells enough without sacrificing longevity of power, this field will thrive enormously!
    • Embedded electronics might well have a reather small power requirement. A few solutions (not all too serious)
      - Using the heat of ones body to generate electricity.
      - A tiny turbine/generator in the bloodstream. Go easy on the cholesterol or you'll clog it up!
      - A micro fuel cell. Heat can be dissipated through the normal body functions, and it would run off regular petrol or methanol. When you go to gas up the car, remember to fill up yourself as well.
      - Rechargeable batteries with an induction coupled charger under your bed. No worries.
    • If you read through to the end of the article (a rare thing around here, I know) you will find this:

      Quantum Nucleonics
      The big idea: A portable, safe, nonpolluting source of nuclear power

      As long as we're being fanciful, why not use these amazing portable nuclear devices to power our whiz-bang portable devices?
    • The rate of innovation of portable power sources is a lot slower than in the technologies that depend on them, for a number of reasons - mainly due to the fact that after a century or so of development we're reaching the theoretical limits of the current technology.

      This issue was discussed recently [] following an article on CNN (that's disappeared, unfortunately).
    • some wrist watches (seiko) these days use pendulums to collect kenetic energy. While obviously a lot more refinement would be needed to generate more power, it seems like it could work
  • The most fascinating part is that all of these new technologies seem like they'll be available in the not too distant future.

    "The height technologies that will change the world once you'll be in the grave" sounds less attractive.
  • How about 90's TV shows? The human/computer topic seemed to be limited to mobility. What about sight? A Geordi visor from ST:TNG would be a valuable invention and a really cool integration of computer technology with the human brain.
  • Can I trade this old, worn out POS for the new coolness? Or do I need to be Will Smith?

    It looks like the next step is near, replaceable bodies and the ability to transfer knowlege. The line from Star Wars could come true, Darth Vader was "more machine than man."

    I will wait for the first service pack before trading my bio for bio-machine....
  • by donnacha ( 161610 ) on Friday May 24, 2002 @09:17AM (#3578396) Homepage

    With regard to the front cover's question, overlayed on possibly the smuggest Bill Gates photo I've ever seen:

    "How To Beat Him"

    I'm hoping that the answer boils down to "with a large wooden bat, spiked with rusty nails".

  • by juliao ( 219156 ) on Friday May 24, 2002 @09:23AM (#3578420) Homepage
    All of them seem like great things to happen! But are they? Let's take a look...

    Biointeractive Material: An idea with a lot of potential, and that may see light sooner than we think. The risk here is reverse interaction, that may allow your shirt to be hacked into heating just a bit too much...

    Biofuel Production Plants: They mention the risks themselves: using bio-engineered plants for fuel production may create mutated species that grow beyond our control. And on another issue, growing GMO for fuel will legitimise using GMO for food, won't it?

    Bionics: A wonderful potential, but so many risks: yes, it can be use to cure the deaf, and the blind, but as you go on it allows you to replace organs, even to enhance them, and in due time it will allow you to slowly become a bit like a cyborg. It sounds great to me, but maybe it will create even a greater divide between the "have"s and the "have not"s. Will humanity (the poor of the world, their strenght being the numbers) rebel against the cyborgs (the bionic we) someday?

    Cognitronics: The greatest of all greats, but... If ir can control, can it be controlled? If it interacts, can you read my mind? It kind of redefines the notion of "0wn3d"...

    Genotyping: Hmmm... What was this one good for, again? Too much potential for the wrong things happening...

    Combinatorial Science: Wow! At last, a way for the government to find all about life, the universe and everything without having to bother with those pesky scientists and their silly notions of "moral" and "ethics"...! Anyway, anything that is comparable to Excel has to be a bad thing. :)

    Molecular Manufacturing: One of the coolest technologies ever. And yet, a great potential for being abused. This effectively removes the limit of scale on anything we build, be it large or small. But the planet isn't large enough for us to start building our private megalopolis and robot armies anytime soon. This had better come true after generalized space travel and colonization.

    Quantum Nucleonics: Hmmm.. Boom?

    • Will humanity (the poor of the world, their strenght being the numbers) rebel against the cyborgs (the bionic we) someday?

      For some insight into that question, may I recommend you view Episode 6 of Sealab 2021--I, Robot. An insightful debate on the issue is contained within. ;^)
    • Molecular Maufacturing

      Ummm, this is almos a prerequiste to space travel, as builing craft that are reliable, strong, and light enough will almost certainly require this technology.

      This is probalby the most likely of those technologies to become realistic in the near(ish) future

    • "Molecular Manufacturing: One of the coolest technologies ever. And yet, a great potential for being abused.This effectively removes the limit of scale on anything we build, be it large or small."

      You cover the large bit. The small bit is that anyone can create a large batch of any chemical compound at will as long as they have the raw ingredients. Suddenly instead of kids bringing guns to school, they've got a jar of VX in their bookbags.

      You're absolutely right. We ought to be thinking about the risks as well as the benefits on these.
  • "I would like the X-10 auxiliary cerebrum please!"
    "Oh, we don't have it in stock. It's the only part for which you want to wait for a truck to arrive in the store."
    "It figures!"
  • If any of you have not taken the opportunity (doubtful, but I'll toss it out there in case any one isn't aware of him), Ben Bova has an excellent Sci-Fi series with nanotech as one of the aspects of the near future.

    He does a really good job of showing potential applications and FUD spread by political movements.

    Check out the first two books:


    The rest of the series is also very good. Mars, Jupiter, Venus, Asteroid Belt, etc.

    Do a search for Ben Bova on, they have the complete list.
    • Sorry, dude, I read Moonrise. It was a soap opera in a futuristic setting, and then only reason I finished it is because I couldn't believe that they'd publish such a crummy book with no redeeming qualities. It literally put me off Ben Bova (admittedly, I've only read three or four of his other books).

      I was wrong and now those hours (and that $5.95) are lost to me forever.

  • The most fascinating part is that all of these new technologies seem like they'll be available in the not too distant future

    They always do!
    They never ARE!
  • This article reads like a Sid Meier game - what I want to know is how did they figure out the technology tree for all these cool things so they'd know what to work on next.
  • The main difference between the bionic man and the people of the future is that we're likely to be bombarded 24 hours a day by unwanted ads. I wouldn't mind being able to lift 2000 lbs but I'm leery of having an electronic device control what I see and hear.
  • by Sarin ( 112173 ) on Friday May 24, 2002 @09:30AM (#3578444) Homepage Journal
    You could turn lights on and off, mute the TV, or drive a car simply by thinking about doing so.

    Sounds dangerous to me, you have to be carefull what you think instead of being carefull what you do, escpecially when these devices have lethal uses, like a car.
    What if you bionic arm would act on your impulsive first toughts after being annoyed or arroused by someone.Instead of pulling your middle finger to another roaduser, the car might try to hit this person.

    Thinking is not a crime might not be true in such a future.
    • Very true - and naturally, David Brin has already written about this. He describes a computer interface called a subvocaliser, which reads your unspoken pre-speech impulses in the larynx before they actually get to the word stage, and is the nearest thing to a direct brain interface you can get.

      From my well-thumbed copy of Earth:
      "Even the tiniest signal to her jaw or larynx might be interpreted as a command... Few people used subvocals, for the same reason few ever became street jugglers. Not many could operate the delicate systems without tipping into chaos. Any normal mind kept intruding with apparent irrelevancies, many ascending to the level of muttered or almost-spoken words the outer consciousness hardly noticed, but which the device manifested visibly and in sound.

      ... When invented, the subvocal had been hailed as a boon to pilots - until high-performance jets began plowing into the ground. We experience ten thousand impulses for every one we allow to become action. Accelerating the choice and decision process did more than speed reaction time. It also shortcut judgement.
      ...If they ever really developed a true brain-to-computer interface, the chaos would be even worse.
      ... Imagine giving a machine like this to young, libidinous, hormone-drenched male pilots! Of all the silly things to do.

      Written in 1988, set in 2038, Earth is probably the best 50 year prediction of the future I've ever read. Brin actually extrapolated from the state of usenet at the time of writing to predict something that looks very much like our present www (only with more discussion and less ads. He was out by about 45 years there...).

      While much of the novel may well turn out to be inaccurate, and (much to my concern) overly optimistic, it covers many issues that are just beginning to be recognized as important - privacy, globalization, eco-crimes, and so-on. I'm convinced that his "Sea State" - a floating, multi-boat/raft 'nation' of asylum seekers and the like - is only a matter of time (no, Stephenson wasn't first with this idea - although Brin probably wasn't either).

      Of course, the subvocaliser is the nearest Brin actually gets to any of the above-mentioned eight. Instead, there's a heavy focus on Gaia theory - very popular at the time of writing. He also invents a new branch of gravitational science, which I won't spoil for you by expanding upon.

      Finally, the book has an excellent postscript in which Brin discusses his basis for many of his extrapolations, and issues he considers likely to arise in the next few decades. Those wanting some entertainment along with their speculation upon the next thirty-six years could do far worse than chasing up a copy of Earth.

      (My, that wandered a bit. But it's all relevant. Honest.)
  • Halfnium amplifying X-Rays "exponentially"?? OK, I realize that this is a e-mag for PHB's, but come on - that reads like something straight out of Star Trek: "I know - we'll use a sheet of halfnium to amplify the X-Rays exponentially" "Shut up, Wesley" (no offense intended, CleverNickName...) Ignoring the fact that "exponentially" makes no sense in this context (after all, .9^n 1, you cannot define this without stating your units), but more importantly the energy must come from somewhere - either you are causing fission or some other form of decay in the halfnium, or you aren't getting any more energy out than you put in.

    Secondly, did anyone else feel like they were reading the Great Library from any of the Civilization games - "Domestication + Iron working = Stirrup" "Bio-informatics + Genetics = Enhanced crops"?

    I agree - the tech of the future will come about as combinations of what we have: I'm far too big a fan of James Burke to dispute that. But this article was "a crock of excrement, and none may abide the odor thereof".
  • Interesting theme. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Junta ( 36770 ) on Friday May 24, 2002 @09:55AM (#3578595)
    Not too long ago, the top list of techs that would change the world were typically all about computers and the internet, focusing on how people interact with each other and get information. The big internet bubble kinda grew out of this whole excitement over computer and internet technology as an end in and of itself rather than a means to another end.

    Now it seems like the general populace have tired of thinking of computers and the internet as they did before. This lack of interest and the recession have fed each other to a downward spiral. It seems that now the populace is getting more excited about biotech things, as reflected in this article. e-everything and fast communications got boring, but now people see biotech as having the potential for enhancing and extending life in a very real and pervasive way.

    So are we about to see a "biotech" bubble like the "internet" bubble we saw in the past few years? Are bio-engineering, genetics, and biology programs about to reach record high enrollments like computer science and engineering programs saw a few years ago (when the general populace thought computer knowledge = big bucks).

    Anyway, though boring to the public in general, botany research could have great impact on our lives. Things like spider silk and insulin from plants, as well as enhancing foods to feed more people could offer further reaching impact than anything mentioned in the article, in terms of reaching third world countries, for example. It's pretty exciting. Before long, they expect to be able to produce enough insulin to supply all the world's diabetic population in a few farms. Pretty cool stuff, just hope this stuff doesn't get lost in the noise of "bionic man" super-hyped research.
  • A Slashdot proof server.
    Made up of Linux and about fifty Beowulf Clusters of the latest 'wunderkind' hardware this server will one day almost be able to withstad the force of several thousand people attacking it simultaneously. Thus destroying googles popular Cache service forever.

    Slashdot Math 50+5-3= More Karma than I have
  • Man, I'd cut my hand off for a neural interface :)

    Although, it says in the article, that someone with a paralyzed leg was able to move the mouse by attempting to move the leg. Makes me wonder how it could work for someone with a complete, healthy body. I remember reading a case study about a person who had two fingers melded together (naturally) at birth. They did an MRI on his brain before and after separating his fingers and the results showed that his brain changed slightly. Their hypothesis was that it made new connections to deal with more input resulting from the extra skin and nerves. So, I wonder if it'd be possible to help the brain make new facultys for input/output. (although, i'm clearly not a neurosurgeon. :) ) Maybe they could just interecept and block input to the leg temporarily, rerouting it to the computer interface. I remember reading about a study that showed there is some mechanism in the body that blocked input to your body from your brain during sleep, as an explanation for people who don't have control over their body for a couple seconds after waking up. (never happened to me though)
    • Hey, yes, your brain really *does* rewire itself when something about you changes drastically. I know. I have cerebral palsy, which results from a combination of predisposition, circumstance, and brain damage, and if brains didn't fix their own "short circuits" to a certain extent, I wouldn't have walked into the office this morning, and I wouldn't be typing this to you now. Granted, it takes a hell of a lot of work, stimulation (the important bit), exercise, and determination, but in general, it's possible.

      In short, believing that everything in the brain is absolutely hard-and-fast controlled by *one place* and *one place* in your brain alone is nonsense. Some of those places that should control various parts of my body (the "default settings," if you will) are long since dead. Other parts picked up the slack, more or less. I wouldn't mind a little cognitronic jolt to the rest to get up to 100% functionality, though...


      Interrobang, upright and striving for a reasonable hand-drawn facsimile of "able-bodied" since 1978
    • okay, first off, yes, you're brain does disconnect from the body (issuing commands for movement anyways) when you sleep. yes the brain does adapt to new channels of incoming information. if you would like to speak with someone knowledgeable about this and cannot find anyone locally, then let me recommend a gentleman with two doctorates, several masters and numerous bachelor's/other studies, who has worked and still occasionally does work for the FBI, and put in twenty+ years working at Bryce Hospital [] studying the brain, and it's functions. Okay, he's fairly busy, and he may take a while to get back to you, but here's is email addy dgunn @ ayers cc al us.

      to all of slashdot that may read this: yes, it's spam guarded for a reason. if you are lowlife enough to start spamming him, then i will personally trace you down, by the recorded IP of your last contact with that webpage, and thus contacting your ISP and he will undoubtedly talk to the FBI about your prank, and yes, i do have that capability and desire. I admire this man more than any other three people i know. (it doesnt hurt that he thinks i'm cool too).

      okay, now on to book references:
      have you read terminal man by crichton? good book, and sorta related

      okay, now really bad jokes:
      someone with a completely healthy body would move the mouse with, say, two or three fingers, or for mac ppl, a palm and a knuckle, at the least.
  • I remember hearing a quote a while ago in a book I read titled "The year in 1980". The book was a collection of predictions from scientists, engineers, and other academics about what the world would be like in 1980. The quote went:

    "The problem with predicting the future is that you either predict that we can do far too much, or that we can do far too little."

    I think this applies to these predictions. A good number of them, humourously enough, were in this book that I just quoted from. Eventually, they'll come, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

    (IMHO, as always)
  • A common theme of the posts Iv read so far seem to moan about how so much was promised years ago, and how nothing much has come of it.

    Which at a glance, might seem right. But thats only because Im guessing there is a pretty youngish age group of readers here (Ie, under 40?) how have grown up with technology to the point, they see it as normal, not gee-wizz. Since its going from 'old computer to better computer' not no computers, to computers etc.

    Im sure in some years to come Ill be talking to my kids(Maybe :o) and be amazed at how little they think of even a few of these things, and just pass them of as nothing new or impressive at all.

  • The Venn diagrams of the article remind me of the pretty pictures I see whenever I get a new technology in Alpha Centauri or Civilization. How long do I have to wait for Matter Transmission []?
  • They didn't even mention the Ginger/IT/segfault^H^H^H^H^Hway
  • The real interesting stuff--the advances that will really shake things up--aren't readily apparent to mainstream business writers. This cluelessness is to be expected, and is compounded by a well-engrained fear of going out on a limb. Instead we see these sorts of articles, with these sorts of lists, i.e. those that most people really won't complain about, and that you can find in any good scifi overview. They are safe. Less so are the 'future technologies' that will drive enormous transformations in basic industries (industries BTW that will continue to be important for the foreseeable future), the development of new technologies of death (first for the military and then as denuded civilian applications), and ubiquitous connectivity at the level of the individual. The aggravating thing is that any good review of current research suggests a multitude of alternative views that don't include Star Trek tech.
  • Money is the biggest obstacle to all of this. We've had the technology to build a lot of this stuff for a while, just not cheaply. If there's money in it, and a profit margin, then it'll get built. Otherwise, it's just 70's TV-show fodder...
  • No they won't (Score:3, Insightful)

    by r_j_prahad ( 309298 ) <> on Friday May 24, 2002 @11:22AM (#3579268)
    They won't change a damn thing, they'll never even get a chance to, because they'll all violate either the DMCA, the CBDTPA, a EULA, somebody's Terms of Service Agreement, UCITA, a patent, the Bern Convention, the Patriot Act, or some as yet unknown restrictive legislation yet to be enacted.

    The technology future for the U.S. was yesterday. It's all over, man. We're rushing headlong into third-world status at breakneck speed and there's nobody out there to stop us.
  • When are we goona be like the Jetsons? When are we gonna fly in cars? Or have robotic maids? Or living in the sky? When?

    Business 2.0 certainly does not know....
  • Biologic sensing devices will become small enough to reside on or inside people, animals, and crops.

    • Augmented reality...
      built into my retina
    • Brain to wireless networking bridge (as seen in the Matrix or Ghost in the Shell, but wireless)
      I hate how low bandwith spoken language currently is. It takes forever to upload my ideas into others' heads.
    • One of those IBM micro-drives with a database interface built in.
      never forget a name or face! Play Counterstrike anytime, anywhere.
    • 24/7 net access
      another perk of the NIC in my nervous system...
    • an older CPU (celeron perhaps?)
      Pass advanced calculus in about a week. Older because I don't want any overheating issues... What's that smell
    • A vibrating, mildly electrically charged penis
      because I can.
    • And Finally... P2P (pleasure to pleasure) protocol.
      fully compatible with the previous device. Get your bionic babe's body and mind off at the same time!

    On that note, if there are any bionocists in the house please add me to your waiting list as soon as it's post-beta. Thank you. *g*

  • Nothing in this list could replace good dependable PI technology like Jim Rockford. The future has a long way to go before it catches up to the 70s.
  • many applications are being researched at
    universities around the world for further
    info go to

Information is the inverse of entropy.