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December 2, 2010 / marios

The next technological leap

I have been quite disappointed the past few years regarding any technological improvements from a wide spectrum of sciences. If I try to think of any seemingly important advances that affected the daily lives of ordinary people, the two that come to mind immediately are the ability to access the Internet from your mobile phone (granted this is a tremendous achievement) and eServices (eCommerce, eMaps, Wikipedia; all these services simplified our lives tremendously). Nevertheless, these technologies only affect the few, so far. We have also seen improvements in medication for AIDS, but no cure, and practically no progress in the fight against most types of cancer. The great promise of sequencing the human genome has resulted in the ability to predict the likelihood of certain diseases expressing in certain individuals, but nothing beyond that yet; nevertheless it has also increased our understanding of how our bodies really work. Nanotechnology still seems to be closer to science fiction than reality and material sciences have not produced the super materials that everybody expected; everything we produce has improved in quality, but is fundamentally the same.  All our activities are powered primarily by fossil fuels, and there has not yet appeared a panacea for our energy worries. Food production has increased but the world is still facing food shortages. And we all know where  innovation in financial products has led to. In other words, critical technological advancement seems to have slowed down significantly.

But now, it seems to me that a new technological leap is about to happen. Who hasn’t heard of the incredibly promising applications of Graphene. Metamaterials are making a come back. And even home entertainment just made a huge step forward in the form of Microsoft’s Kinect, which is posed to change the way we interact with technology forever. Scientists have been making tremendous progress in stem cell research; a nice example being tissue regeneration. And we are finally starting to see promising new alternative energy technologies like the Bloom Box and Shale Gas drilling (albeit, all of them with their share of drawbacks for now). Finally, crop engineering through selective breeding and genetic modification is booming (whatever the advantages and disadvantages of that may be). I can sense a revolution brewing.

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