2030: Technology That Will Change the World

2030: Technology That Will Change the World

Language: English

Pages: 304

ISBN: 0195377176

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

2030: Technology That Will Change the World

Language: English

Pages: 304

ISBN: 0195377176

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Imagine living in 1958, and knowing that the integrated circuit--the microchip--was about to be invented, and would revolutionize the world. Or imagine 1992, when the Internet was about to transform virtually every aspect of our lives. Incredibly, this book argues that we stand at such a moment right now--and not just in one field, but in many.

In 2030, authors Rutger van Santen, Djan Khoe, and Bram Vermeer interview over two dozen scientific and technological experts on themes of health, sustainability and communication, asking them to look forward to the year 2030 and comment on the kind of research that will play a necessary role. If we know what technology will be imperative in 2030, the authors reason, what can we do now to influence future breakthroughs?

Despite working in dissimilar fields, the experts called upon in the book - including Hans Blix (Head of the UN investigation in Iraq), Craig Venter (explorer of the human DNA), and Susan Greenfield (a leading world authority on the human brain), among many others - all emphasize the interconnectedness of our global networks in technology and communication, so tightly knit that the world's major conflicts are never isolated incidents. A fresh understanding of the regularities underlying these complex systems is more important than ever.

Using bright, accessible language to discuss topics of universal interest and relevance, 2030 takes the position that we can, in fact, influence the course of history. It offers a new way of looking forward, a fresh perspective on sustainability, stability and crisis-prevention. For anyone interested in modern science, this book will showcase the technologies that will soon change the way we live.

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applications are mutually reinforcing. It is a strongly nonlinear process that is difficult to direct. That’s partly why we have limited ourselves in this book to breakthroughs with contours that are already visible rather than fantasizing about inventions that lie behind the horizon. Technological innovation has also been a process in which individuals have played a pivotal role, even if most of us are unfamiliar with their names. Dutchman Lou Ottens, for example, conceived the compact disc in

mixture that is maintained by life on Earth. The planet and the life it sustains have evolved in parallel. Immense natural catastrophes have occurred, yet life and the production of oxygen have always prevailed in the end. There are serious grounds for concern. It is more than clear that human beings are having a huge and intensifying impact on our planet. Whether Earth would continue to sustain humanity is very much open to question. The human race didn’t exist 200 million years ago, when—for

have more possibilities for rerouting power as demand or supply changes.” Energy storage is also important when decentralizing the grid. If electricity can be stored close to consumers, local energy shortages can be supplemented locally, reducing dependence on long-distance connections. Battery technology is evolving rapidly, so this is not a remote option. “The introduction of electric cars in particular will spur this storage option,” Jan Blom thinks. “The battery in your car could also be used

have to know before we can accurately predict whether a given person will fall ill? Part of the answer is hidden in our genome: Inherited defects and sensitivity to medication show up in our DNA. The map of the human genome was colored in at record speed at the beginning of this century by two rival research teams, which ended up publishing their results simultaneously in 2001.1 Their achievement was compared with the first moon landing and the invention of the wheel. One of the competing groups

rapidly cascades through many sectors. Without electricity, no water can be pumped into the cities, food can’t be kept or processed, the trains carrying coal can’t run, the mines stop operating, refineries have to shut down, the Internet and other communication lines fall silent, and the global financial system seizes up. Each of these factors will then affect other sectors in turn. No diesel means no farming; no finance, no industry; no flights, no pharmaceuticals. Reducing global shocks

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