Artificial Expectations II

September 19, 2009 at 11:14 am

Okay, I’m an engineer and not a scientist.  While I have to understand the science well enough to make technology work, the scientist’s understanding of the theory will be more comprehensive.  This understanding does not necessarily include the limitations and difficulties in applying the science to real world problems.  Some scientists that I’ve worked with are great with application, but there are some who aren’t.

Then there are those that aren’t great at either.

I’ve been reading the World Future Society’s Special Report – 20 Forecasts for 2010-2025 that I referenced in the post below.  Some are interesting, some are fantastic and some are … well, looney.

Forecast #1The Race for Genetic Enhancements Will Be What the Space Race Was in the 20th Century.  Nothing wrong with that – seems plausible.    However, the devil’s in the details.   “New techniques will enable doctors to change your DNA to revitalize old or diseased organs …”

Makes me wonder how they are going to rewrite the billions of  strands of DNA in your liver, let alone your entire body.  SF writers usually predict genetic manipulation on the zygote, not a mature human being.  This makes open heart surgery look simple by comparison.

Forecast #2Water Becomes the New Oil.  This one is more plausible, but I remember articles written fifteen years ago predicting that by 2010, water would already have overtaken oil due to scarcity.

I know, I know:  past performance does not predict future results.  Blah, blah, blah…

Forecast #3WiMAX Networks Will Soon Create Country-Wide Wireless Internet Access. Seems reasonable.

Forecast #4By 2025, the Worldwide Average Life-Span Will Be Extended by One year Per Year. Based on expected near elimination of infectious diseases.    Uhhhhh – SARS, H1N1, AIDS, Malaria – any of these ring a bell.  We haven’t eliminated world hunger and we already have the technology and food supplies to do so.  We aren’t able to distribute them for political reasons and I don’t see those going away anytime soon.

Forecast #5Bioviolence Becomes a Greater Threat. Well, duh!

So far, they’re running 40% in my opinion.  Now exactly awe-inspiring.

Five down and fifteen to go.  But they’ll have to wait until later.

Enjoy the weekend.

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