Re: Near-Term Scenarios

Paul Hughes (
Mon, 11 May 1998 02:09:36 -0700

Year 2000
Computer Technology (Processing, Interface, Software, Networks):

PC speed: 600 MHZ
PC Storage: 50GB hard drives available for high end servers using
near-field recording (see
Software: Win 98 begins loosing ground to Win NT and open-source OS -
probably Linux.
Networks: Project Oxygen ( begins
testing/operations of 20-80 Global network. Aprox 20,000 of 320,000 km
of fiber layed.

> Communication Technology:
Cell Telephony and palmtops completely merge w/ java applet capability.
First color screens. Sat-Cell service rates almost down to $1/min.
Teledesic begins operations.

> Neuroscience/Neuromedicine/Bio-cognitive Science & Technology:
Genetic & neural-network algorithms become more ubiquitous in high-end
engineering optimization searches. Only moderate gains in memory for
Alzheimer's patients.

> General Medicine:
Angiostatin-endostatin works in humans as well as in rats.
Breakthroughs in artificial artery growth. Artificially grown skin
becomes more available. Full-body transplants in primates more
successful via improved nerve regeneration.

> Other Biology:
'Biomimetics' becomes a household word. Major businesses begin adopting
industrial ecological accounting procedures facilitated by the internet.

> Power Technology:
Fuel Cells become available for laptops and cell phones, greatly
extending battery life.. Plastic batteries enter the market. Cold
Fusion begins getting some serious attention again.

> Manufacturing and Materials Science & Technology
Arrays of STMs-on-a-chip for crude mechanosynthesis ("diamond weaving")
demonstrated; MEMs become ubiquitous in major consumer devices

> General Transportation Technology:
"networked cars" available at high prices, but people would rather drive
than be driven.

Year 2005
> Computer Technology (Processing, Interface, Software, Networks):

PC speed: 3-5 GHz

PC Storage: 100-200 Gbt hard drives common through proliferation of
Near-Field Recording, 1Git DRAM's pervasive making solid state recording
more useful. Holographic storage available on high-end servers and

Interface: Wearable computer interfaces (see below) become completly
customizable as genetic and neural-network algorithms grow/adapt an
interface increasingly to your liking. Sophisticated EEG monitors mood
for appropiate interface.

Networks: Everything is networked. IPV6 becomes standard.

> Communication Technology:
Computer and communications devices are completely merged. Wearable
computers with HUD's and video overlay, GPS, Teledesic connections,
nerual-network agents, cognitive enhancment software feedback

> Neuroscience/Neuromedicine/Bio-cognitive Science & Technology:
Very effective 3rd generation smart drugs enter the market. Alzheimer's
patients regain 90% of mental capacity. Spinal regeneration a complete

> Genetic Science and Technology:
Human Genome project completed. Genetic privacy/abuse and
discrimination cases become front-page news. Majority of genes that
cause aging found.

> General Medicine:
AIDS and 95% of cancer eradicated.

> Other Biology:
biodegradable materials become commonplace. Industrial Ecology becomes
the the corporate nore for operating an efficient business. Biological
waste-recycling replaces chemical treatment as method of choice for
municipal plants.

> Power Technology:
Breakthroughs in Solar-tech materials emulating photosynthesis flood the
market as a cheap alternative to centralized power distribution. **Cold
Fusion is either completely debunked or completely revolutionizes the

> Manufacturing and Materials Science & Technology
Desktop Manufacturing companies start cropping up in every city and town
in the developed world.

> General Transportation Technology:
networked cars still not popular, but networked trains, plains, and
trucks do.

> Aeronautics:
VTOL aircraft start pushing the helicopter out of its traditional

> Space Technology and Development:
First SSTO's begin operation. Amateurs launch first rocket into orbit,
ushering in the era of micro-sats to the terror of the intelligence

> Personal Lifestyles:
Sub-cultures come and go in weeks, social networks become completely
detached from geography. "Burning Man" type festivals crop up
everywhere. TAZ's become PAZ's. 'Family' becomes increasingly
re-defined around affinity.

> Law and Government:
Traditional goverments/nation states become increasingly transparent and
irrelevant. Smart Contracts render majority of lawyers unemployed
(unemployable? :-)

> Art and Entertainment:
With the increased wealth of a networked and automated economy, the
demand for art and entertainment skyrockets. Art/Entertianment activity
becomes ubiquitous.

Paul Hughes