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Top Ten Technological Breakthroughs

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A “virtual” think-tank at George Washington University, known as GW Forecast, has selected the top ten technological advancements for the next 10 and 100 years, according to a press release from the university.

A “virtual” think-tank at George Washington University, known as GW Forecast, has selected the top ten technological advancements for the next 10 and 100 years, according to a press release from the university.

The forecast is based on 10 years of emerging technological research, wrote William Halal, the think-tank administrator, in the July-August issue of The Futurist.

“Our overall conclusion is that today’s wave of technological change seems destined to transform life over the next 20 to 30 years,” he wrote.

Researchers everywhere can access global information networks, creating a process in which thinkers can upload and download information. Also, the number of researchers is increasing due to a decline in industrial work.

“Today’s technological progress is moving far more rapidly throughout the world because it is accelerated by the information revolution,” wrote Halal.

Factors in selecting the top technological advancements included confidence that a breakthrough would occur, its economic impact and its social and cultural impact.

The most noteworthy technological breakthroughs for the next decade were:

–Portable Information Devices: Mobile computers which rely on wireless communication

–Fuel-Cell Powered Automobiles: Electric cars which don’t pollute

–Precision Farming: Computerized tractors which receive satellite data for soil and crop management

–Mass Customization: Products like computers which individuals tailor to specific needs

–Teleliving: Computers which do everything from shopping to working

–Virtual Assistants: Computers which learn people’s routines and perform their daily tasks

–Genetically Altered Organisms: Plants, animals and humans which are modified genetically

–Computerized Health Care: Computers which improve medicine from bookkeeping to treatment

–Alternate Energy Sources: Energy which comes from geothermal and hydroelectric sources

–Smart, Mobile Robots: Increased artificial intelligence which appears in compact forms

The top technological advancements forecast for the next century focused in the areas of transportation, optical computing, biogenetics and colonization of outer space.

“The GW research team is fully aware that its estimates are fallible, but we do claim this methodology provides the best possible forecast based on a consensus of the available scientific knowledge,” wrote Halal.

Cliff Vaughn is BCE’s associate director.Visit GW Forecast at http://gwforecast.gwu.edu or The Futurist online at http://www.wfs.org