Monday, September 25, 2006

Tech Bubbles will Balloon

Former IETF president Roy Amara said years ago: "We tend to overestimate the impact of a technology in the short run and underestimate it in the long run". It is true. Let's see, what will happen:

Computer Science

  • A universal language translator will become commercially available.
  • Handwriting recognition will approach 99% accuracy.
  • Computer speech recognition of unstructured human speech will approach 99% accuracy.
  • We will use parallel programming in mainstream applications.


  • Terabit optical networks will be common.
  • 3-D TV will be adopted in homes.
  • Interactive computer graphics will be lifelike.
  • Gigabit Internet access will be available in homes.
  • Software-defined radio will be integrated into consumer electronics.
  • Global videoconferencing will become routine.


  • Nonvolatile data storage will eclipse magnetic media.
  • Nanotube-based integrated circuits will be commercialized.
  • Desktop printable electronics will become routine.
  • 5-nanometer processors will become commercially viable.
  • Organic light-emitting diodes will be the dominant display.
  • The semiconductor industry will hit the "Moore's Law" wall.

Sensors and Robotics

  • "Smart dust" devices will be widely deployed in sensor networks.
  • Radio-frequency identification will be commonly integrated in consumer electronics.
  • Household robotics will be widely adopted.
  • Printed bar codes will be replaced by smart-tag technologies such as RFID.
  • Sensor networks that scavenge power will be widely used.


  • A "Theory of Everything" unifying the forces of nature will be widely accepted.
  • Cold fusion will be demonstrated.
  • The origin and nature of dark matter will be well understood.

Space and Earth Sciences

  • Earth-like planets will be discovered.
  • We will have accurate models of the impact of solar weather on Earth's climate.
  • Living organisms will be discovered on other planets.
  • Terrestrial weather forecasting will be accurate to the hour.
  • Microelectromechanical systems will be widely applied to medicine.
  • Humans will understand signals from extraterrestrial civilizations.
  • Scientists will predict earthquakes with enough lead time to evacuate affected areas.

Materials and Nano-Technology

  • Room-temperature superconductors will be commercially available.
  • LEDs will replace incandescent lightbulbs for home lighting.
  • Nanoelectromechanical systems will go commercial.
  • Molecular self-assembly will be used to build integrated circuits.
  • Robust design tools for fabrication at the nanoscale will become available.
  • Microscale robotics will become viable.
  • It will be commercially viable to manufacture nanostructured materials to exact specifications without machining.


  • Fuel cells will be widely used to power cars.
  • Fuel cells will be widely used in mobile devices.
  • Fuel cells will be widely used as a source of household electricity in developing nations.


  • Implantable brain-machine interfaces will be widely adopted.
  • Scientists will have accurate computational models of the human senses.
  • Rapid DNA sequencing will become affordable.