JimPinto.com - Connections for Growth & Success
No. 41 : April 26, 2001
Business, marketing & futures commentary.
New attitudes, no platitudes.
- The World in 2015 - CIA Report
- 5 Patents to Watch - MIT-Tech Review
- More on MEMS
- New Frontiers - Newsweek Report
- Robot Toys
Global Trends 2015 : CIA Report
The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and National Intelligence Council
(NIC) have worked actively with nongovernmental institutions and experts to
produce a significant forecast on global trends. Here is my summary, to
stimulate further review.
Key Drivers & trends
World population will be 7.2 billion (up from 6.1b in 2000) 95% of the
increase from developing countries. Increasing life spans will have
significantly divergent impacts. In the advanced economies, declining
birthrates and aging will combine to increase health care and pension costs
while reducing the relative size of the working population and leaving
significant shortfalls in the work force. In some developing countries,
these same trends will combine to expand the size of the working
population - increasing the potential for economic growth and political
Natural Resources & Environment :
Overall food production will be adequate to feed the world's growing
population. Despite a 50 percent increase in global energy demand, energy
resources will be sufficient to meet demand; the latest estimates suggest
that 80 percent of the world's available oil and 95 percent of its gas
remain underground. Water scarcities will pose significant challenges in
some areas of the world.
Science and Technology :
The world will encounter more quantum leaps in science and technology.
Continuing revolutions in information technology, biotechnology, materials
science and nanotechnology will further stimulate innovation within the
more advanced countries. The information technology revolution represents
the most significant global transformation since the Industrial Revolution
in the mid-eighteenth century. Biotechnology will drive medical
breakthroughs that will enable the world's wealthiest people to improve
their health and increase their longevity dramatically. At the same time,
genetically modified crops will offer the potential to improve nutrition
among the world's one billion malnourished people.
Global Economy and Globalization :
The networked global economy will be driven by rapid and largely
unrestricted flows of information, ideas, cultural values, capital, goods
and services, and people. The globalized economy will be a net contributor
to increased political stability in the world in 2015, although its reach
and benefits will not be universal. In contrast to the Industrial
Revolution, the process of globalization is more compressed, its evolution
will be rocky, marked by chronic financial volatility and a widening
economic divide. Regions, countries and groups feeling left behind will
face deepening economic stagnation, political instability and cultural
alienation. They will foster political, ethnic, ideological and religious
extremism, along with the violence that often accompanies it. They will
force the United States and other developed countries to remain focused on
"old-world" challenges while concentrating on the implications of
"new-world" technologies at the same time.
National and International Governance :
States will continue to be the dominant players on the world stage, but
governments will have less and less control over flows of information,
technology, diseases, migrants, arms and financial transactions, whether
licit or illicit, across their borders. Business firms and nonprofit
organizations will play increasingly larger roles in both national and
international affairs. States with competent governance, including the
United States, will adapt government structures to a dramatically changed
global environment. States with ineffective and incompetent governance not
only will fail to benefit from globalization, but in some instances will
spawn conflicts at home and abroad, ensuring an even wider gap between
regional winners and losers than exists today.
Future Conflict :
The United States will maintain a strong technological edge in
technology-driven "battlefield awareness" and in precision-guided weaponry
in 2015. The risk of war among developed countries will be low. The
international community will continue to face conflicts around the world,
ranging from relatively frequent small-scale internal upheavals to less
frequent regional interstate wars. Internal conflicts stemming from
religious, ethnic, economic or political disputes will remain at current
levels or even increase in number. The potential for conflict will arise
from rivalries in Asia, ranging from India-Pakistan to China-Taiwan, as
well as among the antagonists in the Middle East. Their potential lethality
will grow, driven by the availability of weapons technologies. Prospects
will grow that more sophisticated weaponry, including weapons of mass
destruction, will get into the hands of state and nonstate belligerents,
some hostile to the United States.
Role of the United States :
Read the text of this important CIA report, or download a pdf file
The United States will continue to be a major force in the world community.
US global economic, technological, military, and diplomatic influence will
be unparalleled among nations as well as regional and international
organizations in 2015. This power not only will ensure America's
preeminence, but also will cast the United States as a key driver of the
international system. The United States will remain in the vanguard of the
technological revolution from information to biotechnology and beyond.
There will be increasing numbers of important actors on the world stage to
challenge and check - as well as reinforce - US leadership: China, Russia,
India, Mexico, Brazil, the European Union and a vast array of increasingly
powerful multinational corporations and nonprofit organizations with their
own interests to defend in the world.
5 patents to watch - MIT Tech-Review
No one can really guess which of the 182,223 patents issued last year by
the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will prove to be the most significant
in the long run. The editors of MIT Technology Review have selected "5
Patents to Watch," a special section in their May 2001 issue which
highlights some of last year's most intriguing and potentially
Worthwhile MIT-Tech-Review summary
- Distributed Computing : The future of big computing - distributing the
- Edible Vaccines : Making immunization less painful and more accessible
- Raman Amplification : Key to building an all-optical Internet.
- Tissue Engineering : Repairing and even replacing damaged body parts.
- Nanowire Chips : Replacing silicon with organic molecules for tiny
More on MEMS
MEMS (micro-electromechanical systems) technology is emerging strongly, to
the extent that it is has many immediate practical applications and the
market is expanding rapidly. The latest issue (April 2,m 2001) of Forbes
ASAP has an excellent collection of articles on several exciting
applications of MEMS : sensors and actuators the size of silicon chips and
Forbes ASAP says :
- Medical - releasing drugs into the body from tiny silicon chambers,
disposable blood-pressure sensors, in-body DNA testing
- Micro satellites (small and inexpensive to launch)
- Tiny "inchworms" that seek out aircraft bombs
- Vision implants - helping the blind to see
- Smart dust - micro sensors to measure pollution
- Automobiles - airbag-triggers, tire-pressure sensors
"Keep in mind: Although the style may be breathless and
the illustrations straight out of Weird Tales, the products are real and
may soon debut in a doctor's office - or a smart dust cloud - near you."
Take a look at The Amazing, Incredible Shrinking Future
New frontiers - Newsweek Special Report
The tech economy seems to have slowed down, with the stocks of leaders like
CISCO and Yahoo declining to fractions of their recent values. But
technological advances continue to create new fields, new gadgets and new
ways of doing business.
The latest issue of NEWSWEEK (30 April 2001) launches four special reports
focusing on how cutting-edge technologies and inventions will transform the
way we work and live. How old cities like Oakland, CA. are being
transformed by attracting technology investments. The jobs of the future
include bioinformatics, a field that scarcely existed a few years ago and
is already a magnet for talented young workers. Take a look at
"intelligent" business cards, passports, virtual secretaries and credit
cards - and a first look at Microsoft’s coming (a year away) Information
First of the four Newsweek sections
We previously discussed Sony's AIBO - a Robot Dog (JimPinto.com eNews 28
Jan. 2001) and the latest humanoid version SDR-3X (eNews 12 Jan. 2001).
Most people were amused - though 45,000 people have reportedly bought an
AIBO at about $ 2,000 (with all accessories). The price for the
experimental humanoid has not yet been announced.
AIBO in Japanese means "companion". It is also an acronym for Artificial
Intelligence roBOt. But Sony insists that AIBO is not a toy! It is a true
companion with real emotions and instincts. With loving attention from its
master, it can even develop into a more mature and fun-loving friend as
time passes. Like any human or animal, AIBO goes through the developmental
stages of an infant, child, teen and adult. Daily communication and
attention will determine how AIBO matures. The more interaction you have
with AIBO, the faster it grows up.
Cyber pets have some advantages over real animals: they “eat” but they don’
t mess the carpet, they’re hairless and they have a convenient “off”
switch. The latest Newsweek (April 23, 2001) compares four of the latest
interactive pets : a cat, a clam, a chameleon and a chirping bird. The most
expensive - A TechnoKitty - sells for $39.99. My wife is still waiting for
the Robo-housemaid and says she is willing to pay $ 100. Any takers?
Online 3-D demo of Sony's AIBO - throw a ball, and see AIBO fetch
The Future of RoboPuppies : MIT Tech-Review (April 20, 2001)
Sony Press release (Nov. 2000) on The humanoid SDR-3X
Interested in a robo-pet? See Newsweek's Cyberscope
Inge Jackson [firstname.lastname@example.org] wrote about free-MIT :
"I found the MIT idea fascinating. Is the thought behind this maybe that
we really should not have the internet taking the place of professors and
should not award degrees that carry the same pull to people who strictly
rely on this service. At the same time for people who otherwise would not
have an opportunity to have access to the educational services, may it be
for financial reasons or time and access restrictions, this could be a
whole new opportunity to learn and reap the awards that one would not have
had otherwise and free of charge at that!!!"
Lou Heavner [Lou.Heavner@frco.com] provides more MIT insights :
"As an MIT alum, I have always been told that tuition didn't come close to
meeting the cost of a student's education. And their tuition is pretty
steep. A lot of professors wrote the books which were used in class,
another source of income for them at the inflated prices of textbooks. Now
so much will be posted to the web. I had already heard this through alumni
news channels and it is exciting. I guess their endowments and grants and
other sources of income must be up! Of course, most of the value of an MIT
education comes from the close association with so many bright people and
the competitive educational environment fostered there. The expression
"drinking from a fire hose" comes to mind. You won't get that kind of
interactivity on the web, I'm afraid. At least not for a while. But what
a tremendous technical library they are creating!"
Lou Heavner continued with comments on The Singularity :
"The idea of the singularity is absolutely fascinating. I believe the
potential is there and look forward to observing the actual adoption rate.
It may come to pass that there will be more discord between early and late
adopters than we have ever experienced due to differences of race,
religion, wealth, or politics in the past. Or perhaps technology will
sweep everybody up and finally obliterate racism, prejudice, and other
social problems. In any case, crystal ball gazing is getting more
difficult everyday. Imagine that our parents may now get to see advances
that we never expected our children to ever see. Beam me up, Scotty!"
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