Printed: 2020-08-06

Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

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Information Technologies Drive The Future

Dick Pelletier

Ethical Technology

August 19, 2013

Information technologies provide the major force for change as we move through the 21st century.

 During the last century, we learned much of how science and technologies control our world. Today, we are just beginning to exploit this knowledge, and we’re finding there’s much more to learn. As we begin the 2010s, advances seem to rush by at breathtaking speeds, all fueled by information technologies.

   Between 2015 and 2020, inexpensive chips and new networking systems promise to merge TV, phones, radio, and the Internet into a single invisible device that responds to voice commands, gestures, and eventually, will even read our thoughts. We will view images from this system on wall-size screens, or directly onto the retina with active contact lenses, bypassing the need for a display.

   As we begin the 2020s, this communications wonder will be available for our needs anytime anywhere. Using thoughts or voice to direct the system, we can talk to business associates, friends, or relatives from anywhere on Earth, view any movie or TV program ever produced, or satisfy our hunger for entertainment on the edge with virtual reality programs indiscernible from reality.

   Information technologies will also speed breakthroughs in genetics, nanotechnology, and materials industries. By 2018, doctors hope to grow tissues to replace faulty hearts, brains, even aging skin and bones, and by mid-2020s, provide all Americans with a healthy disease-free body. Some dream of a time when human aging, even death, could become only distant memories of our crude past.

   By late 2020s, nanoreplicators are predicted to appear on kitchen counters filling our material needs. We could eat a nutritionally-perfect meal created automatically with information downloaded from the Internet, using only inexpensive dirt or seawater for materials.

   Other miracles complete this amazing future time. Driverless cars carry us about, scramjets whisk us to anywhere on Earth in an hour, and personal robots satisfy our every whim. Is this our future? Absolutely, say experts; and it’s all driven by information technologies. 

Dick Pelletier was a weekly columnist who wrote about future science and technologies for numerous publications. He passed away on July 22, 2014.


Contact: Executive Director, Dr. James J. Hughes,
IEET, 35 Harbor Point Blvd, #404, Boston, MA 02125-3242 USA
phone: 860-428-1837