The Times They Are a Changin'

Article excerpt

As part of its efforts to inspire, encourage, and lead an international dialogue on the future, the World Future Society, Bethesda, Md., has released a report forecasting major global developments for the coming year and beyond. It examines the key trends in technology, the environment, the economy, and many other areas in order to paint a full and credible portrait of our likely future.

"Economic, digital, and cultural globalization is accelerating as are the perils and possibilities of our ever-changing interconnected age," notes Patrick Tucker, director of communications for the World Future Society. "Technology is already redefining not only what it means to be employable, but what it means to be human. As our knowledge increases, our time horizons are shortening. Much of what 10 years ago was called the distant future is now the present. Humankind's ability to analyze trends, draw credible forecasts, and plan for what lies ahead has never been more important than it is today."

Significant forecasts include:

* Nanotechnology will be used for everything from monitoring the health of soldiers in the battlefield to transforming waste into edible material. Medical therapies based on nanotechnology will reach clinical use before 2025. Ultra-tiny machines will monitor internal processes, remove cholesterol plaques from arteries, and destroy cancer cells before they form tumors.

* Public education will face an uphill battle for survival. According to the National Educational Association, the amount of money required to repair ailing facilities, build new ones, and outfit schools with modern technology is approaching $32,000,000,000--or 10 times the amount states currently are spending. …

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