I once wrote an essay that I called The Great Race, in which I argued that two factors that affect the future are technological change in the private sector and the growth of entitlement spending. Many posts in this blog have focused on entitlements. I focus less here on technology. But several recent articles on nanotechnology are interesting.
Imagine a world with billions of desktop-size, portable, nonpolluting, cheap machines that can manufacture almost anything-from clothing to furniture to electronics, and much more – in just a few hours. Today, such devices do not exist. But in the years ahead, this advanced form of nanotechnology could create the next Industrial Revolution...
It is too soon to say whether nano will wean society from dirty technologies or simply produce its own versions of the asbestos, diesel soot and DDT debacles that are the legacy of the last industrial revolution. The science is still new, and the rhetoric on both sides remains defensive and polarized.
In energy, there's everything from energy storage in batteries (to) new solid-state batteries, new solar cells like Nanosys (Inc. of Palo Alto) and Konarka (Technologies Inc. of Massachusetts) and others who are finding novel ways to manufacture solar cells.
Generally speaking, if you control matter more precisely, you can get more efficiency out of any process. Then there is a variety of near-term opportunities in drug delivery and eventually therapeutics. But diagnostics, sensors, initially, because you don't have to go through the same hoops for one of those products as you do for a therapeutic agent.