What’s Next?


What’s Next

Predicting the future is notoriously hard for many reasons, but one of those is inability to forsee what will happen in the verges where sciences meet, the verges where engineering applies science, and finally in that verge where humans both adopt and adapt to new technologies.

What changes will be wrought in the verge between evolutionary biology, biotechnology, and nanotechnology? I haven’t a clue but I do know that the outcomes can not be predicted. A few general directions can be foreseen, but how humans will creatively use the discoveries coming, how they will invent unforeseen uses for them, how that will change society, and what that will in turn lead to cannot be predicted.

Bio-tech/Nanotech/Medical sciences is one of the more exciting and obvious verges nowadays, but others are cropping up fast. What about humans, nanotechnology, and computer science? What about digital imaging, neuropsychology, advertising, and art? What about biotech, materials science, and fashion? What about information technology, network science, materials sciences, and home construction? What about evolutionary biology, linguistics, and anthropology?

Applying the human element is one of the main areas where predictability breaks down. If humans could change their eye color not with contacts, not with painful ocular injections, but instead by swallowing a pill, would some do that? What if they could grow hair the translucency of spun glass and the beautiful blue color of the Caribbean sea?

If the above were true, what would the effects be on the beauty industry? Would hair dye go away? Would beauticians be required to have a pharmacology degree? Not questions I can readily answer, but it’s when you look at the verges and extrapolate that things get exciting and unpredictable.

You could almost make the argument that we’ve passed the event horizon of Vernor Vinge’s Singularity and just do not realize it yet.

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