Expert Forecasts for 2020

• Promote economic growth and international commerce. Countries’ Capacity to Achieve Science and Technology Goals Because national concerns tend to differ in these ways between countries with various levels of S&T capacity, particular sets of technology applications will be much more important, and their impacts much more dramatic, for certain nations than for others. But if a country were to establish a certain goal as a top priority in 2020 and resolve to address it, how capable would it be of actually implementing the applications that would enable it to do so? We looked at the scientifically lagging, developing, proficient, and advanced nations in our sample and for each one answered that question for the objectives likely to be relevant to countries at its level of S&T capacity. It might also permit classes of chronically ill or formerly untreatable individuals to join the workforce. Wearable computers could enable patients or their doctors to continuously monitor patients’ health status. Along with the relevant applications obtainable by countries lower on the development ladder, ubiquitous information access would also contribute to improving public health at this level of S&T capacity. As the global technology revolution proceeds, market forces will moderate and vector its course, its technology applications, and their implementation. Predicting the net effect of these forces is predicting the future—wrought with all the difficulties of such predictions. But current technology trends have substantial momentum behind them and will certainly be the focus of continued R&D, consideration, and debate over the next 15 years. By 2020, countries will be applying many of these technologies in some guise or other and the effects will be significant, changing lives across the globe. • Cheap solar energy: Solar energy systems inexpensive enough to be widely available to developing and undeveloped countries, as well as economically disadvantaged populations.