Expert Forecasts for 2020

cheap solar energy, rural wireless communications, GM crops, filters and catalysts, and cheap autonomous housing—could help them both promote economic development in rural areas and improve public health. Solar energy would provide power for pumping water and irrigat-ing crops, significantly improving agriculture and offering alternatives to subsistence farming (e.g., industrial cooperatives). It would also provide the power to run the filters that purify water supplies and the appliances to store medications. Better and more accessible water, food, and medicine would in turn improve public health. Providing lighting for homes and build-ings and power for computers, solar energy could enable rural populations to participate in cottage industries and educate their children, growing the rural economy. Wireless communications would open the floodgate to economic development in remote areas, facilitating both commerce and education. Access to medical information and records would also significantly improve public health. GM crops would make food both more available and more nutritional, reducing the malnutrition and infant mortality that are so pervasive in these countries. Filters and catalysts would enable local populations to make unfit water sources usable and to clean wastewater for reuse. Cheap self-sufficient housing would provide rural populations with basic energy and shelter at minimal cost. is taking a tremendous toll. Resources can present another major problem. In many nations at this level of S&T capacity, economic activities are further depleting already scarce natural resources and spoiling the environment. At the same time, energy prices are rising. For these reasons, it is imperative for many of them to use their resources more efficiently and improve the health of the environment. • Use of resources and environmental health: Availability and accessibility of natural resources, concerns about pollution and its impact on humans, and social attitudes and politics about conservation and preserving land and wildlife. • Hybrid vehicles: Automobiles available to the mass market with power systems that combine internal combustion and other power sources while recovering energy during braking. • Pervasive sensors: Presence of sensors in most public areas and networks of sensor data to accomplish real-time surveillance.