Expert Forecasts for 2020

Many of the countries with this level of S&T capacity frequently put promoting economic growth and international commerce higher on national agendas than scientifically lagging countries typically do (but still usually much lower than nations in the proficient and advanced groups). Most of them very much need to manage urban migration, create jobs, and expand the middle class. For countries that are to some degree actively exporting products to the global marketplace (e.g., Chile and Mexico), increasing economic competitiveness is a real-istic development goal. Colombia is a clear exception in this regard; its economy is much less involved in international trade than most other nations in this group. The heightened politi- If they can address multiple barriers to implementation, emerging economies, such as China and India in Asia and Brazil and Chile in South America, will be able to use technology applications to support continued economic growth and human development for their populations. Emerging technological powers China and India will have the best opportunity to approach the ability of the scientifically advanced countries to use applications to achieve national goals. The scientifically proficient countries of Eastern Europe, as represented by Poland, appear to be poised next in line behind China and India. In contrast, it looks likely that Russia’s capacity to implement technology applications will continue to deteriorate, with the most advanced of the scientifically developing countries (represented by Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Turkey) potentially overtaking her. Global diffusion of a technology application does not mean universal diffusion: Not every nation in the world will be able to implement, or even acquire, all technology applications by 2020. The level of direct S&T capacity may be markedly different from one country to another. Within different geographical regions, countries also have considerable differences that play into their ability. These differences may include variations in physical size, natural conditions (e.g., climate), and location (e.g., proximity to oceans and water). The size of the population and demographics (e.g., birthrate) may vary dramatically between countries in a single region. Countries may have very different types of government, economic systems, and levels of economic development. • Communication devices for ubiquitous information access: Communication and storage devices—both wired and wireless—that provide agile access to information sources anywhere, anytime. Operating seamlessly across communication and data storage protocols, these devices will have growing capabilities to store not only text but also meta-text with layered contextual information, images, voice, music, video, and movies. • Ubiquitous radio frequency identification (RFID) tagging of commercial products and individuals: Widespread use of RFID tags to track retail products from manufacture through sale and beyond, as well as individuals and their movements.