Expert Forecasts for 2020

The 16 top technology applications in our study can all help achieve at least several of the following objectives. In theory, all these goals will be important items on national agendas over the next 15 years: 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. 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- The scientifically advanced countries of North America, Western Europe, and Asia, along with Australia, are likely to gain the most, as exemplified by their capacity to acquire and implement all the top 16 example technology applications. For whatever problems and issues that rank high on their national agendas, they will be able to put into practice a wide range of applications to help address them. 4 We analyzed country capacity to implement technology applications by taking into account three factors: (1) capacity to acquire, defined as the fraction of the top 16 technology applications listed for that country in Figure 1; (2) the fraction of the ten drivers for implementation applicable to that country; and (3) the fraction of the ten barriers to implementation applicable to that country. Figure 4 shows the position of each of the 29 representative countries on a plot for which the y-axis is the product of factors (1) and (2)—i.e., capacity to acquire scaled by the fraction of drivers—and the x-axis is factor (3). (Multiplying capacity to acquire by the fraction of drivers is consistent with the view that the absence of drivers reduces the probability that the technology applications a country can acquire will be implemented.) Both axes are shown as percentages: The y-axis starts at 0 percent (i.e., no capacity to acquire technology applications or drivers) and ends at 100 percent (i.e., capacity to acquire all 16 technology applications, with all 10 drivers applicable). The x-axis starts at 100 percent (i.e., all 10 barriers are applicable) and ends at 0 percent (i.e., no barriers are applicable). This figure provides a first-order assessment of the capacity to implement technology applications, in that we applied equal weighting to all technology applications, drivers, and barriers. We recognize that specific technology applications, drivers, and barriers might be more or less significant in particular countries.