Expert Forecasts for 2020

• The technological preeminence of the scientifically advanced countries in North America, Western Europe, and Asia Just as in the lagging and developing countries, cheap solar energy, rural wireless communications, GM crops, filters and catalysts, and cheap autonomous housing could enable those scientifically proficient nations that make it a priority to do so to promote rural economic development. Strengthening homeland security and public safety is a principal concern for some nations at this level of S&T capacity. While some nations have had terrorism prevention on their national agendas for a long time, this issue has become more prominent as a number of advanced countries have had recent experiences with terrorism—the United States with the attacks of September 11, 2001, and Spain and the United Kingdom with train bombings, for instance. Public demand in such countries to reduce internal security threats can run very high. Making the military and warfighters of the future stronger is often among their fore-most concerns as well, for varying reasons. Both Israel and South Korea face potential threats from hostile neighboring countries; the United States seeks to maintain its global military predominance. The scientifically lagging countries around the world will face the most severe problems disease, lack of clean water and sanitation, and environmental degradation. They will also likely lack the resources to address these problems. Consequently, they stand to gain the most from implementing the 2020 technology applications. However, to do so, these nations will need to make substantial inroads in building institutional, physical, and human capacity. The efforts and sponsorship of international aid agencies and other countries may assist in these efforts, but the countries themselves will have to improve governance and achieve greater stability before they will be able to benefit from available S&T innovations. • Cost and financing: The cost of acquiring the technology application and of building the physical infrastructure and human capital to introduce and sustain its use, the mecha-nisms and resources available to access the needed funds, and the costs of those funds.