Expert Forecasts for 2020

The overall capacity of these representative nations to implement the technology applications they can acquire suggests the following trends: Different Countries, Different Issues: The Capacity of Various Nations to Use Technology Applications to Address National Problems Disease is often widespread. Essential resources, such as water and arable land, are frequently misused and rapidly dwindling. In many of these countries, the pervasive use of wood and coal-burning stoves is a major problem, generating indoor air pollution that has severe costs for the health of women and children in particular. The need for clean, cheap energy sources is urgent. With rapidly growing populations, low levels of literacy, and great disparities in wealth and power, these countries also frequently need to promote economic growth and international commerce. Stronger national economies would create jobs and generally improve the standard of living. But because very few countries at this level of S&T capacity are active participants in the global economy and because barriers are so abundant, this goal often takes a backseat to more basic development objectives. capable of implementing relevant sets of applications (sometimes even on par with Russia in the proficient group). But compared with most of the proficient and advanced countries, their level of capacity will still be very low. South Africa will have even less capacity, and Colombia and Indonesia will have little more than that of the scientifically lagging countries. 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.