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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: Scientifically proficient and advanced countries with more power and more money can better afford to make these goals high priorities. The benefits would be the same as for the scientifically developing countries. Quantum cryptography could protect critical data and networks from hackers and attackers. In addition, targeted drug delivery, also obtainable by the proficient nations, could expedite responses to chemical and biological attacks and minimize casualties. Figure 4 illustrates the overall capacity of the 29 nations in our sample to implement all the technology applications they will be able to acquire.4 Of the seven scientifically advanced countries able to obtain all 16 applications, the United States and Canada in North America and Germany in Western Europe will also be fully capable of implementing them through 2020. Japan and South Korea in Asia, Australia in Oceania, and Israel in the Middle East will be highly capable of implementing all 16 as well. All these countries will have excellent S&T capacity, along with the highest number of drivers and lowest number of barriers. We based its assessment on rough qualitative estimates of the size of the market for the application in 2020 and whether or not it raises significant public policy issues. The numbers in parentheses are the number of sectors that the technology can affect, and the designation global (G) or moderated (M) indicates our estimate, based on both the technical foresights and our discussions with RAND regional experts, of whether the application will be diffused globally in 2020 or will be moderated in its diffusion (i.e., restricted by market, business sector, country, or region).