Expert Forecasts for 2020

• Strengthen the military and warfighters of the future. Yet in practical terms, a country will give each of these objectives different priorities, depending on its state of economic and social development, internal politics, and domestic public opinion. Some countries may not even be in a position to pursue some of these goals because they have not yet achieved other, more fundamental, building blocks on which the goals rest. For example, promoting basic rural economic development may be a first step before pursuing international commerce. It might also permit classes of chronically ill or formerly untreatable individuals to join the workforce. Wearable computers could enable patients or their doctors to continuously monitor patients’ health status. Along with the relevant applications obtainable by countries lower on the development ladder, ubiquitous information access would also contribute to improving public health at this level of S&T capacity. In these countries, although the S&T capacity will be high, the number of barriers will slightly exceed the number of drivers, making it more difficult to introduce and sustain the full range of possible technology applications. What Drivers and Barriers Affect These Countries’ Ability to Implement the Technology Applications They Could Acquire? The S&T capacity that enables a country to acquire a technology application is only one of several factors determining whether that country will be able to implement it. The drivers facilitating innovation and the barriers hindering it also have a decisive influence on the ability to implement technology applications (i.e., to put the applications in place and get significant gains from them across the country). These assessments involve such things as whom an application will benefit and whether a country can sustain its use over time. Drivers and barriers involve the same dimensions: A dimension that is a driver in one context may be a barrier in another. For example, financing, when available, would be a driver, but financing, when lacking, is a barrier. A high level of literacy among a nation’s citizens would be a driver, but if literacy were low, it would form a barrier. And in certain cases, a dimension that is a barrier can simultaneously be a driver when only partial progress in that dimension has been made or when conflicting issues in the dimension are present. For example, education in the United States is a driver, but there are also concerns about problems in math and science education in the United States. Also, environmental concerns may dampen some S&T applications in China while promoting environmentally friendly applications, such as green manufacturing and hybrid vehicles.