Expert Forecasts for 2020

These five, plus two others—rapid bioassays and green manufacturing—could help improve public health as well. The ability to use bioassays to quickly screen for diseases would enable governments to prevent epidemics. It would also increase the probability of correctly prescrib-ing medications, decreasing resistance to antibiotics and other drugs. Reducing the volume of toxic materials in the environment produced by conventional manufacturing processes would improve public health. 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. Rural wireless communications, rapid bioassays, filters and catalysts, cheap autonomous housing, ubiquitous RFID tagging, and quantum cryptography could all help strengthen the military and warfighters. Beyond these, ubiquitous information access could improve combat planning and execution, logistics, and support functions. Pervasive sensors could be implemented in tactical situations to provide updated intelligence and targeting. The increased ability to exchange instructions provided by wearable computers would be a significant advantage in military situations as well. 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. • Quantum cryptography: Quantum mechanical methods that encode information for secure transfer.