OECD anticipated technologies for the new few decades

Joseph Coates wrote for an OECD study The Next Twenty-five Years of Technology: Opportunities and Risks (1998)

Joseph Coates has newer articles online in that are mostly written in the 2004-2008 timeframe. Coates overall view has not changed that much in the time since his main work was done.

In a three-year project, Coates and Jarratt, Inc. collected all of the forecasts in all of the areas of science, engineering and technology that could be found, from around the world. These were analysed in a systematic way, and 41 reports running to about 4 000 pages were produced.

The great enablers will be:
• genetics technology;
• energy technology;
• materials technology;
• brain technology;
• information technology.
A sixth area, not itself a technology but acting as an influential wash over all technologies, will be environmentalism.

Likely technological accomplishments in the next decades

• Planetary engineering, e.g. waste disposal into the earth’s mantle
• Iceberg-towing for arid zone irrigation
• Ocean mining
• Integrated logistics, full intermodal integration–goods in transit never touched by human hands
• Intelligent vehicle highway systems
• Integrated water supply systems on a continental scale
• 120-mile-per-gallon personal vehicles
• Manufacturing for durability, reclamation, remanufacturing and recycling
• Ocean ranching/farming
• Fail-safe nuclear power plants
• Human and animal prostheses, implants and assists
• Brain technologies
• Automated farming and animal husbandry
• Outdoor robots
• Genetic diagnoses, therapies, enhancement tools
• Intelligent structures
• Dynamic structures
• Smartness in all devices, components and systems
• Weather modification
• Earthquake prevention
• Product customisation
• Simulation of all devices and systems in design
• Automated kitchen
• Full integration of ergonomics into design
• Subsurface structures
• Nanoscale products and systems
• Robotic assists for people
• Space station
• Planning for terraforming

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