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liminal's avatar

What are the nascent ideas of today that will inform the technology of tomorrow?

Asked by liminal (7712 points ) January 21st, 2010

In our house, we, have been talking about Alan Turing and Ada Lovelace lately. In particular, we have been discussing how their thoughts played a role in the development of modern day computers and programing. We are wondering what other seeds of thought are out there “paving the way” for future technology.

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14 Answers

njnyjobs's avatar

People with too much time on their hands should think about ways of growing food where traditional farming do not yield enogh crop to sustain the local population. Educators must develop effective teaching techniques for the advancement of the rest of the 3rd, 4th 5th worlds . . .

ETpro's avatar

Bioengineering and gene splicing will develop algae that will live in alrge lakes and supply all the earth’s energy needs in a sustainable, environmentally friendly way, needing only ambient sunlight and natural nutrients to power them.

Controlled fusion reactors will enable splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen economically, thus supplying fuel for fuel cells and combustion processes that emit only pure water vapor.

njnyjobs's avatar

@ETpro… yeah?... will that grow food and alleviate world hunger? Do people realize that all the turmoil in our world stems from poverty, lack of sufficient food and water supply?

ru2bz46's avatar

@njnyjobs The thirsty people can simply drink all the extra water emitted by the cars.~

ETpro's avatar

@njnyjobs If people realize that they are mistaken. Without energy, you aren;t going to grow anywhere near enough food to feed everyone or transport what you grow to where it’s needed to feed them.

But while we’re at it, we can certainly bioengineer ways to produce more food from less space and energy as well. Sure it would take lots of testing to ensure it’s healthful, nut that’s a doable thing.

njnyjobs's avatar

@ETpro if people sustain there own communities, then you do not need the energy you want to produce to power the transportation system that you hope will not pollute the environment to bring the goods to market.

People of the world must take responsibility for their survival. as I do every waking moment, busting my hump to make sure that I provide enough for my family.

ETpro's avatar

It is not possible for 6 billion people to go back to 12th century ways and survive. You would condemn well over 4 billion people to death and the remaining 2 billion would be very lucky if they could figure out how to survive. you’d have to trust that nobody would get the same idea the Vikings had, that raping and pillaging is really a whole lot easier than farming, and more fun to boot.

njnyjobs's avatar

Here’s my opinion, people in the US are so obcessed in being able to run vehicles with ethanol, which is corn-based, that farmers are now selling their crops to the fuel companies instead of feeding America.

David Pimental, a leading Cornell University agricultural expert, has calculated that powering the average U.S. automobile for one year on ethanol (blended with gasoline) derived from corn would require 11 acres of farmland, the same space needed to grow a year’s supply of food for seven people. Adding up the energy costs of corn production and its conversion into ethanol, 131,000 BTUs are needed to make one gallon of ethanol. One gallon of ethanol has an energy value of only 77,000 BTUS. Thus, 70 percent more energy is required to produce ethanol than the energy that actually is in it. Every time you make one gallon of ethanol, there is a net energy loss of 54,000 BTUs.

Mr. Pimentel concluded that “abusing our precious croplands to grow corn for an energy-inefficient process that yields low-grade automobile fuels amounts to unsustainable subsidized food burning”.

Neither increases in government subsidies to corn-based ethanol fuel nor hikes in the price of petroleum can overcome what Cornell University agricultural scientist, David Pimentel, calls a fundamental input-yield problem: It takes more energy to make ethanol from grain than the combustion of ethanol produces.

At a time when ethanol-gasoline mixtures (gasohol) are touted as the American answer to fossil fuel shortages by corn producers, food processors and some lawmakers, Cornell’s David Pimentel, one of the world’s leading experts in issues relating to energy and agriculture, takes a longer range view.

“Abusing our precious croplands to grow corn for an energy-inefficient process that yields low-grade automobile fuel amounts to unsustainable, subsidized food burning”, says the Cornell professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Pimentel, who chaired a U.S. Department of Energy panel that investigated the energetics, economics and environmental aspects of ethanol production several years ago, subsequently conducted a detailed analysis of the corn-to-car fuel process. His findings are published in the September, 2001 issue of the Encyclopedia of Physical Sciences and Technology .

wunday's avatar

The research into nanotechnology today will result in some significant new technology before this decade is out.

ETpro's avatar

@njnyjobs I completely agree with you about ethanol. It’s not the solution, just another part of the problem. What I was describing is FAR less demanding in both land area and energy required. Ethanol production today uses nearly as much energy as it produces, even if it didn’t take food and livestock feed away from places it is needed.

majorrich's avatar

Suppose we were to splice the chlorophyll gene to melanin cells in humans. Would the human then not need to eat and be ‘solar powered’ and thus solve hunger permanently?

ETpro's avatar

@majorrich Do you raally want to need to drink water with fertilizer and compost mixed in. :-)

majorrich's avatar

The water in the places this is needed is already loaded with a veritable miracle grow mixture. LOL.

Austinlad's avatar

We’re going to see some amazing advances in medicine and medical procedure in the future. Such dreaded diseases as cancer, Alzheimer’s and AIDS will be conquered, blindness and loss of hearing will be a thing of the past, organ and facial transplant procedures, even limb and organ regeneration, will become commonplace, and who knows what else. As I write this, scientists and doctors all over the world are working on such research.

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