One of the benefits of closely following the progress of technology is that we get to witness the dreams of science fiction become reality, on what is becoming an almost daily basis. And it’s happening faster and faster, as the pace of change climbs a steep acceleration curve.
Thus, within many of our lifetimes, intercontinental phone calls carried on undersea cables have turned into Skype, the typewriter has morphed into the 3D printer, computers have gone from doing basic arithmetic to beating the world’s best players at Jeopardy! and chess. Dick Tracy’s famous “two-way wrist radio” is about to take physical shape as an iWatch.
Further out, but on the drawing board right now, are such seemingly far-fetched ideas as mining asteroids and establishing permanent human colonies on Mars (with thousands of volunteers already signed up). Though these ideas may seem like silly concepts today, if I’ve learned anything in my years as a technologist, it’s to not discount the dreamers.
Nowhere is the mark of technology’s collision with the world of fiction being felt more today than in medicine and biotechnology. Things only dreamt of during the age of the computer—including silencing and expression of ancient genes, synthetic life forms, and supercomputing simulators of the biological world—are suddenly springing to life.
Thanks to BrotherJohnF