These slides analyze the potential impact on our world of those technologies that are experiencing rapid rates of improvement. These technologies include ICs, MEMS, organic transistors, carbon nanotubes, superconducting Josephson junctions, photonics, computers, quantum computers, magnetic storage, telecommunication bandwidth, DNA sequencers, cellulosic ethanol, LEDs, OLEDs, lasers, LCDs, quantum dot displays, photo-sensors, and solar cells. Technologies that are not experiencing rapid improvements include batteries and wind turbines.
Technologies that experience faster rates of improvement are more likely to become economically feasible in the near future than are other technologies. They are also more likely to become economically feasible for an increasing number of applications and thus diffuse faster than other technologies. By understanding these technologies, we can also develop better R&D policies and better solve global problems.
Without such data, discussions about the future deteriorate into what Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman calls “instinctive and emotional” arguments. People tend to assess the relative importance of issues by the ease with which they are retrieved from memory and this is largely determined by the extent of coverage in the media. Second, judgments and decisions are guided directly by feelings of liking and disliking, with little deliberation and reasoning.