Innovation in eight emerging areas of science and technology is poised to skyrocket as the number of people online grows from 2 billion in 2010 to 5 billion by 2020, says X PRIZE Foundation CEO Peter Diamondis. Biotechnology, especially synthetic biology, will see a huge increase in innovation, Diamondis says, pointing to the food production implications of Craig Venter's recent discovery of a way to raise photosynthesis efficiency 300 percent.
Computational systems enable researchers to model almost anything from any location using cloud computing, and networks and sensors offer immense volumes of data that can be mined for unlimited discoveries. Artificial intelligence and robotics will also have a profound impact on innovation, Diamondis says. Digital manufacturing in the form of 3-D printing will enable consumers to print whatever they want whenever they want, altering global manufacturing.
Another field that will be transformed through innovation is medicine, with technology such as handheld mobile devices capable of immediately diagnosing illnesses. Meanwhile, in nanotechnology, Diamondis says efforts are underway to increase battery energy and power storage densities 300 percent to 500 percent.
From The Wall Street Journal
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