Monday, November 21, 2011

The Next Ten Years

Jack Dikian
November 2011

One of my life long friends recently had a baby boy. Three months on the conversation often turns to how the world might be like when he’s old enough to go to school. Will he own an iPhone 7X (or rather an iPhone 7S) and will Google be his search engine of choice.

I sometimes think about where we were ten years ago. The state of technology, trends in consumer electronics, and of course you will recall we were obsessed with the millennium bug. I know a few people who even avoided flying at the turn of the millennium – worrying that an uncorrected subroutine in some obscure code arising from an earlier technology might result in disaster.

As we enter the second decade of the twenty first century many before me have looked into the murky crystal ball trying to foretell what might be in store. I think as the debate over climate change precipitates around consensus and more tangible metrics we can be assured that, increasingly, plausible and economically viable ways will be found to tinker with the environment

Increased political and social pressure will only move us towards more sustainable energy sources, and more and more of us will consciously alter our energy consumption habits.

Ever since Frederick Sanger devised the chain-termination method for sequencing DNA molecules (a genus of an idea) allowing long stretches of DNA to be rapidly and accurately sequenced, our ability to map the the entire human genome was that much closer to becoming a reality.

In 2007, James Watson’s genome was sequenced in 2 months, at a cost of $2 million. In 2009, Complete Genomics were sequencing personal genomes at less than $5000. Soon many of us may want our genomes downloaded onto our laptops. It is entirely possible that a growing market for personal genetic information will arise as well as a growing number of businesses looking to capitalize on the data.

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