Relatively speaking, seventy-five years is a mere blink of history’s eye. Yet since 1930, when this writer drew his first breath, the world has given rise to an enormous amount of innovation and technological wizardry. Just three-quarters of a century ago, there were no safe and effective antibiotics; in fact, my own mother died of a routine infection while giving birth to her last child.
Jet travel did not exist in 1930; a five-day ocean trip was the main way to go from America to Europe, and “wireless” meant the wood-paneled Zenith radio in the living room. Since then, our mastery of the physical and biological world has grown tremendously. Life expectancy has soared, the Green Revolution transformed agriculture, and we now feed a global population that, at six billion and counting, has tripled since 1930. We’ve walked on the moon, created the Internet, and unraveled the genome.
Thanks to these and countless other advances, worker output has increased an average of 2% per year since 1930. So a fair question would be; “will the next 75 years bring the same sort of exciting and radical innovations”? The answer is no – it will produce much more. Today’s future is advancing exponentially – each year, the rate of increase accelerates. In fact, experts predict we could see more advances in the next 15 years than was experienced during the entire twentieth century.
Many of today’s medical research goals could become reality by the following dates:
2008. Gold nanoshells successfully destroy most tumors.
2010. DNA scans determine precise medical responses required to meet unique needs of each person’s genetic shortcomings.
2012. Cloned tissues and organs replace worn body parts with new, younger ones.
2014. Nobody suffers pain and death from cancer anymore.
2015. Medical productivity advancements make cutting-edge breakthroughs available immediately to everyone.
2018. Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart disease, and most other illnesses; gone.
2020. Nanorobotics deliver drugs, clean arteries, and repair the heart, brain, and other organs without surgery.
Most experts put great stock in this future. A recent panel convened by the U.S. Department of Defense concluded that nanorobotics would arrive by 2020. “Medical applications include machines that travel through the bloodstream supplementing the natural immune system; cell-herding that stimulates rapid healing; and cell-repair robots that perform genetic surgery”.
Robert A. Freitas Jr., Senior Scientist at Zyvex, a leading nano research Firm believes that, “when nanorobotics become reality, it will not stop at eliminating disease; it will actually improve on nature. Bones would become stronger; ears could recognize high-pitched sounds, and muscles could become more powerful”.
In addition, Freitas says, “this potential draws the curtain on one of the most dramatic possibilities of all: eliminating aging. Most scientists believe aging results from cell malfunctions. Thus, if nanorobotics can correct cellular problems, middle-aged and even elderly people should be able to regain most of their youthful health, strength and beauty, and enjoy an almost indefinite extension of life”.
The hope and dream of forward-thinkers all around the world, is that our “magical future” will unfold on this aggressive schedule, allowing most people alive today to experience its many miracles.