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The 10 Most Fascinating And Provocative If Not Alarming Technology Trends

December 19, 2013

By Mark P. Mills

Every year-end is a time for reflection and looking forward. And for generating lists of top tens worst videos, greatest moments, best cars, biggest lies, etc. My favorite lists involve technology, and in particular thinking about associated social, economic, cultural and ethical implications.

IBM probably gets the prize for the lamest list with their just released annual year-end "5 in 5" trends. It's what they call "the five innovations that will change our lives in the next five years." IBM's experts tell us that:

  • Classrooms will "learn you"
  • The retail trend is back to local bricks-and-mortar
  • There will be an increased use of DNA testing by physicians to cure your ills.
  • You'll have your own digital security protection.
  • Smart phones will make cities easier to live in.

Yes, IBM's list has important implications and it is accurate. But given the torrid pace of technology change now underway, the 5-in-5 seems oh-for-five in deep insights or excitement.

Then there are the tech lists such as those from Popular Science for example, which are a lot of fun but are more focused on specific products and gee-whiz trends.

If you want to fire up your neurons here at year-end, I recommend reading over the now annual release of "emerging ethical dilemmas and policy issues in science and technology" from the University of Notre Dame's Reilly Center. (Full disclosure, I'm on the Center's Advisory Board and though I wish I could take credit for it, I had no input on the list.)

Even though the list from Notre Dame is more provocative than IBM's, each and every technology has already been demonstrated or deployed. So while for the uninitiated some of the following may seem like science fiction, there is the old adage that "truth is stranger than fiction." In fact, much of what's on this list has inspired novels and movies. And the Reilly team has helpfully provided links to articles and resources to dig deeper into each domain's state of affairs.

Following, the Reilly top 10 along with a sampling of their associated ethical questions posed.

Original Source:



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