Kevin Jacobson

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What Do You Think Is going to be the Most Beneficial or Damaging Technological Breakthrough in the Next 30 Years?

Humanity may have it's flaws. But we are also headed for some major achievements that will forever change the human race. However, new tech can sometimes lead to horror. Kind of like how now that the atomic bomb has been invented, we have to worry about terrorists utilizing designer atomic devices. This is intended to sort of continue my "Biggest Technological Challenge" Question.

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    Jul 26 2012: I believe the most beneficial technology over the next 30 years might be Dean Kamen’s Slingshot device, which can generate 100 liters of clean water daily from any source. Access to clean water remains the fundamental barrier to human achievement.
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    Jul 17 2012: After going through this question , it makes me wonder whether we should still be greedy for more gadgets but nevertheless technologies are going to happen .... I think , scientists/engineers are proactive enough to think about the risks on various products they create and make them as secure as possible ...
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    Jul 14 2012: In 1980, we laugh at computers playing chess but today no one can beat them. In 2040, we will not be able to compete with them in any mental production. If we all were the owners of this gain, it would be for the better but if not then who needs it?
  • Jul 14 2012: Beneficial: A.I.
    Damaging: Direct media streaming. Propaganda being released before it can be corrected. Mass production of books, movies, TV shows, etc. that employ unnecessary scare tactics against things like A.I.
  • Jul 13 2012: Most Beneficial: Fusion power.

    Most Damaging: Either Nanotechnology or Genetic tampering; they both have horrendous possibilities, along with amazing benefits.
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      Jul 13 2012: The only problem with fusion is that commercial reactors won't be online until at least the mid 2050's.
    • Jul 14 2012: Nanotech and Genetic Tampering damaging? I don't know what sic-fi books you have been reading my friend, but nanobots are far more than 30 years away, and they will be nothing like they were in Prey, I assure you. As for genetic tampering, it will be no more of an issue than stem-cell research was. I can't even think of anything horrendous about either of them.
      • Jul 16 2012: Pollution from nanotechnology is already a problem. How do you keep control of something so tiny? Nanotechnology extends far beyond nanobots.

        When the rich start using genetic tampering to make their children smarter, and mistakes are made, I can guarantee you that it will make the stem-cell issue look like a minor family disagreement.

        The people who are already tampering with the genes for our food supply have offered us all of the same assurances that the nuclear engineers gave us at the beginning of the nuclear age. Genetic tampering will have its Chernobyl.
  • Jul 12 2012: Nanotechnology. Not sure it is there in the next 30 years though...
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    Jul 12 2012: Personally, I believe it is going to be the miniaturization of atomic bombs. Atomic bombs are going to get so simple and so small, that terrorists for sure make use of them.
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      Jul 16 2012: That may be true of dirty bombs where the nuclear material is used as a poison, but a propper nuclear explosive requires a critical mass and asociated mechanics and electronics. So far the smallest functional devices weigh around 100 pounds. They will fit in a back pack but the weight would attract attention. The problem is for small bombs the fissile material needs to be more concentrated, so high tech is required. Terrorists are more low tech. Its hard to have a secret nuclear reactor and purification facility. They're big and hard to hide.
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        Jul 17 2012: Not necessarily. You see, if you heat uranium into a molten state, you can spin it rapidly and the fissile uranium 235 will rise to the top and the fertile uranium 238 will remain on the bottom. This could be done in a garage just because of how simple the process is. A gun type atomic device would be a difficult but achievable undertaking for a terrorist. Plus, if they don't have the means to enrich Uranium them selves, they can always find a way to smuggle fissile material.
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          Jul 17 2012: The process of enrichment is simple but the equipment is very specific. The US tracks the production and distribution of the specific alloy that the centrifuge tubes are made from. That was part of the reason they went into Iraq. Saddam had tubes made from the right alloy to use in an enrichment centrifuge. You might be able to get some on the black market but remember the stuff you use in a bomb is 10x more concentrated than the stuff you put in a reactor. Fully enriched fuel rods are still only 10% U235