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The Future and Challenges of Technology for  the Prosperity and Well-Being of the World. Michael Lightner, PhD 2005 IEEE President-Elect CONFIEP 2005 August 9 Lima, Peru. Welcome and Disclaimer. It is an honor to be here and I thank Our wonderful hosts and

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the future and challenges of technology for the prosperity and well being of the world

The Future and Challenges of Technology for  the Prosperity and Well-Being of the World

Michael Lightner, PhD

2005 IEEE President-Elect


August 9

Lima, Peru

welcome and disclaimer
Welcome and Disclaimer
  • It is an honor to be here and I thank
    • Our wonderful hosts and
    • You for taking time to meet with us
  • I am not an economist, finance specialist or social scientist
    • However, I will talk about aspects of these areas
  • I am not an expert on all areas of engineering
    • However I will talk about various areas
  • The positions and points I discuss are personal and not the view or policy of IEEE
  • What technology offers
  • Emerging Technologies
  • Historical Context and Current data
  • Challenges
what technology offers
What Technology Offers
  • Possibilities
    • Doing things differently, better
  • Improving standards of living
    • Power, water, food, health, community
  • HOPE
    • For a better world, better future
  • However, technology CANNOT deliver on any of these
    • Technology together with business, government, society, MAY be able to deliver
  • The promise of technology, unlike the promise of science, lives, breathes, succeeds and fails within the fabric of our socio-economic systems
    • If this is ignored nothing is achieved
emerging technologies
Emerging Technologies
  • Before we examine the difficult issues raised in the last slide
  • Let us examine some emerging technologies
    • Something engineers love to do
emerging technologies1
Emerging Technologies
  • 10 Emerging Technologies That Will Change Your World — Technology Review's pick 10 emerging technologies that will affect our lives and work in revolutionary ways, whether next year or next decade.
    • Universal Translation
    • Synthetic Biology
    • Nanowires
    • Bayesian Machine Learning
    • T-Rays
    • Distributed Storage
    • RNA Interference
    • Power Grid Control
    • Microfluidic Optical Fibers
    • Personal Genomics

Source: Technology Review, Feb 2004

emerging technologies2

Biotechnology, biomedical, microfluidics (lab on a chip), pharmaceuticals, protein engineering, systems biology, biology

Design engineering

Computer aided design, design automation, microtechnology, semiconductor technology, semiconductors, chip design


Internet, Web, global sharing and processing of information


Communications (WiFi), mobile technology, radio frequency communications, wireless, wireless and mobile devices



Computer (PDA, handheld), organic display technology, Interconnectivity of products


low power technologies, photovoltaics (power), power electronics, energy products


Computer systems reliability, embedded systems, question answering systems (search technology)

Data storage technology


Cryptography, privacy wrt information gathering, surveillance technology



Emerging Technologies

Sources: IEEE Spectrum, Nov 2004 , “Most important technology for the next decade” and “10 tech companies for next decade”; Trend Consortium, Sep 2004, “24-month future scan: technologies that will impact business over the next two years”; and Business 2.0, Sep 2004, “Seven new technologies”

10 emerging technologies that will change your world
Airborne Networks

Quantum Wires

Silicon Photonics


Magnetic Resonance Force Microscopy

Universal Memory

Bacterial Factories


Cell Phone Viruses


“10 Emerging Technologies that will change your world”

Technology Review May 2005

  • Combines robotics with the nervous system to make artificial limbs work like the real thing
  • Microprocessors & sensors monitor user’s gait
universal memory
Universal memory
  • Nanotubes make ultradense data storage possible
  • Within 20 years you will put all the DVDs ever made on your laptop
bacterial factories
Bacterial Factories
  • Changing a microbe’s metabolism could yield a cheap malaria drug
  • Reduces the cost of treatment to < 25 cents
  • Understanding cell metabolism is leading to new methods of treating major diseases such as cancer
  • May also lead to major tools for environmental clean-up and toxic waste management
quantum wires
Quantum wires
  • Wires spun from carbon nanotubes could carry electricity farther & more efficiently
  • Might transform the electrical power grid
historical context
Historical Context
  • It is important to examine how major technological changes impacted the world
  • We will use the work of Carlota Perez, ‘Technological Revolutions and Financial Captial’, 2003, Elgar Publishing, as a basis.
    • The following figures/data are from this book
    • Related to the Schumpeterian school of invention and innovation
  • Next we will look at various demographic trends and finally move to the challenges for today
perez s model
Perez’s Model
  • Points to specific countries for initial development, then slower diffusion
  • Previous revolutions were set in a much less global economy
    • Consider the ‘world is flat’ phenomena reported by Thomas Friedman
  • We don’t know if the model will hold in a much more distributed technical and financial environment
  • Of course, the question is, what will be the next big ‘age’? (nano/bio/cognitive?)
    • The real question is whether there may be more than one in the global environment
perez s model1
Perez’s Model
  • We are concerned with global impact and prosperity
  • The installation phase does NOT provide for global dissemination
    • It is concentrated in small number of countries
  • The deployment phase and the end of the era is when we can expect the developing countries to gain from the new technologies/technical revolution
  • One concern in examining this type of macroeconomic model is that we lose sight of the improvements that can be made today by easy technical improvements
aspects of current environment
Aspects of Current Environment
  • Technology diffusion
  • Population demographics
  • Four Countries Economists Watch
  • Job predictions
rate of technological change years for the technology to spread to a quarter of the u s population
Rate of Technological Change(years for the technology to spread to a quarter of the U.S. population )

Source: National Innovation Initiative

world population 1950 2050
World Population: 1950-2050
  • The planet's population continues to explode: from 2.6 billion in 1950, to 6.2 in 2002 and 9.1 billion in 2050
  • Less developed countries (LDCs) dominate the list of the world's ten most populous countries and will drive population growth for the next five decades. LDCs in Asia and Oceania excluding India and China are expected to be more populous than any other region by 2050.
  • The largest percentage increase in population size over the next five decades is projected to occur in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau - Population Division, International Programs Center, International Data Base

population for selected countries
Population for Selected Countries

In 2002, China is the most populous country in the world and India, the second most populous. India gains population rapidly and eclipses China in total population in 2037.

Half of the world’s more developed countries (MDCs), including those in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, are expected to experience population declines over the next 50 years. The United States is the only MDC expected to be among the ten most populous countries in 2050.

MDCs will experience aging populations, while LDCs will have a “youth bulge.” Nearly 50% of the world’s population could be less than 18 years old by 2020.

Median age(2002-03)










Source: U.S. Census Bureau - Population Division, International Programs Center, International Data Base

countries economist watch
Countries Economist Watch
  • Brazil
  • Russia
  • India
  • China
  • Possessing large and well-developed agricultural, mining, manufacturing and service sectors, Brazil's economy outweighs that of all other South American countries and is expanding its presence in world markets
  • An industrial power with the largest population in Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Brazil has made big strides in reducing social and economic inequality, which are both cause and consequence of the poverty that continues to afflict millions of people in the country
  • With one of the largest hydropower sectors in the world, Brazil is a country for the future
    • But the country's energy infrastructure needs some repair
  • The bulk of foreign direct investment in Brazil is going into banking, electricity, and telecommunications
  • An emerging-market economy that manages to produce more than 200,000 science grads a year
    • Students are well-trained in computer science, physics, mathematics, and engineering. Growing numbers are being snapped up by some of the world's biggest tech companies.
    • One of Russia's surprising survival stories is the resurgence of the country's once-superb, State-funded scientific education system.
    • Russia's universities and scientific institutes are slowly adapting to the harsh realities of a market economy, by tapping private funding and research contracts and forming partnerships with international heavyweights such as Intel, IBM, and Cisco Systems. Meanwhile, enrollment in science courses is rising once again.
  • Government spending on science is up by 90% since 1998, although it remains a fraction of what it was under communism. Meanwhile, private finance now makes up around 45% of all research funding.
  • Intel already employs 500 Russian engineers at research centers in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Nizhny Novgorod, and plans to recruit 500 more this year

Source: Business Week, August 2004

  • Low salaries are a problem
    • A postdoctoral researcher at Okayama University in Japan would earn $3,700 a month in Japan, while an assistant professor in Russia collects a mere $100 a month; practitioners earn less
  • Even with large number of student graduates, almost two-thirds of Russia's scientists are over 40
    • If current trends continue, 42% will be over 60 by 2010

Output of Degree Level Engineering and IT Professionals in India

(In thousands)

  • GDP growth rate is among the fastest in the world, and investment, both domestic and foreign, contributes over 20%of GDP.
  • India is in the midst of a demographic transition with a rising proportion of its population of ‘working age’ (15-59 years).
  • The country is known for software development and growth in knowledge-based industries, as well as a center for the outsourcing of services.


IT professionals

Source: National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASCOM)

other information on india
Other Information on India
  • India is capitalizing on its large numbers of well-educated people skilled in the English language to become a major exporter of software services and software workers.
  • India has more than 250 universities (over 900 colleges) and engineering colleges providing computer education at the degree/diploma level.
    • The output of trained engineering and IT human power increased since 1985, reached 130,000 in 2000 and is estimated at 300,000 in 2004
other information on india1
Other Information on India
  • Global technology companies, including Intel, Microsoft, Cisco Systems and Samsung Electronics are increasingly turning their India operations into centers for research and development (R&D)
  • The companies are taking advantage of the high-level engineering skills and the innovative working capabilities in India. They are investing to expand their R&D centers. [India Business Insights Dec 2004]
    • Microsoft has opened its 28-acre campus in Hyderabad and intends to open a research campus in Bangalore in 2005
    • Intel's development center in Bangalore has 2,400 professionals.
    • SSA Global is planning to invest $12 million during Jan-Sep 2005 in its Hyderabad R&D hub
    • Samsung Electronics has two R&D centers in Bangalore and Noida.
  • China has come of economic age [Business Week Online, Nov 2004]
  • China's total volume of imports and exports will reach $1 trillion in 2004. [The Journal of Commerce, Sept 20, 2004]
  • China's strong economic growth is driven by a continuing surge in foreign direct investment. Today, more than 400 of the world's 500 biggest companies have a China presence. [Institutional Investor, Sept 2004]
  • China’s educational system—according to it’s Ministry of Education— has:
    • 1,984 higher education institutes
    • 3.35 million higher education students with an additional 270,000 enrolled for post-graduate study
    • 400,000 Chinese nationals studying overseas
  • China’s use of electronic media has exploded. In 1997, 620,000 people in China had Internet accounts and in 2002 that figure stood at 59.1 million. This puts China second in the world for Net connectivity. China may pass the United States in the number of Internet users within two years; it already leads the world in cell phone users.
other information on china
Other Information on China
  • China's booming domestic private companies have become the backbone of the country's science and technology industry as their numbers and assets increase
  • China overtook the United States in 2003 as the top global recipient of foreign direct investment
  • Google, Yahoo!, and eBay have all made recent acquisitions in China, and all are looking to boost growth in a region where the upside is huge compared to their home markets.
  • Every tech company with global ambitions knows that it will wind up being either a partner with China's emerging tech sector or else its rival
  • Following a boom in domestic sales of telecommunications equipment, Chinese companies are focusing on the development of their foreign operations and becoming a major player in the European and North American markets
comments on the bric
Comments on the BRIC
  • From the perspective of the Perez model these countries are working in the deployment phase of various technologies - taking advantage of golden ages.
  • They are not the grounds for a new revolution
  • Next technological revolution may have disruptive impact on their infrastructure
  • Consider South Korea
    • Acknowledged leader in cloning technology, but not on the typical shorter term economic watch list
u s employment projections 2002 2012
U.S. Employment Projections:2002- 2012

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, projects future job growth by industry and occupation. The 10-year projections were published in the February 2004 issue of Monthly Labor Review. The BLS projections are based on assumptions of economic growth and model-based findings that connect the past to the future.

Projections for engineers, scientists and computer-related occupations of interest to the IEEE are covered in the following two slides.

projected u s occupational growth for selected categories 2002 2012
Projected U.S. Occupational Growth for Selected Categories: 2002-2012

(% Change)

Computer occupations


Three of the 10 fastest growing occupations are computer-related occupations. Network systems and data communications analysts will grow 57% and software engineering occupations (applications and systems software) will grow 46%.

Engineering occupations are projected to grow 7% with environmental engineers being the fastest growing (38%) followed by biomedical engineers (26%). Electrical and electronics engineering jobs and computer hardware engineering jobs are each projected to grow 6%.

Life and physical scientists

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,

projected u s occupational growth for selected categories 2002 20121
Projected U.S. Occupational Growth for Selected Categories: 2002-2012

(Growth in Numbers, in Thousands)

Computer occupations


Computer systems analysts will add 184,000 jobs and software engineers (applications) will add 179,000. These are among the occupations with the largest projected numerical job growth between 2002 and 2012. About 17,000 EE jobs and 5,000 computer engineering jobs will be added over the next decade.

Life and physical scientists

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,

major point
Major Point
  • These projections miss a major point
  • The number of electrical and computer engineering jobs as well as information science jobs to be created in the next SEVEN years in the U.S. is less than the number of graduates in these areas in India and China THIS year.
  • We all believe that technology can generate potential solutions to major global problems
  • HOWEVER, for the technical solutions to actually impact the lives of people we need the interaction and synergy of
    • Global companies
    • Economic systems - globally interrelated
    • Standards - global
    • Technical creations - global
    • Social systems
    • National governments
  • In technology we often talk about the multi-/trans-disciplinary nature of modern day engineering
  • In fact, it is MUCH more complicated
  • Engineering lives and succeeds within a socio-economic system that is becoming completely global
  • Engineers need to partner in a much more complicated and synergistic way with the other key players in order to make sure that the promise of engineering becomes a reality
  • You cannot be a cog in a machine
    • You are part of the solution
  • Partner with government, business, academics
  • This is the power of technical entrepreneurship and the way to create a technical revolution
  • It is the key to HOPE for the serious problems facing the world today