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I was rereading a section of when I ran across this:

"For that matter, many new areas of study go through a phase of being seen as an all-curing tool; remember when AI was going to change the world? Or biotech? Or e-business?"

Know what?

We are currently in a world full of ai. It isn't the talking self aware AI that many people think of when they talk about AI, but it is AI none the less, and it is/has transformed the world. I suspect that from the view point of history, the last thirty years and maybe the next ten will be seen as a huge shift in the world and one that occured much faster than the industrial revolution.

Biotech? Biotech is just beginning to be felt, but it has already made itself known. We grow a fair number of our drugs in vats already. Ice Minus is quietly used on crops across the world in conjunction with weather satelites (another application of AI) to make various frost sensitive crops more viable. BGH and HGH have had their own impacts. There is a race going on right now between the microbiologists and the chemists to be the first one out the gates with the next metal concentration technology (currently the microbiologists are winning. But then they were able to find what they needed in nature, often at the very sites that needed them.) Superfund sites and oil spills are currently being cleaned up in part by the products of biotech. The EU's (and the green/environmental movement's) complete and unresonable rejection of GM crops is going to turn around and bite them in their collective asses as the years go on. By their reasoning, we ought to pull peanuts off the market because a bunch of folks are deathly allergic to them. (If they were pro-GM they'd be in a position to kill the negativeest aspects of the tech, mainly the kill switch genes, though at least the EU has been particularly stupid about IP issues to date, and the herbicide resistance genes. Instead they are seen as the enemies by the people doing the work with the biggest potential to make the world green again.) New Biotech crops are doing neat things like cutting the cycle time (and thus acerage) needed by the timber industry to grow various types of wood and adding needed vitamins to staple crops in regions where malnutrition is still the biggest problem facing the population.

E-commerce? Who knows where that will go. It won't fizzle, but it may not be a real revolution on its own. (When crossed with AI though...)

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