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Saul Wall

The same could be said about the impact of material science. Technologies like carbon fiber molding are not new but new uses for they seem to pop up more and more often as it becomes cheaper and easier for individual inventors and craftsmen to work with them.

As well, while much of the debate about nanotech focuses on whether there will be tiny self reproducing machines, new means of creating new materials with novel properties are developed and used. It is easy to underestimate the impact of being able to make the parts of a product in a stronger, lighter or cheaper method.

Likewise with basic chemistry and other fields; the impacts of individual innovations are easy to miss.

But on the point of the impact of computing, I think that Google's recent efforts at combining automatic translation with intelligent information searches will have a massive impact on many different aspects of life. Currently someone who is bilingual who wants to find info needs to do a separate search in each language. Compare that situation to one where anyone can search for information in one language and if it was on a page in a different language the search would find it and translate the results. That may not be here tomorrow but it is one of those fields in which even small improvements can have major impacts. I recently went to a Hamas website aimed at kids and got the Google language tool to "translate" it. The results were not all that readable but it definitely gave you the understanding of what it was talking about. (The page that highlighted the "Martyr of the Week" and the informative article on the rockets that they were so proud of raining down on the Zionists; it was very informative in a disturbing way.) But then, keeping an eye on the terrorists is only one benefit. Having Arabic speakers being able to search for and view informations from other cultures despite the abysmal rate of literary translation for Middle Eastern markets (beyond Mein Kampf, Protocols... and works by Jimmy Carter) could have a far greater impact.

Paul Moore

As it always was, there will be big ideas that come to nothing, along with little things that change the world. I'm thinking now of the "air cars" and monorails that we were all expected to use by now, (at least, that's what we were promised in the 50's). Yet it was little things, like cell phones, that changed the way we live. The mower- bot sounds like a non- starter to me, unless the price drops dramatically. I mow my own acre. It's good exercise and costs me about $25 a year at today's gas prices.

jeffolie

The marketplace for technology adapts slowly and painfully.

For example, 70% of students in college are women. The focus of the marketplace is women in the kitchen and home entertainment. This will change.

Where is the marketplace for spanish speaking consumers with minimal education?

Cutting edge consumer technology has not penetraded the mass except for cell phones and TV's.

jeffolie

My nearly computer illiterate wife said Oh my God when she saw the iPhone ad on TV.

Cell phones are pure sugar to women.

Vista has reverse compatibility issues. It will NOT RUN lots of programs that run on XP.

jeffolie

Got a good deal with a $300 discount by Dell. I saved a little more by buying it loaded with XP.

Juno888

Likewise with basic chemistry and other fields; the impacts of individual innovations are easy to miss

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