Drawing from a variety of sources during the course of these past four weeks, I've distilled the information I've gathered regarding major trends (industries and technologies) down to my favorite five, each of which which I believe is going to be booming during the next five years, and each of which warrants careful observation, as well as some business and investment planning. But, of course, I do not offer any investment, financial, legal, health or tax advice.
One thing that all of these giant industry and technological trends have in common is that they are each already significantly underway. They are all gaining momentum. Quickly.
1. Nanotechnology, Nanotubes And Cardiovascular Pipecleaning.
Big Think Daily Ideafeed 15 October 2011
|BIOTECH REVOLUTION |
Microscopic Robots in Your Bloodstream
|Engineers have used carbon nanotubes to create artificial muscle that moves like an elephant's trunk, which could be used to propel microscopic nanobots through the bloodstream.|
2. Stem Cells, Computers and LIFE.
Researchers grow partial pituitary gland using stem cells
Japanese researchers used embryonic stem cells to grow partial pituitary glands, then transplanted the tissue in the kidneys of mice without pituitary glands. The transplanted tissue returned hormone levels to normal, according to the study published in Nature. The initiative is part of a worldwide effort to grow complete organs in a lab setting using stem cells. The Guardian (London) (12/4)...
And there's much more:
What's the Latest Development? [From BigThink's Idea Newsletter] - Computer Printer-Assisted Bone Regrowth.
3D printers have been used to create bone-like material which researchers say could aid in repairing injuries. The new material would act like scaffolding, promoting the growth of new cells and then dissolve away with no ill-effects. Professor Susmita Bose, who helped carry out the work at Washington State University, has been at work on the material for four years. A breakthrough came recently when she found a way to double the strength of the main ceramic powder—calcium phosphate—by adding silica and zinc oxide.
What's the Big Idea?
Within just a few years, doctors could use the printing technique to custom-order replacement of bone tissue. "Tests carried on immature foetal bone cells in the laboratory found that new bone cells started growing over the scaffold within the first week of it being attached." Dr. Bose predicts that within a decade or two, doctors will be able use artificial bone from 3D printers as scaffolds, along with bone growth factors, to repair anything from a broken jaw to a broken spine.
Photo credit: shutterstock.com
3. Video Surveillance, Mobile Tracking and RFID
- Retailers use RFID, security cameras to track buying habits
Retailers are using in-store video cameras and RFID tags to track buying habits of their customers. The data are used to improve inventory and display positions to prompt customers to buy more. "Before we were just working based on certain know-how and intuition. This is designing a retail business based on real statistics," said Montblanc brand manager Rodrigo Fajardo. Bloomberg Businessweek (12/15)
- Malls use cellphone location data to track shoppers
Malls in California and Virginia have begun using cellphone signals to track the locations of shoppers. The malls use the tools to triangulate shoppers' locations based on their cellphone signals as part of a trial that runs through the end of the year. Forest City, which owns the malls, says it is not collecting any data that could identify a shopper, though experts say the data could be paired with other sources of information to target offers. Some experts, however, have raised questions about the legality of such tracking. Ars Technica (11/26)
4. An Increase In The Number Of Prisons, Prisoners, Privatization Of Facilities, And Incarceration-Related Employment - Prisons Are One Of The Largest Domestic Growth Industries In The USA.
December 21, 2011 by Bob Livingston
America has come to be more like North Korea than the America our fathers grew up in. The United States is not a country descending into totalitarianism. Totalitarianism, the police state, is here.
There are more than 2.3 million people in American prisons.
According to a recent study in the journal Pediatrics and reported in USAToday, one in three Americans will be arrested by the time they are 23. That’s up from 22 percent of youths that age 44 years ago.
Crimes leading to arrest in this age group range from truancy and vandalism to shoplifting and underage drinking to assault and murder. Criminologist Megan Kurlychek told the newspaper that localities handled many minor offenses more informally 40 years ago than they do now.
“Society is a lot less tolerant of these teenage behaviors,” she said.
In fact, it’s not just teenage behaviors society is not tolerating. Now elementary school children are charged with sexual assault over innocent hugs and kisses and assault when they get into fights on school grounds.
And with drug laws criminalizing possession of as little marijuana as a seed or stem, it’s easy to understand why there are more than 2.3 million people in American prisons.
According to a 2008 study by the Pew Center on the States, one in 100 Americans is behind bars. For blacks, the statistics are staggering. One in 15 black men aged 18 or older is behind bars. For blacks ages 20 to 34, the number is one in nine. Black women are three times more likely to be incarcerated than white women.
America’s rate of incarceration far outpaces countries like South Africa and Iran. For every 100,000 Americans, 750 are in jail. In Germany the rate is only 93 per 100,000.
In America, people can be fined and/or imprisoned for simply taking raw milk across State lines, selling “unapproved” rabbits, or uprooting a plant or draining a pond on their own property.
Now, Congress has passed and the President has signed legislation that designates America a battlefield in the War on Terror and subjects Americans to indefinite incarceration without a hearing.
Face it: America is now a prison Nation. And with America’s penchant for militarism and her people’s fondness of orators, Herr Hitler would feel right at home. ####
The profits and possibilities for companies in the building and management of prisons are promising. They'll be job opportunities for returning soldiers, retired law enforcement, and some local, but otherwise unskilled labor. And demand will continue to expand as the "Nation Of Regulation, Litigation And Incarceration" -- that's the United States...Land of the free/ Home of the brave -- continues to try to fuel a failing economy and an ever-increasing draconian system of punishment by A) locking up non-violent offenders and destroying families [leading to more crime] and B) giving non-productive jail-based jobs to anybody who is still outside of the prison (and is not an escapee) after the evening's lockdown.
5. Electroshock, Direct Computer-Brain Interaction And Virtual Reality To Enhance Learning Ability, Accompanied By A Renewed Interest In Subliminal Entrainment.
The following article excerpt appears courtesy of a slightly-dated but highly-relevant edition of BigThinks's Daily IdeaFeed. The article was every bit as stimulating (pun intended) as the slightly-Frakensteinian notion of using a highly-refined variant of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), a controversial treatment for schizophrenia, catatonia, and some forms of severe clinical depression in order to stimulate and accelerate learning (the assimilation of knowledge) as well as recall (the ability to rapidly access the assimilated knowledge), and intelligence (the ability to use assimilated knowledge to identify and solve problems -- putting it simply):
|BIOTECH REVOLUTION |
Mild Electric Shocks Speed Learning
|Running a mild electric current through the brain improves learning speed, according to Air Force researchers. The technique was used to teach personnel how to identify drone targets.|
Don't throw away those binaural and subliminal CDs. Keep Your Headphones. Entrainment [the creation of thoughts and emotions by inducing brain wave patterns through external means] will indeed be making a comeback, with improved targeting and precise technology. It is interesting to note that the brain tends to "pick up the rhythm' to certain patterned beats and sounds through an amazing process of mimicry. Whether this is done with headphones or electrodes, the possibilities are exciting, if not just a bit frightening. The ultimate result would be similar to Neo's crash course in, and rapid mastery of various styles of martial arts by immersion in a computer-simulated and controlled environment. Virtual reality is going to be an increasing preoccupation. Whether for education or recreation, the temptation of alternative realms is far too exciting to stay put.
Douglas E. Castle for THE GLOBAL FUTURIST