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Technology touches almost every part of your life today. With technology comes change – change in the way people do things, change in the way machines work and change in how we think. Changes in technology took place very slowly before the Industrial Revolution. Now with so many new inventions and improvements on older inventions, change occurs faster than ever. Some people say our knowledge base (all the facts known to people today) is doubling every two to three years. When something changes, and keeps changing faster and faster, we call it an exponential rate of change. You can imagine how much knowledge there is now and how the knowledge base is growing.
How will technology shape your future? It’s hard to say for sure, but you can be sure that future technologies will make your life easier or more productive. That is why technology is here. Future technologies should also bring good changes that fit the environment and our needs. You may hear words such as genetic engineering or biotechnology, voice recognition, superconductivity, magnetic levitation, and artificial intelligence. These are all areas where technology is being put to use for the future. Some of them used to be considered science fiction. Now they are real. Here are brief descriptions of a few future technologies. Genetic Engineering or Biotechnology is the ability to design or redesign life forms. Developments in biotechnology or genetic engineering can lead to better production of food, prevention of disease, and improved medicines. Voice Recognition is a computer’s ability to react to a person’s voice. Instead of using a keyboard, you will give commands by voice. Superconductor is a material that loses all resistance to electricity, usually at low temperatures. This property is unusual because all materials have some resistance. Anything that uses electricity could benefit from this technology. Magnetic Levitation means trains that float above a magnetic field instead of using wheels on a track. Levitating trains reduce the friction made when two materials rub against each other. Levitation also makes it possible for trains to go over 300 miles per hour safely. Programming a computer to be able to reason through a problem as well as any person is called Artificial Intelligence. The computer would then be able to recognize problem situations and make the right decision. This means that the computer would be able to figure out what it needs to know on its own instead of being told!
Advancements in one field often lead to advancements in another field. In the future, you may find more robots replacing people in industry. In fact, many factories will be run totally by robots. As computers improve, so will robots. They will eventually be able to assemble products as well as make the parts. This means that people will have to be retrained to find other jobs.
People like you will have shorter working hours. Some people predict that the work week, which now averages around 40 hours per week, will be only half that in less than 50 years. What will you do with all your free time?
Manufacturing will be important in space, too. Factories on space bases will operate automatically. They will use natural materials from the space environment and will use solar energy for power. Space robots will perform well-defined tasks in some cases, but, with the improvement of artificial intelligence, robots will be more “intelligent.” They will be capable of making logic decisions and with robotic vision, will actually recognize different objects.
We live in an exciting age of rapid technology growth. Keeping up with this rapid growth doesn’t have to be frustrating. Learning about technology is fun! Technology is putting knowledge to use. You will learn that it is important to use your hands and your mind to solve problems.
Technology offers you the opportunity to explore the fascinating world in which you live.
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