1950-2050 Technology Benefits, Costs, Choices

In decade from last year of World War II, physics based nuclear energy went from atomic bombs to electricity to power our homes, offices and factories. With a couple months and a few miles in 1947 electricity also became catalyst for transistor and computer which were melded within a decade to launch a digital revolution that underlay the technology advances of communications since.. And in 1953 Crick and Watson extended our knowledge of life and biochemistry by explaining DNA and unraveling its double helix, setting us on the path to a life sciences revolution.

In this course, we will identify how these streams of technology coalesced into the life sciences and digital advances on which much of life today is based. Our approach will be to understand how this evolved and assess the costs and benefits of such titanic changes in aspects of life such as: energy, transportation, communications, food and health. Along the way we will review how government policy, laws and regulations influenced these technologies and how they are used everyday in education, work, entertainment, commerce, construction and production.

We will use all this as a base as indicated in the course Syllabus to conclude with a discussion of which current as well as newly evolving technology possibilities should be restricted, promoted and regulated, as well as how and why.


1950-2050 Technology Benefits, Costs, Choices

A century of actual and upcoming potential technology changes is evaluated from the perspective of past costs and benefits as well as choices on both existing technologies. This is within the framework of changes as they effect or threaten or improve everyday life.

To better understand costs, benefits, risks and opportunities of past technologies that have been adopted or rejected, a review of critical fields of technology in the areas of energy, transportation, communications, food and health will be summarized in the first five class sessions. Each week this will be basis for discussion of what we might expect from technologies in century from 1950-2050 which have been or might be adopted. What can be learned from past regarding costs and benefits as well as how life and jobs were affected should help to better assess changes in those five fields we face today.

Conclusions should lead to views on whether individuals have choices in using new technologies as well as whether trying to influence use of new technologies should extend to others, who make want to make different choices. Class 6 will center on how daily life has been changed today as a result of recent technologies. It will also assess similar life changes in past eras such as 1865+ Industrialization and Industrial Revolution from 1700's that underlay shift from emphasis on rural to city factory life in developed countries.

Class 7 will summarize the silicon based digital and life science technologies and how they will evolve and be integrated as we look ahead to technologies likely to be possible by mid 21st century. Finally in the concluding week 8 class, the discussion will focus on how we should make choices on upcoming technology applications as well as alter, regulate or support technologies we rely on every day.



1950-2050 Technology: Outline and Syllabus

1950-2050 Technology: Bibliographical Resources

1. Slides and Highlights - Energy

2. Slides and Highlights - Transportation

3. Slides and Highlights - Communications

4. Slides and Highlights - Food and Nutrition

5. Slides and Highlights- Health and Wellness

6. Slides and Highlights- Technology Life Changes Past and Present

7. Slides and Highlights- Digital and Life Sciences Technologies

8. Slides and Highlights- Technology Choices to 2050

Website Links for Background Information on Course Topics

Breakthrough Industry Timelines

Other Industry Timelines

Technology Timelines

Inventors Hall of Fame Summary

Inventors Hall of Fame Detail

US Business Innovators

US Innovators, Builders, Business Hall of Fame

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