BUSINESSWEEK ONLINE : AUG. 30, 1999 ISSUE: 21 IDEAS FOR THE 21st CENTURY

21 IDEAS CONTENTS


CONTENTS

INTRO

1 ENERGY

2 NATIONALISM

3 MANAGEMENT

4 NANOTECH

5 TIME

6 RELIGION

7 HUMANITY

8 ENVIRONMENT

9 COMMUNICATIONS

10 CITIES

11 BIOLOGY

12 ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

13 HEALTH

14 INTERNET

15 MONEY

16 DEMOGRAPHICS

17 POLITICS

18 EDUCATION

19 GENES

20 LIFESTYLE

21 QUANTUM COMPUTERS

A PERSONAL VIEW

A SCI-FI GUIDE

ONLINE ORIGINALS


We are offering 21 doors to the future and invite you to explore

INTRODUCTION

As humans, we're tempted to embrace a likely scenario and stick to it. But in these volatile times, the smart idea is to pursue multiple paths and not be afraid to change direction

ILLUSTRATION BY JOSEF ASTOR
1 ENERGY
I am your local power plant.

Most everybody has a personal turbine in the 21st century. They can run on palm oil or manure gas, keep things purring in the house, and if there's excess juice, you can sell it back to the grid
2 NATIONALISM
Should Kurdistan be a nation? Scotland? How about New York City?

Two forces that were supposed to unify the world are actually helping nations to splinter: The Internet and the global economy
3 MANAGEMENT
The global corporation becomes the leaderless corporation.

The trailblazing corporate superstar will become a thing of the past. And follow-the-leader is a game companies will no longer play. The path to success will be paved by teams made up of the best and the brightest, with their egos checked at the door
4 NANOTECH
Molecular machines aren't fantasy. Just ask the Pentagon.

In the 2020s, you may be able to buy a "recipe" for a PC over the Net, insert plastic and conductive molecules into your "nanobox," and have it spit out a computer
Video interview with Gerd Binnig, Research Director, IBM
5 TIME
The clocks ahead will have our own faces.

Unrooted living is spawning the timeless schedule--with restaurants simultaneously serving breakfast cereal and martinis because people's stomachs are running on different internal clocks
6 RELIGION
Religion will endure, affirming our vulnerability.

Science and religion will find some common ground. Scientists will ask the bigger questions about the origins and patterns of life on earth. And the faithful will accept materialist insights into the experiences of spiritual ecstasy, prayer, and healing
7 HUMANITY
The mind is immortal.

Soon, technology may have the power to track every waking moment of your life--and preserve it in a form that will allow your great-great-great grandchildren to quiz a virtual you
8 ENVIRONMENT
What if the forests were silent?

Conservationists believed they had succeeded in safeguarding the forests. But although trees and land have been secured, the animals are disappearing. More than a quarter of all extinctions, where blame can be attributed, have been caused by human hunters
9 COMMUNICATIONS
On the Net, music is the ultimate metaphor.

The Net will give us the chance to display our inner artists without having to wait for a record contract or big book deal. Videos, music, and literature will be online--and grandma won't be your only fan
10 CITIES
New neighborhoods can combat urban sprawl.

As the new century approaches, many Americans are disturbed by the fruits of the relentless expansion of the suburban frontier. Last November, voters passed more than two-thirds of 240 ballot initiatives to preserve open space or otherwise reshape development
11 BIOLOGY
Creatures on the fringe hold secrets of life.

During the next 10 years, scientists may discover startling information about the origin of life on our planet and the possibility of life elsewhere
12 ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
Machines will be smarter than we are.

Superbrains born of silicon will change everything. Previously intractable problems in science, engineering, and medicine will be a snap. Robots will rapidly displace humans from factories and farms
Video interview with Gerd Binnig, Research Director, IBM
13 HEALTH
The risk of disease will be treated as a disease.

Genetic testing will determine our predisposition to a particular illness. We will take pills to lower the risk. But the pills may have side effects. And there may be pressure--from insurance companies, even from employers--to take the preventive medicine even if we don't want to. Our chances of survival may be greater. The costs of survival may be as well
Video interview with Alexandra Heerdt, director of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center's special surveillance breast program
14 INTERNET
The earth will don an electronic skin.

Today, silicon networks look nothing like the brain, but nodes of the Internet have begun to function as neurons. Hundreds of thousands of PCs working in concert have already tackled complex computing problems. In the not-so-distant future, some scientists expect spontaneous computer networks to emerge, forming a "huge digital creature"
Video interview with Cherry Murray, head of Physical Research Lab, Bell Labs
15 MONEY
In the new financial cosmos, it will be safer to take a dare.

Imagine a market where hedgers and speculators meet to trade futures, similar to today's betting on the value of corn or soybeans. The wagering will concern the future value of a career, a neighborhood, or even a country. If the risk of a stick-your-neck-out choice is hedged, it's suddenly a whole lot easier to take the plunge
16 DEMOGRAPHICS
The 'little emperors' can save the world's aging population.

How will a shrunken generation of fewer, more pampered children worldwide support their retired elders? By using their extra education, ambition, and advantages to become more productive than those who came before them
17 POLITICS
Democracy goes direct--again.

In many ways, it's back to the 1830s. Candidates will canvass voters in their homes; citizens will question politicians in public forums. The big difference: It will all take place on the Internet. The danger: Net-based splinter groups could factionalize public life
18 EDUCATION
Kids were right all along: High school is obsolete.

Should kids head for college when they're 15 or 16? Some experts think so, and some kids agree. They argue that the last two years of high school just keep students in a holding pattern, when many are independent enough to be starting their advanced education
Video interview with Nathan Myrhvold, Chief Technology Officer, Microsoft
19 GENES
We'll have all the genetic pieces. Next, we'll assemble the jigsaw puzzle.

As biology's deepest mysteries are finally revealed, medicine will be the first beneficiary. New drugs that conquer Alzheimer's disease, vaccines to wipe out AIDS, and crops packing vaccines will be among the fruits of these discoveries
20 LIFESTYLE
The nomads shall inherit the airport lounge.

The 21st century belongs to the fleet of foot. Technology has not freed road warriors like John Gruetzner from the constraints of travel. It has freed him from staying at home
21 QUANTUM COMPUTERS
The toughest problems will be solved with a roll of the dice.

Physicists hope to use subatomic particles' imprecise nature to answer questions beyond the reach of today's computers
A PERSONAL VIEW
High-tech digitized music is fine, but it will never beat the real thing.

When a virtuoso pianist such as Vladimir Horowitz performs, we can identify with the human being behind the music. When a machine is making the music, that human connection is broken
A SCI-FI GUIDE
Astounding tales that might come true!

What high-tech marvels will materialize in the next 100 years? Science fiction is a wellspring of predictions for the next century. Drawing on predictions in the following 30 astounding tales, illustrator David B. Mattingly created this vision of the future
ONLINE ORIGINALS
Q&As, Web links, and video interviews

Additional online-only items found throughout this package are collected here.