X-Message-Number: 14164
Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2000 17:11:57 EDT
Subject: Looking back at 21st century

I am often late, so I try to get some advance when I can :-)
I would give here a look at what we could see in the comming
century. This is a personal view, and I have no crystal ball to be
sure.  So this is as much a window on my way of thinking as
on the time to come. 

If I look back to the 20th century and ask myself : What was the
great discoveries and technologies, I would put quantum mechanics
and relativity in the discovery basket, but there was not much effect
on the day to day life. The big technologies was: concrete, Taylor
division of work (car production) and consummer credit. Computers,
biotechs and the like was too late to count.

From this past experience, what would I expect next?
In the transport domain, I think  high speed train could be included
in the car domain. In cities, a car would use electricity from
fuel cells or flywheel, on road, may be up to 50 - 100 miles, a gas
turbine or modern two strokes engine would take over. For longer
travels the car would be loaded on trains with motor on every boggies.
Using 3rd rail electricity feeding, the speed could be as high as 500mph.
 The driver would stay in the car so that the system is a door to door
integrated transport. Sorry, I don't see large use of flying car, even if
they are a technological possibility.

Balloons are the second winner.GPS-like systems alows rather simple
robotic flight and weather satellites free them from meteorological problems.
They could move house units from place to place and bring to them essential
products such fuel for fuel cells and water. With that system, even very
remote location could be attractive. Before the car, the choice was between
a bad life in the country or a not as bad life in the town. Now the choice
extends to the suburb, in fifty years it will include all the planet. What
about real estate in the Sahara or the Atacama ? Buying in the Australian
outback could be a good bet.

The real value of that exercise is here: To guess where will be to market
tomorow. Modern balloons have a very big economical potential because
they open the full planet surface to housing.

Yvan Bozzonetti.

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