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In 2020, areas of particular importance for technology trends will include biotechnology, nanotechnology, materials technology, and information technology. The authors of this report assessed a sample of 29 countries across the spectrum of scientific advancement (low to high) with respect to their ability to acquire and implement 16 key technology applications (e.g., cheap solar energy, rural wireless communications, genetically modified crops). The study’s major conclusions are that scientifically advanced countries such as the United States, Germany, and Japan will be able to implement all key technology applications evaluated; countries that are not scientifically advanced will have to develop significant capacity and motivation before barriers to technology implementation can be overcome; and public policy issues in certain areas will engender public debate and strongly influence technology implementation.

The hard copy of this report includes a CD-ROM, which contains further in-depth analyses of the study.

The research described in this report was prepared for the National Intelligence Council and was conducted by the RAND National Security Research Division (NSRD).

This report is part of the RAND Corporation monograph series. RAND monographs present major research findings that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND monographs undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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