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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.

This report is the companion to, and included as a CD-ROM with, The Global Technology Revolution 2020, Executive Summary: Bio/Nano/Materials/Information Trends, Drivers, Barriers, and Social Implications (Silberglitt et al., MG-475-NIC, 2006).

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Technology Applications and Their Effects

  • Chapter Three

    International Variation in Technology Applications and Implementation

  • Chapter Four


  • Appendix A

    Biotechnology, Bionanotechnology, and Biomedical Science Trends to 2020

  • Appendix B

    Nanotechnology Trends to 2020

  • Appendix C

    Materials Science and Engineering Trends to 2020

  • Appendix D

    Information Technology Trends to 2020

  • Appendix E

    Creating New Opportunities for Improving Existing Therapeutics: Nano-Enabled Drug Delivery Systems Trends Toward 2020

  • Appendix F

    Technology and Terrorism

  • Appendix G

    Sectoral Impacts of Technology Applications

  • Appendix H

    Index of Science and Technology Capacity

  • Appendix I

    2005 Freedom Rating for 29 Selected Countries

  • Appendix J

    HDI Rank, Scores, and Development Indicator Statistics for 29 Selected Countries

  • Appendix K

    Knowledge Assessment (Unweighted) for Selected Countries, Ranked by Innovation Scores

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

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