I attended a lecture by George Whiteside http://gmwgroup.harvard.edu/domino/html/webpage/homepage2.nsf/HOME yesterday entitled "The future of Science and Technology" in which he outlined what he thought was the best way to predict the world changing technologies of the future and the science involved. His idea in this admitadly (by him and me) very difficult task was that one should not try to think of a certain technology and then go to how it will be developed and then think about how it will be applied and then think about what the consequences will be. Instead he chose to think about some assumptions that we make about the world and then think about science and technology that has the potential to change those assumptions. He gave a list of 10 assumptions that he thought would end up being not so easy to classify as obviously true in the next 10 to 20 years. I list them here and wonder what people think about them changing the world. There is a lot of room for lee way here, but we can always start sub threads. 1. we are mortal telomere shortening 2. human life is invaluable expensive procedures vs. termination of life extended life spans and periods of fertility 3. all people are born equal prediction of performance (in society, against diseases, standardized tests...) through knowledge of a persons genes 4. animals and machines are different showed a picture of "robo roach" a roach that had a reciever interfaced with its brain and could be driven like a RC car 5. only living things think, we think best turing test and advances in AI and its use in society brought up a story (by Asimov I believe) about a telephone network starting to think after a certain number of connections had been achieved 6. earth will remain habitable earth (unlike mars and venus) is not in thermodynamic equilibrium, frequency of asteroid strikes, super bugs 7. nations are the most powerfull human institutions (his) personal story of being involved in a DOD war game where countries were grouped with huge corporations and surprise about how much this changed the outcome of a simulated conflict. 8. we are individuals and privacy is important the huge amount of data that is now in the public domain, and the way that it can be filtered, analyzed, and used to gather information on groups 9. we consult a limited number of experts for advice (Drs, lawyers, ...) example of web MD where patients can interact with large numbers of other patients. situation where a patient can walk into a Dr's office and know more about their affliction than the Dr. I was thinking of the blogging thats going on these days 10. capitalism is the most efficient economic system as was pointed out. errors in some of the initial theories about trickle down, long term stability. What science or technology (if any) do people think will change these assumptions?