Technology 200 years from now?

What would be cool to have?

What if we could shrink a peptide synthesis machine onto an implantable nanochip and wirelessly send it instructions to generate any sequence of peptides we wanted? If a pathogen mutates, maybe you could find something immunogenic on its surface, send the peptide sequence after figuring out what it is to the nanochip and have it synthesize the peptide which would hopefully be attacked by the immune system and help boost innate immunity. It would be like a virus software update for humans!
 

Ryan_m_b

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Let me get your idea straight: a pathogen is discovered, an appropriate antigen is determined, the sequence of this antigen is emailed to this nanochip* implant, the implant synthesises it conferring immunity? It seems all you have done here is slightly speed up vacination by having people synthesise the vaccine inside themselves rather than get it injected. Considering the risk involved in your proposal (how would cyberwarfare look if you could hack everyone's chip and infect them all with botulinum toxin?) and the ease of vaccination IRL I'm not seeing a positive cost/benefit ratio. What would really help in this field is technology that allows for cheap and rapid characterisation of antigens and technology allowing for cheap and rapid clinical testing (e.g. complex 3d tissue constructs). With the rise of mass transit, environmental infiltration, urbanisation and antibiotic resistance it will become increasingly important in the future to be able to identify and develop treatments and vaccines for infectious diseases.

From my point of view one "cool" thing to have in the future would be a socioeconomic model that guarantees the elimination of absolute poverty and ensures general prosperity in a sustainable manner. Get that right and we can breathe a sigh of relief before heading off to solve other problems.

*This may be a personal bugbear but gratuitous use of the nano- prefix is incredibly common and detracts from the actual discipline IMO by conveying no information other than "doesn't this sound sexy and futuristic?? Invest!"
 

phyzguy

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Predicting 200 years in the future is very, very difficult. Do you think George Washington could have forseen a man on the moon? Or Thomas Jefferson could have predicted cell phones?
 

Ryan_m_b

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Predicting 200 years in the future is very, very difficult. Do you think George Washington could have forseen a man on the moon? Or Thomas Jefferson could have predicted cell phones?
Agreed. The further out we try to predict the greater the chance of an uknown unknown cropping up and changing everything. It might be possible to look toward the year 2022 and predict that most things would probably be exactly the same (including various artefacts of technology from today e.g. cutlery, shops, cars) as well as predict which things that we don't have now we probably will have (policies/technologies that are on the horizon e.g. AR glasses) but its likely that one or more black swan events will occur that radically change the landscape.
 
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I'd say I'm looking forward to progress in computing like quantum computers. Human intelligence and ingenuity are great, but brute force number crunching can save centuries of effort for things we really need help with today. For example, as far as I'm concerned current economic theories are little better than a pot belly stove when what we require is a ecologically friendly jet engine.
 

Ryan_m_b

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Science Advisor
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as far as I'm concerned current economic theories are little better than a pot belly stove
Hence why a positive new paradigm would be pretty good.
when what we require is a ecologically friendly jet engine.
I see your ecologically friendly jet engine and raise you ecologically friendly, economically viable energy production.
 
What would be cool to have?

What if we could shrink a peptide synthesis machine onto an implantable nanochip and wirelessly send it instructions to generate any sequence of peptides we wanted? If a pathogen mutates, maybe you could find something immunogenic on its surface, send the peptide sequence after figuring out what it is to the nanochip and have it synthesize the peptide which would hopefully be attacked by the immune system and help boost innate immunity. It would be like a virus software update for humans!
Wonder what the newest release of WoW would be like?? :smile:
 
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Predicting 200 years in the future is very, very difficult. Do you think George Washington could have forseen a man on the moon? Or Thomas Jefferson could have predicted cell phones?
I wonder what Washington and Jefferson would have thought of the Supreme Court decision making corporations persons.
 
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