Business Guide

Tuesday May 4, 2004

Tech Conference Forecasts Business Trends

Speaker: Nanotechnology will impact every industry in as few as 12 years.
By Chris Motola

Technology and its impact on the workplace were the themes of the Tech 2004 conference in Liverpool, which featured National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Administrator Sean O?Keefe and author Jack Uldrich as keynote speakers.

Imagine the impact the ability to synthesize a flawless diamond at a cost of no more than $5 would have on the jewelry industry. Imagine how hard running a dry cleaning business would be if clothes were impervious to dirt and stains. These are just two examples of the challenges, and opportunities, the coming wave of technology will have on the business sector.

Uldrich, author of ?The Next Big Thing is Really Small ? How Nanotechnology Will Change the Future? lectured a captive audience of business leaders on Tuesday, May 04, 2004, at the Holiday Inn Convention Center in Liverpool, on coming technological advances that will literally rework matter at its most basic atomic and molecular levels ? a scientific field known as ?nanotechnology.?

?It?s hard to think of an industry that won?t be disrupted by nanotechnology ? not affected, not impacted ? disrupted by nanotechnology,? said Uldrich.

?You?re going to hear things that are going to sound outrageous in the next few years,? Uldrich predicted. He advises business owners to keep an open mind about technologies that may sound farfetched now but could be a reality as soon as 12 years from now.

Among the predicted applications of nanotechnology will be computers a million times more powerful, hundreds of cancer cures, and materials 100 times stronger than steel but one-sixth the weight.

Upstate New York, in institutions like SUNY Albany, has been playing a large role in the development of nanotechnology.

?Central New York, more than any region I?ve seen, seems ahead of the curve,? said Uldrich.

Also giving keynotes was NASA Administrator Sean O?Keefe, who expounded upon the importance of the space program as a driving force for technical innovation and morale. He pointed to the success of Mars probes ?Spirit? and ?Opportunity? as a jumping-off point for a new age of space exploration.

NASA?s agenda includes introducing a new space crew vehicle to replace the outdated space shuttle by 2014 as well as a return to manned mission to the moon, with the eventual goal of colonization, by 2020. Longer reaching goals include manned missions to Mars.

According to O?Keefe, the space journey is just beginning. ?We are in the age of sail and aspiring to the age of steam,? he said, drawing a historical metaphor to sailing.?

The conference also featured lectures on technological and manufacturing trends that are will affect business, like malignant software and mesh networks.

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