2030: Technology That Will Change the World

In This Review

2030: Technology That Will Change the World
By Rutger van Santen,Djan Khoe,Bram Vermeer
Oxford University Press, USA, 2010
304 pp. $29.95

This interesting book examines a potpourri of emerging technologies, discussing both the possibilities they may create to improve people’s lives in the future and the obstacles to developing and introducing them. The project started as a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Eindhoven University of Technology and involved interviews with more than 50 applied scientists and engineers on the evolution of diverse technologies in the coming decades. The technologies they describe are likely to be life-transforming in some respects (regarding personalized health care, for example) and disappointingly slow to arrive in others (regarding alternatives to fossil fuels, for example). The range of topics -- including cryptography, geothermal energy, and influenza -- is breathtaking, and the treatment of each subject is necessarily brief but informative. When discussing technology and finance, the book, started before the financial crisis but completed after it, is (rightly) harsh on the prevailing economists’ doctrinal view of financial markets.