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The rush of technology in the 20th century brought more advances than the 11th through 19th centuries combined. Automobiles and aircraft, television and radio, computers and global communications, medical imaging and the leap of humans beyond Earth's atmosphere — all these were born from the creative spark and labor of scientists and engineers.
How can we ensure that technology is humane and not inane? Can nations mount an effective defense without having to shoot? When computer intelligence exceeds human intelligence, what will it mean to be human? If you could "uninvent" one technology, which would you choose — and why? How can we prevent ourselves from drowning in high-tech waste? Why should engineers take the long view?
These questions and many others are explored in Engineering Tomorrow: Today's Technology Experts Envision the Next Century by 50 world-renowned experts in all disciplines of science and technology.
Nobel laureates Arno Penzias and Charles H. Townes, Internet co-inventor Vinton G. Cerf, environmentalist Stewart Brand, physicist Freeman J. Dyson, record-holding oceanographer Sylvia A. Earle, arms experts Norman R. Augustine and Richard L. Garwin, and microchip pioneers Jack S. Kilby and Gordon E. Moore are among the 50 featured scientists and engineers who envision technology's potential for the 21st century — as well as the social responsibility borne by all who are engineering today and planning for tomorrow.
"...over 50 experts in all disciplines of computing and electrical engineering discuss what the technologies of the next century will bring...illustrated with more than 150 full color photos and drawings."
In the next millennium, many significant challenges lie ahead. Some are as old as humanity itself-such as the provision of adequate housing, the production and distribution of food, and the availability of education and medical care. Others are new challenges resulting from developments unique to the twentieth century-such as the conservation of global resources, the control of global pollution, the maintenance of privacy in communications and computing, and the control of diseases unknown before the twentieth century.
Some of the challenges will require a purely technical approach. Others will be primarily societal, requiring a balancing of material priorities with sociological values-with the outcome expressed by funding availability and regulation.
All involve engineering techniques and expertise.
And never before have humans been so technically well-equipped.
Thus, on this, the dawn of the twenty-first century and the third millennium A.D., the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) deems it fitting to pause and reflect on the roles of scientists and technologists in engineering tomorrow. As the world's largest engineering society with more than 340,000 members worldwide, the IEEE has roots in the past two centuries: the IEEE was formed in 1963 by a merger of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (the electrical side, founded in 1884) and the Institute of Radio Engineers (the electronics side, founded in 1912).
It is, of course, electrical and electronic advances that have given the twentieth century so many of the technical wonders we take for granted. The advent of major grids for the distribution of electric power, for example, made urban subway systems and skyscrapers possible by encouraging the advent of elevators, water pumps, and huge-volume heating and air-conditioning systems. Similarly, the transistor-first as a discrete component and later as part of the integrated circuit-underlies every advance from mainframe and personal computers to cell phones and spacecraft. Entertainment, exploration, finance, food preparation and storage, medicine, military capabilities, transportation, the workplace, and even the education of children have all been transformed by advances in electrical and electronics engineering. In fact, some have argued that the inescapable pervasiveness of information technology-ranging from radio to fax machines to the Internet-has played a pivotal role in the dissolution of authoritarian governments, which can no longer keep their citizens in the dark.
Engineers have long been aware of their transformational influence on society's architecture. Although most young people are attracted to engineering because they love making technical concepts practical (and some because they want to try to get rich as entrepreneurs), many also want to help improve the quality of people's lives-and they see engineering as an effective way. The IEEE has had its Code of Ethics-an engineers' Hippocratic Oath for social responsibility-since 1979. And among its 40 constituent societies and technical councils, the IEEE has not only technical societies such as Computer, Communications, and Power Engineering (its three largest) but also "social conscience" societies such as Education, Engineering Management, and Social Implications of Technology.
At the millennial moment, this book is an informal "status report" on electrical and electronics engineering and its potential to help human society.
How the Book is Organized
Part I, "Technologies for Society's Infrastructure," highlights several significant devices, techniques, software developments, and systems concerns that will underlie many twenty-first-century advances. Part II, "Human Application Technologies," explores technologies that would directly affect individual humans (medicine and biology, entertainment) and human society (communication, transportation, and exploration). The book's final part, "Engineering Our Priorities," articulates principal issues in some of the largest technology-related challenges facing society (the environment, war and peace, and education).
One book of finite length cannot possibly address all seminal technologies or societal challenges. Engineering Tomorrow seeks primarily to identify key questions and opportunities, rather than to offer final answers. It highlights but a sampling of sociotechnical issues facing the twenty-first century-principal areas of concern and opportunity as seen from the vantage point of fifty of the twentieth century's top experts.
This book also seeks to open thoughtful conversations in government chambers, university lecture halls, and private living rooms. Engineers or not, we are all members of society. And in this listen-to-the-customer age, we vote our individual preferences for the future each time we use a credit card just as surely as when we cast a ballot.
Let the dialogue begin! -Trudy E. Bell and Dave Dooling
Excerpted from Engineering Tomorrow by Janie Fouke Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Threshold of the New Millennium.
TECHNOLOGIES FOR SOCIETY'S INFRASTRUCTURE.
Structures and Devices.
Systems and Management.
Computers and Software.
HUMAN APPLICATION TECHNOLOGIES.
Medicine and Biology.
ENGINEERING OUR PRIORITIES.
War and Peace.
Preparing Engineers for Tomorrow.
Appendix: The Fifty Technology Experts.
About the Authors.
About the Editor.