Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Are there enough scientists?

Are there enough scientists working on the big problems? There are certainly orders of magnitude more scientists and more sub-areas of science now than 100 years ago and many centers of innovation around the world. But is it enough? Enough for what? The biggest imperative for science innovation is the sun's burnout in 5 billion years, but even just staying on our current trajectory of technology development, we will probably be long gone by then. Enough generally means quickly enough for those living today, especially all of those living today, to experience a more interesting, fun, robust, easy and efficient life.

If we want the future to arrive sooner, we do need more scientists working on the technologies to do so. The most successful approach would blend political, economic and cultural incentives to graduate more engineers from more diverse backgrounds, to make these fields more accessible, to train and sponsor more people in the ancillary areas of technology development (e.g.; the business-making and policy pieces to get the technology implemented), and to market the benefits of technology shift to counteract futureshock.

There certainly can and should be more scientists and with pro-active governments stimulating the funding, marketing, and political and economic incentives, we can realize the future more rapidly. We must do it ourselves before and so that we can outsource technology development to AI.