Peering Into the Long-term Future

For most people in our industry, long-term planning is something that pops up only a few times a year. Most days are spent meeting the challenges of today, or sometimes even leftover work from yesterday.

Every once in a while, it’s refreshing and beneficial to step back from the short term and peer into the future. IPC APEX EXPO® attendees will have the option to hear some creative views on the future in a free keynote speech on Tuesday morning, February 19.

Dr. Michio Kaku, a theoretical physicist, futurist and best-selling author, will provide a very long-term vision of technology’s impact, looking at lifestyles in 2100. I’ve seen Kaku before; he’s a very colorful speaker. Many of his ideas involve the role of electronics, but he also looks at medicine, chemicals and other fields.

It’s pretty obvious that he’s got a knack for providing interesting, plausible predictions for advances in technology. In a nation that struggles to get students interested in science, engineering and technology, he’s written not one but two books on physics that hit the NY Times Best Sellers list.

Last time I heard him speak, there were times when I felt like I was listening to a speech on science fiction. But other times, he laid out pretty compelling scenarios where it was easy to see how the building blocks of today’s technology are paving the way for future advances.

Some of his predictions will undoubtedly be like forecasts of a 21st century filled with flying cars. But others will be as solid as Archimedes’ prediction that focused light could destroy enemy vessels. Once you’ve heard him shed some light on the future, it will be interesting to get back to the technologies today, realizing that they would seem like science fiction to those who lived in the early 1900s.

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