January 28, 2013

Powers of prophesy: Davos looks to the future

Predictions include climate change-linked economic upheaval; advances in fighting mental illness. and increased job obsolescence.

By DAN PERRY and EDITH M. LEDERER/The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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Participants throng the Congress Center during the 43rd annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Saturday. Those at the annual gathering of the world's elite don't shy away from making predictions, even if they missed foreseeing germinal events like the Great Recession or the Arab Spring revolts.

The Associated Press

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On a related topic, Roy Johnson, the chief technology officer for Lockheed Martin, predicted huge advances in 3-D printing.

POWER TO THE PEOPLE

One of the most famous predictions is Moore's Law, named after Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, which says that computing power doubles every two years or so. It has proven stunningly correct so far, putting new technological devices in everyone's pockets.

But how long will this law hold? Paul Jacobs, the CEO of Qualcomm, said it's not so certain anymore.

The implications of effectively infinite computing power are staggering – no more waiting for a power-up or a download; every song, movie and TV episode instantly available; and even the possibility of what scientists call artificial intelligence.

But Jacobs told The Associated Press that the law might be valid only "a couple of more generations."

"I'm worried. In the next couple of nodes we're going to stop getting those numbers unless somebody figures out something," he said.

YOUTH OF THE WORLD UNITE

Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, now the U.N. special envoy for global education, said huge advances in the Internet and technology are enabling young people to connect with each other and "this is opening up the world in a way that has never happened before."

"Young people are beginning to see that the gap between the opportunities and rights they have been promised and the opportunities and rights that are delivered to them is wholly unacceptable," he said at a session on the forum's sidelines. "And the sense that they are being deprived of these opportunities and rights is, I think, going to be the big motivating force over the next few years."

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