Computing Community Consortium Blog

The goal of the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is to catalyze the computing research community to debate longer range, more audacious research challenges; to build consensus around research visions; to evolve the most promising visions toward clearly defined initiatives; and to work with the funding organizations to move challenges and visions toward funding initiatives. The purpose of this blog is to provide a more immediate, online mechanism for dissemination of visioning concepts and community discussion/debate about them.

Scientific American‘s 10 World-Changing Ideas for 2011

November 23rd, 2011 / in big science, research horizons, resources / by Erwin Gianchandani

In the December 2011 issue of Scientific American:

Scientific American's 10 World Changing Ideas for 2011 [image courtesy Scientific American].Revolutions often spring from the simplest of ideas. When a young inventor named Steve Jobs wanted to provide computing power to “people who have no computer experience and don’t particularly care to gain any,” he ushered us from the cumbersome technology of mainframes and command-line prompts to the breezy advances of the Macintosh and iPhone. His idea helped to forever change our relationship with technology.


What other simple but revolutionary ideas are out there in the labs, waiting for the right moment to make it big? We have found 10, and … we explain what they are and how they might shake things up: Computers that work like minds. Batteries you can top off at the pump. A crystal ball made from data… Consider this collection our salute to the power of a simple idea.

Turns out more than half of the 10 world-changing ideas are dependent upon advances in computing (after the jump):

  • The Forever Health Monitor: Your smartphone can monitor your vital signs in real time, alerting you to the first sign of trouble.
  • A Chip That Thinks Like a Brain: Neural computers will excel at all the tasks that make regular machines choke.
  • The Wallet in Your Skin: Forget cell-phone payment systems; just wave your hand to charge it.
  • Computers That Don’t Freeze Up: People have to manage their own time. Why can’t our machines do the same? New software will keep them humming.
  • Currency Without Borders: The world’s first digital currency cuts out the middleman and keeps users anonymous.
  • The Machine That Would Predict the Future: If you dropped all the world’s data into a black box, could it become a crystal ball that would let you see the future — even test what would happen if you chose ‘A’ over ‘B’?

Read more about the potential of each of these ideas — and check out the rest of Scientific American‘s top 10 list — in its December issue (subscription required).

(Contributed by Erwin Gianchandani, CCC Director)

<em>Scientific American</em>‘s 10 World-Changing Ideas for 2011

1 comment

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