Electronic Design

Technology Promises To Make The Future A Lot Better

As 2001 draws to a close, I would wager that many of us are happy to put all of its tragic events and financial disappointments be-hind us. We must never forget the lives that were lost or disrupted by the infamous terrorist attacks. But as 2002 begins, we can regard it as an opportunity for a fresh start. We can marshall new resolve to right some of the wrongs in the world by reducing strife, eliminating hunger, and eradicating diseases that debilitate and kill.

Technology can play an important role in achieving many of these goals. Global and virtual corporations already leverage the Internet and other forms of communications to operate seamlessly around the globe. Could the same become true for countries? Will a nation's borders eventually be nothing but vague references on a map, as each country draws upon all regions of the world for commerce and resources? Perhaps geographic borders will no longer define what constitutes a nation.

In medicine, technology results in noninvasive diagnostic and analytical instruments that peer inside of us to pinpoint what's wrong. Nanotechnology, sensors, and robotic prosthetics have accomplished everything from dispensing intravenous drugs automatically to restoring some perception or movement.

Technology also assists in eliminating hunger. Electronic tagging of livestock and huge supercomputers that analyze and predict weather patterns help farmers to be more productive.

Moreover, technology advances impact our daily lives. New devices like MP3 audio players, cell phones, and PDAs give us increased mobility. More intelligent cars guide us on the roads as we travel in safer, more fuel efficient vehicles. In the office, we work more productively, communicate better, and gain access to an ever-widening range of resources thanks to improved computers, higher-speed data communications, and the ubiquity of the Internet and the Web.

As part of the drive to move forward and advance technology, we often look back, hopefully learning from our past mistakes so that we won't repeat them. As the electronics industry starts another new year, it's poised to resume its journey on the road of success paved with astounding technology advances for the worldwide good.

In 2002, Electronic Design too will continue its journey, reaching its 50th year as a publication that keeps designers abreast of pertinent developments in the electronics industry. To celebrate this milestone, our editors will prepare many special features throughout the year—everything from retrospectives that reveal some of the wonderfully creative people behind developments to forward-looking articles with insights about future technology directions and industry trends. We hope you will both enjoy reading these special editorial features and find them useful.

In the meantime, I wish you a very safe, happy, and healthy holiday season, and a happy new year.

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