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What Will Change Everything?

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What game-changing scientific ideas and developments do you expect to live to see?

The Internet, television, antibiotics, automobiles, electricity, nuclear power, space travel, and cloning -- these inventions were born out of dreams, persistence, and imagination. What game-changing ideas can we expect to see in our lifetime?

As each year winds to a close, John Brockman, a literary agent representing some of the finest minds in science and technology and the founder of www.edge.org (a 501c3), poses a provocative question to an international community of physicists, psychologists, futurists, thought leaders and dreamers.

Brockman is a master convener, both online and in real life. This year's annual Edge question, What will change everything?, generated responses from Freeman Dyson, Danny Hillis, Martin Seligman, Craig Venter, and Juan Enriquez, to name a few. Here are a few highlights.

Venter imagines creating life from synthetic materials and expects that our view of life itself will be transformed.

Nobel Laureate Frank Wilczek believes everything will continue to become smaller, faster, cooler, and cheaper -- with its implications of an Internet on steroids and exciting new designer materials.

Several neuroscientists wrote about everything from direct communication of feelings and thoughts from brain to brain to electrical brain stimulation for the treatment of mood disorders to cheap cryonic suspension of brains, to ways to control brain plasticity.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Verena Huber-Dyson see science evolving beyond analytical focus and including a sense of synthesis. Huber-Dyson envisions the end of fragmentation of knowledge.

George Dyson, science historian, author, kayak-designer and builder, looks toward the stars -- or here on earth, suggesting, "the detection of extraterrestrial life, extraterrestrial intelligence or extraterrestrial technology will change everything."

Discover Magazine editor in chief, Corey S. Powell, offers a list of possibilities from synthetic telepathy to genetically engineered kids.

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people." Tap your greatness as we welcome 2009! Check out the responses to the Edge annual question.

I hope you'll take a moment to comment on the question yourself: What will change everything? What game-changing scientific ideas and developments do you expect to live to see?

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