Figure A.15. 21st Century building blocks.

Will we have ready a comprehensive and integrated science policy framework that is visionary enough to consider the development of human potential and the enhancement of human performance? This is the challenge before us, to build a framework that can nurture and experiment but that has the proper controls in place.

The central challenge may well be that we desire a higher quality of life for the nation, as well as building our competitive readiness, given the emergence of convergent technologies. Some may argue against these as non-essential. The quality of life of Americans, it could be easily argued, is influenced heavily by their easy access to leading technologies. American companies and their workers enjoy a global competitive advantage over other less tech-tool-enabled, less human performance-enabled resources. If anything, this may be predictive of the future. We need to continue innovating as a nation and as the leader of the free world. There are security issues not far removed from this argument.

How might we best leverage convergent technology for enhancing the competitive advantage of the nationĂ­s businesses and citizens? Nothing less than a comprehensive rethinking of national technology policy, national education policy, and strategic R&D policy should be considered to create the necessary long-term impact that we desire. The U.S. economy is not a planned economy, nor should it be. Yet our nation needs to formulate a new interdisciplinary, inter-science, and systems-wide collaborative model based on converging NBIC technologies in order to move forward to create productive and efficient change. We need to map out the scenarios with all sectors as we stake out our visions of a preferred future.

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