Futurist and business strategist Peter Schwartz, the guest on Thursday night, has spent thirty years looking at the deeper forces for change. He believes that in the coming decades the ability to manipulate matter at the atomic level will be "the new industrial revolution," and that we will be able to "grow a building the way nature builds a tree."
There will be "quantum computers" that can have more than just the two states of 0 and 1, and this will vastly increase computing potential, he explained. He predicted that within 30-50 years, artificial intelligence (AI) machines will be smarter than we are, though humans will likely be enhanced electronically to increase their capabilities.
Schwartz suggested one of the biggest dangers we face in the future is radical climate change, of which we could now be seeing the initial signs. In this scenario, at first the weather would get warmer and then grow much colder, possibly akin to an ice age occurring within a decade. Another threat he outlined was in the field of genetic engineering or molecular biology, where an accidental or unforeseen development could have disastrous consequences.