[Paleopsych] Technology Review: What Matters Most Depends On Where You Are

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What Matters Most Depends On Where You Are 

    Herb Brody (edit) April 2005

    "Global village" was always an idealistic oxymoron.
    Politically, culturally, and economically, the differences among
    nations loom far larger than any differences that might exist among
    neighborhoods made up of small clutches of homes and shops.

    In the following collection of stories, Technology Review brings you
    the view from seven countries. They are a sampling of the world:
    Northern Hemisphere and Southern, nations developed and developing,
    with traditions democratic, autocratic, and Communist. In four cases
    (China, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States), the writers
    are editors of Technology Review or of one of its foreign-language
    editions. For reports on technology in the other three countries
    (South Africa, Chile, and Brazil), we turned to journalists who cover
    those countries. We asked these writers to report on which emerging
    technologies are the most important for their nations' societies and
    economies, and to explain what makes these technologies uniquely
    characteristic of their countries.

    Each country reveals its own preoccupations, usually born out of its
    peculiar history and current circumstances. Leave it to the Dutch, for
    example, to pour computer modeling resources into the management of
    water and soil--endeavors without which the Netherlands' very
    existence would be imperiled. The United States has measured the value
    of R&D projects largely by their potential for adding to the nervous
    nation's power to fight wars and defend against terrorist attack. In
    Germany, home of the world's first superhighways and some of its most
    storied carmakers, it's no surprise to see projects aimed at making
    driving safer and smarter.

    In all, our reporters identified more than two dozen emerging
    technologies or ideas about innovation as vital to the futures of
    these seven countries. But even those innovations that most directly
    address urgent regional needs prove to have application for the entire

    Measuring Global Technology

    Economically advanced European and North American countries may leap
    to mind as global technology leaders. By and large, that's the case.
    These countries tend to fare particularly well on such measures as
    Internet usage, technology spending per person, and cost of Internet
    access. Economically developing countries are relatively well
    represented when it comes to significant mobile-phone and Internet use
    as well as, increasingly, the production of genetically modified

    Data is for 2004 unless otherwise noted. Cost per 20 hours of Internet
    use: data is for 2003; high is >$50, mid is $30-$50, low is <$30. R&D
    spending as a percentage of GDP: data is for 2000-2002; high is >2
    percent, mid is 1-2 percent, low is <1 percent. Information and
    Communication Technology spending per capita: data is for 2002, except
    for Iceland, which is for 2001; high is >$1,000, mid is $200-$1,000,
    low is <$200. Mobile-phone use per 1,000 people: data is for
    2000-2002; High is >500, mid is 100-500, low is <100. Internet use per
    1,000 people: data is for 2000-2002; high is >150, mid is 15-150, low
    is <15 Sources: International Service for the Acquisition of
    Agri-Biotech Applications, World Bank, Organisation for Economic
    Co-operation and Development *If construed as a separate entity, hong
    kong would rank third on this list.

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