Some of the next generation technologies that will prove to be inflection points in the way the world works and does things (in my humble opinion) will be:
a. Electronic paper (flexible displays) that can change the pace of education adoption and coverage and remove the weighty issues associated with carrying books to the classroom.
b. Pharmacogenomics where medicine can be planned based on the individual's specific needs
c. Solar power that can ensure efficient usage of energy and the shift away from fossil fuels
d. Bio-diesel and fuel cells that can change the automotive industry landscape (at least bio diesel is already making a small and interesting impact in this regard)
e. Genetically modified crops that can strengthen entire generations against disease by being embedded with the vaccine at the time of sowing itself
f. Intelligent home appliances that will talk to each other and other service providers in the external world to make the human interface minimal; the word mobile will get significantly enhanced as convergence across electronics will become a reality
g. Bio chips that will monitor and correct human health to some extent within the body itself without the need for medical intervention for common ailments.
The global problems that can get addressed due to some of these innovations are lack of electricity, famine, poverty and illiteracy, which will directly impact quality of human life and disposable income.
The flip side however, to this would be a colossal loss and compromise of human privacy!
When this is likely to take shape is yet to be known, though the research is on.
In effect, the youngsters in the next generation have a very important responsibility to shoulder.
Interesting thought, isnt it?