Introductory Remarks
of David Shipman
Deputy Administrator, GIPSA,
for Biotechnology Panel

GIPSA Millennium Conference

 

Good afternoon. Dr. Doering provided an exceptional look back at how technology influenced agriculture in the 1900s. Our first panel this afternoon will provide you with some thoughts on how technology and market forces are affecting agriculture now and into the future.

Before we get started, consider this:

 

"The pace of modern innovation and technological change has gone from swift to super-exponential. If we were to pretend that the entirety of human civilization were only one day long, we would see a rather remarkable image of the development of the species known as homosapiens. The "hunter/gatherer phase" would consume virtually the entire day except for the last three minutes. This last three minutes - the time of a properly cooked egg - would represent the development of agriculture, towns and cities, and the birth of technology. The last nine seconds of our artificial "super day" would be the Renaissance. The last four seconds would be the Industrial Age. And, what about the era of television, lasers, satellites, biotechnology, super computers, robotics, artificial intelligence and spandex? This "age of high technology" which consumes us so thoroughly in the 20th century would occupy about 600 milli-seconds of this "super day" of human existence." (The Next Billion Years: Change, Technology and Human Existence; George Washington University Corporate Liaison Program; (http://www.gwvirginia.gwu.edu/community/corpliaison/billionyears.html)

So, where do we go from here? Faster. In the next 20 years, we can expect to see, in our every day lives, portable computers, fully electronic banking, online publishing, electronic commerce, biochips, human/pc interface, genetically designed species, neural networks, information appliances, optical computers, expert systems, virtual assistants, fuel cell autos, smart computers, distance learning, mass customization, hybrid autos, computer translations, teleworking, renewable energy resources, smart robots, computerized healthcare, intelligent networks, microscopic machines, intelligent highways, gene therapy, clone organ transplants, recycled cars, intelligent materials, aquaculture, and automated factories. (The GW Forecast, www.gwforecast.gwu.edu/index.asp).

To help us look at how this change is affecting agriculture today and tomorrow, we’ve assembled an outstanding panels of experts…


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