Artificial Intelligence, Material Sciences, and Nanotechnology
Working in tandem with the technologies previously mentioned are artificial intelligence, material sciences, and nanotechnology. Artificial intelligence has moved into many areas where human intelligence formerly was applied. Robots, now found in factories and homes alike, rely on a form of artificial intelligence and perform many complex, nonrepetitive tasks that humans once carried out.
In the material sciences, new materials are being constructed molecule by molecule and atom by atom using supercomputers in their design. These materials are lighter, stronger, and more resistant to heat than older materials. Many have found their way into automobiles, trucks, airplanes, and ships and made them more energy efficient. Automobiles use high-tech ceramics that are resistant to corrosion, wear, and high temperatures and make the engines leaner running. Lightweight and noncorrosive fiber-reinforced composites, which are stronger than steel, are found in buildings, bridges, and aircraft. New polymers are being created that will be used in products from garbage bags to tanks, from ball bearings and batteries to running shoes. Tailor-made enzymes for industrial use also are being produced that can assist in converting plant material into fuel. Nanotechnology holds out the promise for additional new materials (see Exhibit 1.2).
Exhibit 1.2 Applications of Nano-Technology