William E. Halal of George Washington University's Emerging technologies forecast was asked the following question by the World Future Society:

Is there a "wild card" among the breakthroughs you cite for the next century, something that could have an unexpectedly dramatic impact on the future, either negatively or for the good?
This is the answer he gave:

I suspect the wild card is going to be the realization that you can only do so much with information, that we are approaching a domain beyond knowledge. Infotechnology is going to mature in the next 10 to 20 years. The systems will be up, the earth will be wired, and we will be able to do everything we want with information.

We will then enter an era of spirit. You can see it starting today as people embrace values, beliefs, and vision--all of those things that are essential to navigate through the mass of information, to find meaning and purpose. The emergence of this era of spirit is going to become startlingly clear soon.

There will be a change in basic assumptions. For example, the concept of the corporation will be scrutinized. How are you going to justify corporate profit-taking in a world of values, meaning, and purpose? The flaunting of wealth and materialism may be reversed as people reconsider the gap between the rich and the poor.

In about 10 years, certainly no more than 20 years, we will talk about a spiritual age the way we now talk about the information age.

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