Corrections or additions?
Wisdom for the Millennium
It’s a new year, a new decade, a new century, a new
millennium, and — of course — a new era and a time for
change for all of civilization as we know it.
Or is it? For most mortal humans, a mere new year is enough to unleash
the passion for renewal — we will lose weight, work out, stop
smoking, cut back on drinking, clean our office, floss our teeth
Put all the big numbers of change on the same drop of the ball and
you have the formula for a milestone of epic — and epoch —
Of course, you also have the formula for endless rhetoric and
hyperbole. But this time, at least, we think that some of the
are justified. Jim Carnes of Sarnoff likens the period to that of
the dawn of the automotive age a century ago — except that this
time the changes are taking place in three basic industries, not just
one (see below).
And Steve Sashihara, president of Princeton Consultants, sees three
fundamental changes sweeping through the business environment,
expectations of faster response times, customization replacing mass
production; and increasing globalization of business (see page 26).
These are not trivial matters passed along lightly by ivory tower
denizens. And their views of the future are augmented in this issue
by similar thoughts from several dozen more contributors. We hope
you will take a minute or two out of this new millennium to ponder
this issue. Perhaps you will even find a thought that serve you in
the days or years ahead. And remember: Every time you do, you will
be taking one more step into the 21st century.
"The end of the 20th century could
a turning point for more than just chronology. We’re like people in
horse-drawn carriages seeing the first sputtering, smoking
we know something is happening, but we can’t imagine the huge effect
it’s going to have," says James E. Carnes
CEO of Sarnoff Corporation.
"As the century changes, we’re at the nexus of three revolutions:
the information revolution, the semiconductor revolution, and the
genomics revolution. Fundamental changes in how we work, communicate,
get information, and entertain ourselves are occurring right now.
Meanwhile biology and genomics promise to transform our approach to
the prevention, treatment, and healing of disease. These movements
will improve the human condition in ways we cannot yet imagine in
Says Carnes: "Whatever the future holds in these fields, I predict
Sarnoff will play a significant role in bringing it all to pass."
Gene research will impact not only the discovery of
drug targets, but also the development of new drugs and the use of
those drugs in the health care system, says Wes Cosand
of genomic technology and bioinformatics at Bristol-Myers Squibb’s
laboratory in Hopewell.
"Reasonably conservative companies are betting that this new
will change the way that drugs are not only discovered but also the
way they are developed in the clinic and the way they are sold in
the marketplace," says Cosand (http://www.bms.com).
At its simplest level, genomics (gee-NO-mix) is the science of gene
discovery, but it also encompasses a variety of technologies used
to determine the structure, function, and interaction of genes in
biological systems — and beyond that, to form the basis of a new
generation of life sciences research that many hope will lead to
and treatment breakthroughs.
"In the last year the view of genomics has certainly changed and
become perhaps more sophisticated," says Cosand. Sophistication
often reveals an ability to admit ignorance. As Cosand says, "We
really do not entirely understand the impact or the effect that
The genomic revolution will proceed more slowly than
expected and it will also present difficult ethical questions, says
firm on Cherry Valley Road, Johnston Associates, provides seed capital
for healthcare and biotechnology start-ups (E-mail:
"Clearly it will take longer than we thought two or three years
ago to come up with the gene-based therapies," says Johnston.
"The human system is a lot more complex than we give it credit
"But given sufficient time, in 5 to 10 years, there will be some
major therapies to cure genetic diseases — the simpler genetic
diseases, not the multifactorial diseases, such as cancer," he
says. "Within a shorter time frame there will be good diagnostics
for many of the genetic diseases."
Too much lag time between diagnosis and cure is going to present an
uncomfortable ethical dilemma, says Johnston. Take a disease that
has a gene-based diagnostic but no available therapy. "That raises
the ethical issue — do you want to know if you have it if there
is nothing you can do about it? Those with a propensity for some
can change their lifestyles, but for some of the genetic diseases,
there is no cure known today."
<D>Herb Spiegel credits the semiconductor revolution
for an accomplishment rarely recognized. He says that this technology
has made it possible for entrepreneurs to flourish. Why? Because new
electronic office tools are being produced in quantities at low prices
and in small sizes. As director of Mercer County College’s Small
Development Center, Spiegel has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs start
"From the end of the 20th century to the beginning of the
says Spiegel, "the biggest change has been the overwhelming
of low-overhead small business operations.
"This change can be traced back to the introduction of the
telephone answering machine, which became accepted as an alternative
to a more costly answering service. This was followed by the pager,
which allowed a business person to be reached in a matter of minutes.
"The lowering of the price of fax machines for home use and the
introduction of the home computer and laser printer made it very easy
to produce professional marketing letters and brochures. The computer
brought us the Internet and the use of E-mail for both domestic and
"In the 1990s the cell phone and the pocket organizer became
and you literally can run a full-service business out of your car
or office space in the home. Add to this the proliferation of
and mailing services, and you can now ship goods rather effortlessly.
The pocket organizers, i.e. Palm Pilots, enable you to send and
E-mail from anywhere. In Europe some cell phone companies are
phones with scanners so that you can receive an image while you are
talking to your client or other resource."
Who knows what the next century will bring, says Spiegel. Can faxes
on the wrist or watches with interactive TVs be far behind? (E-mail:
Corrections or additions?
This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com
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