Engineers of the Future

by Emily on October 24, 2016

in Articles

3d_printed_food_the_future_of_cookingEngineering is probably one of the oldest professions in the world. Sure, the term itself may be relatively new, but the first engineers are as old as ancient Egyptian pyramids, or ancient Mesopotamian irrigation systems. It should be obvious that, due to being so old, this profession has undergone serious changes and faced various challenges throughout its history. And with the entire world rapidly evolving under the influence of IT revolution, engineers, once again, need to rise up to the challenge to stay in the game. Let’s take a quick look at the future of engineering.

The Place of Engineering in future Society

The most obvious challenge of modern engineering is the force in which today’s world is evolving. And whilst in the previous times acquired knowledge and skills could be applied in practice over the course of several decades, today’s engineering is in constant threat of lagging behind both technology and society. The question arises, should engineering be allowed to remain in this position? No, this profession should be in-built in the changes that are on the horizon and engineers should be educated to anticipate the upcoming changes.

The Challenges of Future Engineering

But, even though future is a clean slate, is it possible to take a peek at it and identify some of future engineering’s guidelines and challenges? Sure. As a matter of fact NAE (U.S. National Academy of Engineering) has received input from 40 countries regarding these issues and identified 14 Great Challenges of Engineering.

  • Advance personal learning Every human being is a unique individual. Engineering should develop teaching methods for all these individuals to thrive.
  • Make solar energy economical Solar energy has a potential to fuel mankind. Currently, it provides less than 1% of world’s total energy.
  • Engineer better medicines Engineering has a potential to produce new drugs, tailor healthcare to each person and make it more accessible.
  • Advance health informatics – More efficient acquisition, management, systematization and usage of medical information can vastly improve the quality of medical care.
  • Reverse-engineer the brain Reverse-engineered brain can offer advantages in communication, healthcare and manufacturing that go way beyond the ones of artificial intelligence.
  • Improve urban infrastructure Future infrastructure needs to rise up to the challenges of globalized and networked world.
  • Secure cyberspace – As the time goes by computer systems will become more and more involved in managing all areas of human lives. Their security should be of utmost importance.
  • Prevent nuclear terror – Technology needs to render the threat of nuclear attacks obsolete.
  • Provide energy from fusion – Human-engineered fusion is possible. Now it only has to reach commercial proportions.
  • Provide access to clean water – Sadly, access to clean and affordable water is still an issue for millions of people around the world.
  • Enhance virtual reality Ranging from geotechnical engineering to medical training, the possible applications of Virtual Reality are limitless. The technology needs to be more refined, though.
  • Manage the nitrogen cycle Engineering can help in developing better fertilization technologies.
  • Develop carbon sequestration methods – Fighting global warming is one of humanity’s greatest struggles and engineering is playing a huge part in this fight.
  • Engineer the tools of scientific discovery Engineers and scientists need to make the necessary foundations for humanity to thrive.

Educating the Future Engineers

Today’s society and technology are becoming increasingly interconnected and the development of technology in the future will be even more influenced by cultural, social, economic, and political forces. In order to take the important place in the world we mentioned above, a future engineer will need to acquire great communication skills, high ethical standards, strong analytical skills, creativity, practical ingenuity and drive for lifelong learning.

As we can see, engineering is evolving far beyond the term we instantly imagine. Still, some things remain the same. From building the ancient irrigation systems to fighting global warming, engineering has always helped mankind to survive and progress.

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Vivek October 25, 2016 at 12:34

i think the future of engineering would be related to develop more methods of energy generation. because this is a need of future which needs to be focused by scientists.
Vivek recently posted… What is exhaust gas recirculation, what is its mechanism or process

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