For decades, information technology has been the biggest change agent in technology. Now we see a prediction on CNet that atoms will again step up to a significant role, compared to bits:

Society-impacting technological change will increasingly come from physical sciences, such as chemistry, physics and mechanical engineering, rather than information technologies, said Matthew Nordan, the president of nanotechnology research firm Lux Research.

Nordan on Monday provided an overview of nanotechnology at the firm’s annual conference here, arguing that material sciences will fuel technological development and economic growth in the coming years in much the way that information sciences did in the last 20 years.

I hope he’s right. Ultimately, we want atoms to be as controllable as bits. Of course, that will bring a whole new set of complexity-related challenges! Credit: Memebox. —Christine