Information technology in 2050

A. Charles Rowney, Theodore G. Cleveland, James G. Gerth

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The evolution of applied information technology (IT) over four decades is not predictable except in the most general ways, but some current trends and issues will likely persist and these can be identified and their outcomes hypothesized. A subset of such trends is considered in this discussion. IT trends that are expected to continue include increasing computational capability, improved interoperability, expanding storage capability and extending connectivity, as well as a profound evolution of software and data norms. Obvious positive consequences will include the ability to more perfectly represent the real world in analysis and simulation tools, revolutionizing engineering practice by enabling fine-grained representation of physical problems. Negative consequences may include the loss of information, quality implications associated with the spread of “grey” literature, and the inaccessibility of engineering computations to engineers. Responses to these negative consequences may include a shift in the notion of information accreditation, a drive towards formal accreditation of common engineering tools, changes in the fundamental precepts of engineering education, and the forced evolution of a paradigm shift of the notion of professionalism in IT services sectors. The picture that emerges is one of changes in practice, not just in speed and scale, but in kind.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationToward a Sustainable Water Future
Subtitle of host publicationVisions for 2050
PublisherAmerican Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9780784476758
ISBN (Print)9780784412077
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012


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