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June 15, 1963


JAMA. 1963;184(11):889-890. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03700240081017

To peer into the future and attempt to blueprint a new era is indeed intriguing. Francis Bacon, in the early 17th century, indicated some utopian ideals to which he hoped the embryonic science of his day might lead. Little could he imagine how future developments would realize and then transcend his concepts. Quite probably, future historians will regard the mid-20th century as the infancy of a new renaissance, based on electronics and the control over the physical world which this has made possible. Our accomplishments would appear to Francis Bacon as utter fairy tales.

The achievements in the physical sciences are already great. In the so-called life sciences, while the achievements are not so spectacular, the promise is bright. For example, the new developments in information theory and the techniques which the digital computer makes possible bid fair to revolutionize the medical sciences. When we consider that in only the