Technology, Business, and Taxation
The major effect of computer technology on
Judging by the clients I see in my practice, it’s risky for a business owner to self-prepare tax returns, even with the help of sophisticated software. Even the owner of a relatively simple business, such as preparing and selling sandwiches from a single portable cart, is likely to make mistakes in determining depreciation, deductible interest, and cost of sales. Throw in a sale of business equipment, and the probability of the business owner preparing his own return correctly is very close to zero.
For business owners who want to take a breath-catching break from it all, the news is bad: as far as technological change goes, we ain’t seen nothing yet. The following paragraphs are going to digress from a close focus on business, but please bear with me while I introduce some concepts that are not yet fully integrated into everyday conversational English.
Ten years ago, my husband Damien Broderick (who always seems to be at least 10 years ahead of his time) published the first edition of THE SPIKE: HOW OUR LIVES ARE BEING TRANSFORMED BY RAPIDLY ADVANCING TECHNOLOGIES. See Tearing Toward The Spike (http://www.panterraweb.com/tearing1.htm) for a shorter discussion of technological change by Damien Broderick. Specifically, THE SPIKE discusses the development and uses of nanotechnology and artificial intelligence. Back in the day, some critics accused Damien of confusing science fiction with reality when he described Dr. Eric Drexler’s notion of “smart paint” that will not only enhance your home’s beauty but will also generate electricity from light, and molecular “copy machines” that will compile steaks or cars from the molecules in abundant, naturally occurring substances.
In case anyone still considers Damien’s projections to be fanciful rather than serious, they should take a look at a report on nanotechnology just published by The Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress (http://www.house.gov/jec/publications/110/nanotechnology_03-22-07.pdf). The report begins with some comparative measurements that help to explain why nanotechnology will cause fundamental changes in the way we humans interact with our environment. At the nano-level, red blood cells, for example, are vast chambers, 2000 to 5000 nanometers long. Think of trying to remove a splinter from your hand with your bare fingers, and how much easier it is with a pair of tweezers. That’s the basic concept – but now imagine that the tips of your tweezers are a thousand times smaller.
The paper lists five generations of nanotechnology:
2000 – 2005: Passive Nanostructures (stain-proof fabric and invisible sunblock cream)
2005 – 2010: Active Nanostructures (delivering chemotherapy drugs directly to cancer cells, eliminating the horrendous side effects associated with flooding the cancer victim’s body with the toxic chemicals) 2010 – 2015: Systems of Nanosystems (viruses that can assemble small batteries)
2015 – 2020: Molecular Nanosystems (tiny machines that roam the human body, repairing damaged DNA and monitoring vital conditions; machines ranging in size from microwave cookers to small factories that assemble goods “from the bottom up,” using nanofacturing methods)
2020 and beyond: the Singularity (intelligent machines begin to produce discoveries that are too complex for humans to understand)
To be continued.