and entertainment are provided on call, and safe water and healthy food are readily available.
To be sure, there have also been negative results of technology. Pollution, global warming, depletion of scarce resources, and catastrophic failures of poorly designed engineering systems are examples. Overall, however, engineers and their inventions and innovations have helped shape the changes that have made our lives more productive and fruitful.
With the prospect of the exciting new developments expected to come from such fields as biotechnology, nanotechnology, and high-performance computing, the year 2020 can be a time of new choices and opportunities. The years between the present and 2020 offer engineering the opportunity to strengthen its leadership role in society and to define an engineering career as one of the most influential and valuable in society and one that is attractive for the best and the brightest. If we are to take full advantage of this opportunity, it is important to engage all segments of the population in a vigorous discussion of the roles of engineers and engineering and to establish high aspirations for engineers that reflect a shared vision of the future.
Without engineers working both in technical endeavors and as leaders who serve in industry, government, education, and nonprofit organizations, progress would stagnate. Engineering offers men and women an unparalleled opportunity to experience the joy of improving the quality of life for humankind through development of engineering solutions to societal problems. Many engineers pursue career paths in fields that are traditionally defined as engineering. However, a significant number use their engineering backgrounds as points of departure into other fields such as law, medicine, and business. The opportunities offered by an engineering education are multifold, and this is not fully realized by young people, their parents, counselors, mentors, and the public at large.
By 2020, we aspire to a public that will understand and appreciate the profound impact of the engineering profession on sociocultural systems, the full spectrum of career opportunities accessible through