This article should be viewed as a thought experiment and taken with an enormous grain of salt. The following is subjective and philosophical, at best.
As you may or may not be aware, 2015 was designated as the International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies by the United Nations. 2015 is also the International Year of Soils. As disparate as these two topics might appear, their relationship is interesting inasmuch as it relates to food production. There seems to be a whole lot more emphasis on the Year of Light, however. Much has been said of late regarding light, light-bearers, and Armageddon.
What exactly does the term ‘light’ imply? It can be said that in the universe, there is matter and there is radiation. Under this broad definition, light can be seen as all types of radiation. Visible light is only a small sliver of the electro-magnetic radiation spectrum. Alpha, beta, gamma, microwave, x-ray, infrared, ultraviolet are all manifestations of waves at different frequencies. Many technologies depend on this notion; cell-phones, smart meters, lasers, radar, telescopes, microscopes, and many others rely on these basic principles which govern their use.
As the topic is a very broad one, the focus here will be on those technologies which cater to the needs of the greatest number of us, either directly or indirectly; and also those which affect the planet in the most meaningful ways. Some of the most important aspects of life on earth are (arguably) economics, health, environment, and governance.