“It is said that the present is pregnant with the future.” Voltaire
It is always interesting to discover what the world’s foremost researchers are studying, and how they might affect us as new applications are being discovered. This Article by Thomson Reuters was published in early 2014, and its tentative conclusion gives some indication where most of our resources for the future are being invested.
So, how will science and technology affect our lives in the next decade? The Web of Science and Derwent World Patents Index identifies 10 technologies of tomorrow that will be in use in 2025 based on research and development currently identifiable in the literature of today – both scientific literature and published patents. Broad fields from these two sectors were then merged and compared to identify the most impactful areas.
The following were the top areas identified:
- Disease Prevention & Control: A versatile human genome engineering platform is a reality, paving the way for the modification of disease-causing genes and helping to prevent certain metabolic conditions, like Type I Diabetes.
- Medical Treatment: Drug development is so much more precise, binding to specific proteins and using antibodies to give exact mechanisms of action, that the debilitating effects of toxic chemicals on patients is significantly reduced.
- Pharmaceutical Preparation: Understanding of the human genome and genetic mutations leads to improved detection of, and prevention methods for, the onset of neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.
- Energy Solutions: Methods for harvesting, storing and converting solar energy are so advanced and efficient that it becomes the primary source of energy on our planet.
- Digital Communications: From the smallest personal items to the largest continents, everything, everywhere will be digitally connected, and responsive to our wants and likes.
- Multimedia Devices & Lighting: Light-weight aerospace engineering coupled with new battery technologies power electric vehicle transportation – on land and in the air.
- Instrumentation (biotech): Advancements in lighting technologies and imaging techniques, coupled with genetic crop modification, provide an environment ripe for successful indoor crop growth and detecting diseased foods.
- Physics (particle): Kinematical techniques used to understand the Higgs Boson particles generated in the Large Hadron Collider advance such that quantum teleportation is more commonplace.
- Novel Materials (nano): Bio-nanocomposites based on nanocellulose make 100% fully biodegradeable packaging pervasive. Petroleum-based packaging products will be no more.
- Genetics (fundamental research): The evolution of micro-total analysis systems (single-cell analysis) and advancements in nanotechnology, coupled with more widespread Big Data technologies, make DNA-mapping at birth the norm, as well as part of one’s annual physician exam.
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