By 2025, far fewer elderly will suffer from dementia, as our understanding of genetic factors improves.

By 2025, solar power could be the world's largest single source of energy.

Kids of the future might not need daily insulin shots. Type 1 diabetes might one day be preventable.

By 2025, there may be no more food shortages and no more food insecure people. The innovation? Lighting

When you choose how to get around in 2025, they'll be a new option: small electric aircraft.

By 2025, the internet of things will be a reality. Everything will be connected--from the fridge in your kitchen to the most remote farmer in Africa.

Floating garbage patches? Not in the future. The report expects packaging made from plant-derived cellulose to dominate by 2025.

By 2025, we'll have sophisticated personalized medicine.

Kids born in 2025 will be tested at the DNA level, and not just once or twice, but continually using nano-probes inserted in the body.

Beam me up, Scotty? Not quite. But the report says research into teleportation will be underway.

2014-06-30

Co.Exist

10 Breakthrough Innovations That Will Shape The World In 2025

A world where food is plentiful and drugs are personalized may not be as far off as it seems.

What world-changing scientific discoveries might we see by 2025? Will we have more energy technologies that move us away from fossil fuels? Will there be cures for cancer and other diseases? How will we get around and communicate?

To make some predictions, the Thomson Reuters IP & Science unit looked at two sorts of data: current scientific journal literature and patent applications. Counting citations and other measures of buzz, they identified 10 hot fields, then made specific forecasts for each.

“A powerful outcome of studying scientific literature and patent data is that it gives you a window into the future—insight that isn’t always found in the public domain," says Basil Moftah, president of the IP & Science business, which sells scientific database products. "We estimate that these will be in effect in another 11 years.”

Dementia Declines

Prevailing opinion says dementia could be one of our most serious future health challenges. The World Health Organization expects the number of cases to triple by 2050. Thomson Reuters is more optimistic in its report. It says a focus on pathogenic chromosomes that cause neuro-degenerative disease will result in more timely diagnosis, and earlier, more effective treatment. "In 2025, the studies of genetic mutations causing dementia, coupled with improved detection and onset-prevention methods, will result in far fewer people suffering from this disease," it says.

Solar Power Everywhere

One to warm the hearts of climate activists: By 2025, solar power will be the world's largest single source of energy, the report says. "Solar thermal and solar photovoltaic energy (from new dye-sensitized and thin-film materials) will heat buildings, water, and provide energy for devices in the home and office, as well as in retail buildings and manufacturing facilities," the authors write.

Type 1 Diabetes Prevention

Type 1 diabetes typically strikes at an early age and isn't as prevalent as Type 2 diabetes (which comes on in middle age). But cases have been rising fast nonetheless, for reasons that aren't fully explained. The report gives hope that kids of the future won't have to give themselves daily insulin shots. It expects "genomic-editing-and-repairing" to fix the problem before it sets in. "The human genome engineering platform will pave the way for the modification of disease-causing genes in humans, leading to the prevention of type I diabetes, among other ailments," it says.

No More Food Shortages

From the first three ideas, you may have noticed the report has a largely positive bent. This continues with the fourth idea: No more food shortages and no more food-insecure people. The innovation? Lighting. "In 2025, genetically modified crops will be grown rapidly and safely indoors, with round-the-clock light, using low energy LEDs that emit specific wavelengths to enhance growth by matching the crop to growth receptors added to the food’s DNA," the report says. "Crops will also be bred to be disease resistant. And, they will be bred for high yield at specified wavelengths."

Simple Electric Flight

When you choose how to get around in 2025, there will be a new option: small electric aircraft. The report says advances in lithium-ion batteries and hydrogen storage will make electric transport a reality. "These aircraft will also utilize new materials that bring down the weight of the vehicle and have motors with superconducting technology. Micro-commercial aircraft will fly the skies for short-hop journeys," the authors write.

Digitally Connected, Of Course

By 2025, the Internet of things will be a reality. Everything will be connected—from the fridge in your kitchen, to the remotest farmer in Africa. "Thanks to the prevalence of improved semiconductors, graphene-carbon nanotube capacitators, cell-free networks of service antenna, and 5G technology, wireless communications will dominate everything, everywhere," the report says.

No More Plastic Garbage

Floating garbage patches? Not in the future. The report expects packaging made from plant-derived cellulose to dominate by 2025. "Toxic plastic-petroleum packaging that litters cities, fields, beaches, and oceans, and which isn’t biodegradable, will be nearing extinction in another decade. Thanks to advancements in the technology related to and use of these bio-nano materials, petroleum-based packaging products will be history."

More Precise Drugs

By 2025, we'll have sophisticated personalized medicine. "Drugs in development are becoming so targeted that they can bind to specific proteins and use antibodies to give precise mechanisms of action," the report notes. "Knowledge of specific gene mutations will be so much more advanced that scientists and physicians can treat those specific mutations. Examples of this include HER2 (breast cancer), BRAF V600 (melanoma), and ROS1 (lung cancer), among many others."

DNA Mapping Normalized

Kids born in 2025 will be tested at the DNA level, and not just once or twice, but continually using nano-probes inserted in the body. "In 2025, humans will have their DNA mapped at birth and checked annually to identify any changes that could point to the onset of autoimmune diseases."

Teleportation Tested

Beam me up, Scotty? Not quite. But the report says research into teleportation will be underway. "We are on the precipice of this field’s explosion; it is truly an emerging research front. Early indicators point to a rapid acceleration of research leading to the testing of quantum teleportation in 2025."

Will all of these changes come to pass? Probably not. We know from history that exciting research doesn't always make it to the market. A host of things—politics, money, monopoly power—get in the way. However, Moftah believes we should be positive about the future: “[The predictions] are positive in nature because they are solutions researchers and scientists are working on to address challenges we face in the world today. There will always be obstacles and issues to overcome, but science and innovation give us hope for how we will address them."

Add New Comment

20 Comments

  • voorname.achtername

    Fred: How about 'curing' depression? According to the WHO the number one illness in 2020.

  • The above is 99% BS 100 year ago there was freedom to cure cancer herbaly, free energy, electric cars no fossil fuels, no cancer causing vaccinations, no poisonous food additives & artificial sweeteners, no radio nuclear bombs,generators, oil spills, chem trails, deforestation etc. If we don't know are past we will not have a future welcome to our jewdaio reality! Sponcered by the 13 now 17 elite puppetmaster families of the world.

    Read your authors like you read your food labels, don't eat the garbage!

  • Tom Peterson

    Solar will only catch on when it finally becomes available to consumers, rather than to power companies. What is perceived as "useless" desert is a fragile biologically diverse environment; to destroy six square miles of habitat (as was done with the Ivanpah Solar Plant on the California/Nevada state line south of Las Vegas) to install a hazard to air navigation that literally cooks birds in flight (they call them streamers), is irresponsible environmentalism at it's worst. Utilizing rooftops is much more efficient, and Sandia National Labs even has free software to calculate the optimum angles and alignments for the maximum gain when using solar energy sources.

  • Greg Damian

    Agree that solar is not the next big energy solution. Perhaps by 2125, but not 2025. Much more likely is a natural gas revolution followed by hydrogen.

  • Bill Van Eron

    Hi Ben, Thanks. I enjoyed the comments as much as the article. As one in his mid 60's now, I relate to the benefits of curing dementia and hope solar proves itself out. I greatly admire what science and technology can do. What scares the Be-Jesus out of me is what happens to it when greedy people and companies misuse these inventions or use their money to stop them from coming to market. So for me a future where we get past our tolerance to be controlled and unduly influenced by greed and collectively shepherd the greater good, now that would be exciting. I think the internet still holds some promise there but when creative thinkers like myself figure out how to do good, we often run into forces determined to protect status quo. We have seen we can't trust the Monsanto's of the world that control patent applications. We have developed a far better, faster way to save education now, versus 2025 cause we know education is our future. But hard to say if we can get past the resistors.

  • ghinner

    On solar: Yes it will be everywhere, but may not be the largest single source. Wind and the much-maligned Nuclear could also end up #1. And let's not forget the under-utilised Geothermal. On crops: Heard this one before. Besides, who says we have a shortage now? The issue today, and one that has been brought up numerous times (so the author should know better) is distribution, not supply. Not to mention all the risks with GMO. On flights: Unlikely as there are far too many safety issues (i.e. human error). Think of all the bad car drivers, and then put them up in the air and give them the ability to not only create a mid-air collision but then have that collision fall down onto structures/people on the ground. On plastic: WTF. You've got no idea mate. Even if (and that's a big IF) all plastics were to become biodegradable, the problems with the plastic currently polluting the environment (e.g. the plastic soup oceans) will still exist.

    Ya goose.

  • Lionell Park

    Because genetic modification is so evil that modified crops will come alive and shoot you down with .375 cal? GMO food 'gives' you Cal, not shoot .375 cal off their muzzle.

  • I'm not personally against any of this (it would be great if scientific progress was an easy, straight line), but the one glaring problem I see with many of these is the reaction of the general population. Genetic manipulation is going to be a difficult pill for people to swallow, especially considering the current sentiment about GMOs. And implanting a tracker into babies to monitor their DNA? I can see that being turned into not only an ethical problem by anti-genetics groups, but into a full-blown "the government is tracking our every move" issue by conspiracy theorists.

    Still though, teleportation and less garbage? Count me in.

  • Wayne Caswell

    It’s relatively easy to extrapolate past trends, assuming that nothing prevents those trends from continuing at the same rate, but will they? One can also look at what’s possible by tracking patents and research lab activity, as the Reuters group did, and then estimating how long it will take to bring those new technologies to market.

    But a potentially better approach is to start with a solid understanding of market NEEDS and what drives the development of solutions for them, or factors that inhibit solutions. Changes in politics and public policy, for example, can be a huge driver, with Obamacare as an example, or a huge inhibitor. That’s why I’m so interested in various healthcare reforms that accompany tech innovation and wrote about those specific futures in http://www.mhealthtalk.com/2013/07/moores-law-and-the-future-of-healthcare/.

  • Stephen Funck

    A patented new form of transportation that is under active R&D that will reduce cost and increase speed can be seen at ConcordLift.come Professionally presented to AIAA. No issue has been suggested that this can not fly or that it will not be highly profitable.

  • Elayne Burt

    Hey Ben: Great article. I'm particularly intrigued by the first topic: taming dementia. I am truly hopeful for this positive outcome. Also, I'm crossing my fingers about the subject of food supply. I'm 55 now, how old are you? I used to watch the cartoon The Jetsons, and hoped that some of those excellent innovations would take place in my lifetime. I'd love to zoom around in a small, quiet spacecraft like they did, and also to have a personalized robot who performs household duties. I'm a freelance writer based in Toronto. Would love to keep in touch with you. : )