May 26, 2015
From smartphone apps that can do seemingly everything to driverless cars and eerily humanlike robots, the past decade has seen dramatic advances in science and technology. What amazing advances are we likely to see in the next 10 years?
To find out, HuffPost Science reached out to seven top futurists — and they gave us some pretty surprising predictions. Keep reading to learn more.
Dr. Michio Kaku, professor of theoretical physics at the City University of New York and author of “The Future of the Mind:”
“In the next 10 years, we will see the gradual transition from an Internet to a brain-net, in which thoughts, emotions, feelings, and memories might be transmitted instantly across the planet.
Scientists can now hook the brain to a computer and begin to decode some of our memories and thoughts. This might eventually revolutionize communication and even entertainment. The movies of the future will be able to convey emotions and feelings, not just images on a silver screen. (Teenagers will go crazy on social media, sending memories and sensations from their senior prom, their first date, etc.). Historians and writers will be able to record events not just digitally, but also emotionally as well.
Perhaps even tensions between people will diminish, as people begin to feel and experience the pain of others.”
Dr. Ray Kurzweil, inventor, pioneering computer scientist, and director of engineering at Google:
“By 2025, 3D printers will print clothing at very low cost. There will be many free open source designs, but people will still spend money to download clothing files from the latest hot designer just as people spend money today for eBooks, music and movies despite all of the free material available. 3D printers will print human organs using modified stem cells with the patient’s own DNA providing an inexhaustible supply of organs and no rejection issues. We will be also able to repair damaged organs with reprogrammed stem cells, for example a heart damaged from a heart attack. 3D printers will print inexpensive modules to snap together a house or an office building, lego style.
We will spend considerable time in virtual and augmented realities allowing us to visit with each other even if hundreds of miles apart. We’ll even be able to touch each other. Some of the ‘people’ we visit with in these new realities will be avatars. They will be compelling but not quite human level by 2025 — that will take to the 2030s. We will be able to reprogram human biology away from many diseases and aging processes, for example deactivating cancer stem cells that are the true source of cancer, or retard the progression of atherosclerosis, the cause of heart disease.
We will be able to create avatars of people who have passed away from all of the information they have left behind (their emails and other documents, images, videos, interviews with people who remember them). These will be compelling but not fully realistic, not until the mid 2030s, so some people will find this ‘replicant’ technology to be in the ‘uncanny valley,’ that is, disconcerting.”
Dr. Anne Lise Kjaer, founder of London-based trend forecasting agency Kjaer Global:
“The World Health Organization predicts that chronic diseases will account for almost three-quarters of all deaths worldwide by 2020, so the evolution of M-Health (mobile diagnostics, bio-feedback and personal monitoring) is set to revolutionize treatment of conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Apps designed by medical professionals will provide efficient real-time feedback, tackle chronic conditions at a much earlier stage, and help to improve the lifestyles and life outcomes of communities in the developed and developing world.
This improvement to our physical well-being is exciting, but what excites me even more is the parallel development of apps that meet our under-served mental health needs.”
Dr. James Canton, CEO of the San Francisco-based Institute for Global Futures and author of “Future Smart: Managing the Game-Changing Trends that will Transform Your World:”
“Wearable mobile devices will blanket the world. By 2025, there will be a massive Internet of everyone and everything linking every nation, community, company and person to all of the world’s knowledge. This will accelerate real-time access to education, health care, jobs, entertainment and commerce…
Artificial intelligence becomes both as smart as and smarter than humans. AI will be embedded in autos, robots, homes and hospitals will create the AI economy. Humans and robots merge, digitally and physically, to treat patients who may be around the world. Robo-surgeons will operate remotely on patients. RoboDocs will deliver babies and treat you over the cellphone.
Predictive medicine transforms health care. Early diagnosis of disease with medical devices that sniff our breath, and free DNA sequencing that predicts our future health will be common. Personalized genetic medicine will prevent disease, saving lives and billions in lost productivity… The next generation Bitcoin will replace traditional hard money, creating a new paradigm for digital commerce and business that will create a legitimate new economy.”
Jason Silva, host of National Geographic Channel’s “Brain Games:”
“The on-demand revolution will become the on-demand world, where biological software upgrades, personalized medicine, artificially intelligent assistants will increasingly transform healthcare and well-being. Additionally, increased automation will continue to make our day-to-day lives infinitely richer. Self-driving cars will be ubiquitous, transportation itself will be automatic, clean, and cheap. We will move into a world in which access trumps ownership and the world is at our fingertips.”
Dr. Amy Zalman, CEO & president of the World Future Society:
“Researchers now have at their disposal increasingly acute ways of looking into our brains and bodies to understand our attitudes and behavior. A few years ago, Harvard researchers showed that leaders actually have less stress, not more, than non-leaders… At Ben-Gurion University, a study of judges showed that they handed out stricter judgements before lunch — when they were hungriest.
I find the potential application of these kinds of insights awe-inspiring. A more accurate understanding of how we humans function — how we trust, cooperate and learn but also fight and hate — is a tool that public policy-makers and we citizens can use to build better governance and better futures.”
Mark Stevenson, author of “An Optimist’s Tour of the Future:”
“The technologies aren’t the most important bit — although they are super cool. It’s what society does with them, and right now it’s institutional change that’s the sticking point…. What you really want to look at, in my opinion, is new ways of organizing ourselves. So, my next book covers, for instance, the renewables revolution in a small Austrian town, open source drug discovery in India, patient networks like PatientsLikeMe and schools that are throwing out the curriculum in order to get on with some actual learning.”