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January 03, 2011

UK Guardian has 20 predictions for the next 25 years from different experts

From the web to wildlife, the economy to nanotechnology, politics to sport, the Observer's team of experts prophesy how the world will change – for good or bad – in the next quarter of a century

1. Geopolitics: 'Rivals will take greater risks against the US'

2. The UK economy: 'The popular revolt against bankers will become impossible to resist'

3. Global development: 'A vaccine will rid the world of Aids'

4. Energy: 'Returning to a world that relies on muscle power is not an option'

5. Advertising: 'All sorts of things will just be sold in plain packages'

We'll be nudged into renegotiating the relationship between society and advertising, because over the next few years we're going to be interrupted by advertising like never before. Video screens are getting so cheap and disposable that they'll be plastered everywhere we go. And they'll have enough intelligence and connectivity that they'll see our faces, do a quick search on Facebook to find out who we are and direct a message at us based on our purchasing history.



6. Neuroscience: 'We'll be able to plug information streams directly into the cortex'

NBF comment - This will be technologically possible, but there will be the choice of smart and selective information delivery via non-invasive means and the use of very flexible smart automated responses.

7. Physics: 'Within a decade, we'll know what dark matter is'

8. Food: 'Russia will become a global food superpower'

Russia will become a global food superpower as the same climate change opens up the once frozen and massive Siberian prairie to food production.

9. Nanotechnology: 'Privacy will be a quaint obsession'

Richard Jones (softnano writer) prediction.

Some, like the futurist Ray Kurzweil, predict that nanotechnology will lead to a revolution, allowing us to make any kind of product for virtually nothing; to have computers so powerful that they will surpass human intelligence; and to lead to a new kind of medicine on a sub-cellular level that will allow us to abolish ageing and death.

I don't think that Kurzweil's "technological singularity" – a dream of scientific transcendence that echoes older visions of religious apocalypse – will happen. Some stubborn physics stands between us and "the rapture of the nerds". But nanotechnology will lead to some genuinely transformative applications.

We'll learn more about intervening in our biology at the sub-cellular level and this nano-medicine will give us new hope of overcoming really difficult and intractable diseases, such as Alzheimer's, that will increasingly afflict our population as it ages.

NBF comment- interesting that Richard slams the technological singularity and being able to use sub-cellular medicine against aging and death but then turns around says that we can use sub-cellular medicine against Alzheimers.

10. Gaming: 'We'll play games to solve problems'

11. Web/internet: 'Quantum computing is the future'

NBF comment - Yes there will be quantum computing, but it will only be used in niches and for certain co-processing until there are quantum computing systems that surpass all non-quantum computing for ease of use, energy usage and ease of handling. Implementations of quantum computing that are possible in the near term are not candidates for generally replacing classical computing systems.

12. Fashion: 'Technology creates smarter clothes'

13. Nature: 'We'll redefine the wild'

14. Architecture: What constitutes a 'city' will change

NBF comment - Vague prediction.

15. Sport: 'Broadcasts will use holograms'

16. Transport: 'There will be more automated cars'

NBF comment - predictor does not make any bold prediction on how much there will be. Just more than the almost none that we have today.

17. Health: 'We'll feel less healthy'

18. Religion: 'Secularists will flatter to deceive'

19. Theatre: 'Cuts could force a new political fringe'

20. Storytelling: 'Eventually there'll be a Twitter classic'

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