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What Will 2025 Look Like?

• July 01, 2014 • 11:15 AM

(Photo: Public Domain)

If modern research trends continue, this is what some experts say the future holds.

Will 2025 finally bring us the flying car?

Not only could it bring us something like it, but the aircraft will also probably be powered by solar energy.

That’s according to a thought exercise by two analysts with the IP & Science business of Thomson Reuters. They scoured scientific literature and patent records to identify the biggest and most impactful research areas. By probing the innovative work underway in different sectors, they came up with the following predictions about what life will be like in 2025.

DEMENTIA HAS DECLINED

Dementia researchers have already isolated chromosomes that cause different forms of the disease. As baby boomers reach their 80s, more research into the disease is expected. “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 it,” the analysts write.

SOLAR POWER IS THE LARGEST SOURCE OF ENERGY ON THE PLANET

The rapid growth of solar thermal and solar photovoltaic energy will increase—but it gets better. “Chemical bonds, a photosynthetic process, will make solar energy available when needed,” the analysts write. “Increased efficiency of energy conversion will be realized through new materials such as cobalt-oxide and titanium-oxide nanostructures, photocatalysts and 3D nanoscale heterojunctions.”

TYPE 1 DIABETES IS PREVENTABLE

Researchers and public health officials have been confounded for decades by rises in both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. It’s generally thought that Type 2 diabetes can be prevented through a diet and exercise regime. By 2025, research into manipulating the human genome could make Type 1 diabetes and other heritable diseases preventable.

FOOD SHORTAGES AND FOOD PRICE FLUCTUATIONS ARE HISTORY

In 2025, the researchers imagine an agricultural industry that grows its crops at high densities indoors using low-energy lighting systems. One such indoor farm is already operating in Chicago.

ELECTRIC AIR TRANSPORTATION

They won’t exactly be flying cars, but construction and battery materials are getting so light that “micro-commercial aircraft” could serve as taxis. Forget about expensive jet fuel—planes could charge up on electricity before taxiing to the runway.

EVEN MORE DIGITAL

“If you think we’re electronically dependent now, you haven’t seen anything yet,” the analysts write. “Thanks to the prevalence of improved semiconductors, graphene-carbon nanotube capacitors, cell-free networks of service antenna and 5G technology, wireless communications will dominate everything, everywhere.”

PLANT-BASED PACKAGING IS THE NORM

Most of today’s plastic is made from oil, and leaches poisons as it gradually breaks down. Replacement materials are being made from cellulose—alternatives that will get stronger and cheaper.

CANCER TREATMENT WITHOUT TOXIC SIDE EFFECTS

Personalized medicine and big data will help doctors target drug treatments with fewer side effects.

DNA MAPPING AT BIRTH

DNA testing is becoming so easy that, by 2025, our babies could be routinely screened at birth.

TELEPORTATION TESTS

Research into the Higgs Boson particle is accelerating, bringing the promise of teleportation. Not for humans, tragically. But “a significant investment in and testing of quantum teleportation will be underway using other forms of matter,” the analysts predict.

John Upton
John Upton is a science journalist with an ecology background. He has written recently for VICE, Slate, Nautilus, Modern Farmer, Grist, and Audubon magazine. He blogs at Wonk on the Wildlife. Upton's favorite eukaryotes are fungi, but he won't fault you for being human. Follow him on Twitter @johnupton.

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