1. Climate Engineering
More rain? Less rain? Halt global warming dead in its tracks? Destroy a hurricane before it reaches land? Scientists have proposed a number of aggressive measures to modify our climate. Interestingly, the debate is not so much about whether or not climate engineering will work, but rather if it’s wise to even try it in the first place.
2. The Hyperloop
If you haven’t already heard of Elon Musk’s proposal for high-speed travel, here’s the skinny: It’s a solar-powered bullet train that runs inside of a low-pressure tube. Why do it? Because it’s cheap, it’s clean, it’s safe, and it can get you from LA to San Francisco in under 30 minutes, or from NY to LA in 45 minutes.
3. Brain-Computer Interfacing
What if you could access your computer with your mind? No more typing, texting, or clicking. “Looking something up” would become “thinking about it.” Scientists just announced that they’ve successfully wired a monkey to control robotic arms from 7,000 miles away. Candy Crush via thought is next.
4. 3D Printing
3D printing will give everyone the ability to manufacture anything, anywhere. It excels at producing complicated or specific parts or objects. This will lessen our reliance on shipping and traditional manufacturing while giving consumers greater creative control over the products they use.
5. The Super Metropolis
People are moving to cities in greater numbers than ever before, and for good reason. Research suggests hyper-dense cities may solve poverty, energy, health care, and education problems, leading to an improved quality of life for residents. It’s an exciting time to be a city dweller.
6. Quantum Computing
Quantum computing uses the power of atoms to perform computer calculations in a fraction of the time it takes even our fastest supercomputers. The potential applications of this new tech are so enormous that it is difficult for researchers to even comprehend what may be possible. That might be because the quantum computer operates in multiple dimensions at once. Yes, you read that correctly.
7. Mapping the Nervous System
CLARITY is a powerful new method of mapping the brain in three dimensions. It will enable researchers to study neurological diseases and disorders in unprecedented detail. It will literally be like looking at age-old problems with new eyes. This is a huge step towards understanding Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and stroke recovery.
8. We Are Not Alone
The existence of extraterrestrial life is an overwhelming statistical probability. And the recent discovery of billions of earth-like planets makes the search for life even more exciting. As we learn more and more about our universe, the question becomes not if, but when.
Like 3D printing, but with organic material. Eventually, scientists and engineers hope to deliver custom-made organs to those in need. Handheld devices could also repair damaged tissues at the scene of accidents or disasters. And researchers will have unlimited tissues for research, paving the road for even more discoveries.
10. Renewable Energy
Every item on this list depends on one thing: the energy to power it. The future of energy is murky, but one thing is clear. Whether wind, solar, hydrogen, or nuclear energy becomes the next big thing, renewable energy will help power the big ideas of tomorrow.