Prognosticating is a tricky business, especially in the realms of science and technology. Things change fast, but if you crunch today's data with sufficient gusto, you can sometimes get an intriguing glimpse of tomorrow.
That's the idea behind the report "The World in 2025: 10 Predictions of Innovation." Compiled by a team of science analysts at Thomson Reuters, the report was presented at this week's Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado. Here's a rundown of the report's 10 predictions for the year 2025.
Solar power will be the primary source of energy on the planet in 2025, thanks to improvements in photovoltaic technology and chemical bonding. The average solar energy conversion rate, less than 10 percent in 2014, will skyrocket.
Early detection and prevention of neuro-degenerative diseases, like Alzheimer's and dementia, will improve along with increased understanding of the human genome. As the baby boomers reach their 80s, more research and funds will be dedicated to the cause.
Food shortages and price fluctuations will be less troublesome in 2025 as advances in genetic modification improve crop yields. New lighting technologies will also enable widespread indoor crop growth, with 24-hour light provided by low-energy LEDs.
Thanks to innovations in human genome engineering, type 1 diabetes will be preventable in 2025, along with other metabolic conditions like muscular dystrophy.
Everything from cars to appliances to individual personal items will be digitally connected in 2025, due to cascading innovations in semiconductors, graphene-carbon nanotube capacitors and wireless 5G technology.
Batteries will store much more energy in 2025 and recharge 10 times faster, resulting in viable electric vehicle fleets both on the ground and in the air. Small-scale commercial aircraft, powered by lightweight lithium-ion batteries, will be the preferred option for short-hop flights.
In 2025, advancements in nanotechnology, big data and cellular analysis will allow for DNA mapping at birth, as a way to manage disease risk. Blood tests will be replaced with nano-probes that are painlessly injected into the body to gather data.
The adverse effects of toxic chemicals used to treat cancer will be reduced, thanks to better understanding of antibodies and the mechanisms of protein bonding. Improved knowledge of specific gene mutations will also lead to better treatment options of particular afflictions like melanoma and lung cancer.
Most plastics used in packaging are still petroleum-based, but that won't be the case in 2025. Instead, fully biodegradable packaging using nanocellulose materials will be the emerging industry standard.
Research related to the Higgs Boson experiments has increased exponentially since the so-called "God Particle" was discovered last year. By the year 2025, active research into quantum teleportation will be well underway. Human beings won't be beaming up, but research trends suggest that we will actually be attempting to teleport other forms of matter through space.