The Future of Science
A Multiverse of Exploration: The Future of Science 2021
Invisibility cloaks. The search for extraterrestrial intelligence. A Facebook for genes. These were just a few of the startling topics IFTF explored at our Technology Horizons Program conference in on the "Future of Science." More than a dozen scientists from UC Berkeley, Stanford, UC Santa Cruz, Scripps Research Institute, SETI, and private industry shared their edgiest research driving transformations in science. MythBusters' Adam Savage weighed in on the future of science education. All of their presentations were signals supporting IFTF's new "Future of Science" forecast, laid out in a new map titled "A Multiverse of Exploration: The Future of Science 2021" (featured on CNN's What's Next and BoingBoing). The map focuses on six big stories of science that will play out over the next decade: Decrypting the Brain, Hacking Space, Massively Multiplayer Data, Sea the Future, Strange Matter, and Engineered Evolution. Those stories are emerging from a new ecology of science shifting toward openness, collaboration, reuse, and increased citizen engagement in scientific research.
We are delighted to share the map with you, under a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution. We hope you enjoy it and find it provocative. Think of "A Multiverse of Exploration: The Future of Science 2021" as a star chart of possibility, pointing the way toward opportunities for wonder, knowledge, and insight. Use it to raise questions about how your life and work may change in light of the startling transformations that science may bring about in the next ten years. Indeed, every forecast could be rephrased as a "what if" question. What if you could record your dreams? What if you could design a life form? What if you could launch a company in orbit? Your answers to those questions can help inform decisions in the present. Inside this map, you'll find plenty of space to think.
The map focuses on six big stories of science that we think will play out over the next decade:
- Decrypting the Brain,
- Hacking Space,
- Massively Multiplayer Data,
- Sea the Future,
- Strange Matter, and
- Engineered Evolution.
Conference Clip: Magic and Neuroscience
As we were conducting the research that informed the map, we were often reminded of Arthur C. Clark's famous quote, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." After all, we were exploring real science around invisibility cloaks, quantum consciousness, designer lifeforms—and those are pretty magical concepts.
That's why we were delighted when Luigi Anzivino, the scientific content developer at the Exploratorium, offered to speak at our conference about the intersection of magic and neuroscience. We hope you enjoy his presentation as much as we did.
To download a PDF of this research map: