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A Multiverse of Exploration: The Future of Science 2021

November 17, 2011

A really cool map done by the Institute for the Future, a nonprofit group that recognizes trends in science and helps incorporate them into the mainstream.

Invisibility cloaks. The search for extraterrestrial intelligence. A Facebook for genes. These were just a few of the startling topics IFTF explored at our recent Technology Horizons Program conference 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.” 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.

 

 

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