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World in 2025

How will the world look in 2025? A report says a pilot licence could be the new right-of-passage to adulthood, quantum teleportation will be possible and everything in daily life - from our homes to our newspapers - will be digital. That’s according to the Intellectual Property & Science business of Thomson Reuters, which has released 'The World in 2025: 10 Predictions of Innovation'.

The report predicts the landscape of science and technology in just one 10 years by mining global patent data and scientific literature.

To conduct the study, researchers identified the top 10 emerging scientific areas based on an analysis of popular topics using Thomson Reuters Web of Science. They looked at global patent data in the Derwent World Patents Index to identify the top 10 patent fields with the highest number of inventions containing a priority date of 2012 and beyond. The resulting technology areas with the highest level of commercial and scientific research interest were then reviewed to identify hot spots of innovation that will lead to tomorrow’s biggest breakthroughs.

‘While we do not purport to own a crystal ball, we do have the next best thing: citations to scientific literature and patent content,’ said Basil Moftah, president of Thomson Reuters IP and Science, in a press release. ‘By analysing current research and development activity and commercial pipelines, we are shining a spotlight on some of the most exciting developments that will emerge over the next decade.’

And, to MailOnline, Moftah added that the hardest thing was selecting the final 10 predictions from numerous citations and journals. ‘The main debate around the room was deciding what the ten would be,’ he tells MailOnline. ‘There’s a lot of investment going on in science and technology around the world, as always there is a broad range and field of research going on in universities and institutions.'

One prediction from the report is that solar power will become the largest source of energy on Earth by 2025. According to the most highly-cited scientific research papers of the last two years, the process of harvesting and converting the sun’s energy is becoming much more advanced. Ultimately they say it will be more than just a novelty for the environmentally conscious; solar power will be used by the majority of the world's population


1. Dementia declines
According to the report, 'Baby Boomers' will begin to reach their 80s, so more and more scientific research funds will be directed toward afflictions they may encounter.

2. Solar will be the largest source of energy on the planet
Methods for harvesting, storing and converting solar energy are so advanced and efficient that it becomes the primary source of energy on our planet.

3. Type I diabetes will be preventable
Modifying the human genome will become a reality, making the prevention of diseases such as type 1 diabetes a possibility.

4. The end of food shortages
Thanks to advancements in lighting technologies and imaging techniques, coupled with genetic crop modification, food shortages and food price fluctuations will become things of the past.

5. Electric air transportation will 'take off'
Lightweight aerospace engineering and new battery technologies will power electric vehicle transportation on land and in the air. Micro-commercial aircraft will fly the skies for short-hop journeys. As these new planes will be able to take off and land in much smaller spaces, getting a pilot license could be the new right-of-passage to adulthood in the 21st century.

6. Everything will be digital
From cars and homes that respond to your every wish and want, to appliances that think for themselves, to interconnected geographies, everyone will be digitally directed. 'Imagine the day when the entire continent of Africa is completely, digitally connected,' the researchers write. 'That day will happen in 2025.'

7. Petroleum-based packaging will be history
Cellulose-derived packaging, which is 100 per cent fully biodegradable, will become the norm. Petroleum-based packaging products will be no more.

8. Cancer treatments will have very few toxic side effects
Drug development will be so much more precise, binding to specific proteins and using antibodies to give exact mechanisms of action, that the debilitating effects of toxic chemicals on patients will be significantly reduced.

9. DNA mapping at birth is the norm
The evolution of nanotechnology, coupled with more widespread 'Big Data' technologies that incorporate data from many different people, make DNA-mapping at birth the norm, as well as part of one’s annual physician exam. This allows diseases to be identified.

10. Quantum teleportation will be commonplace
Although in 2025 humans won’t yet be able to teleport through space, a significant investment in and testing of quantum teleportation will be underway using other forms of 'exotic' matter, proving the concept to not only be possible but useful.

‘Personally the DNA mapping one was probably the most tangible, in my opinion, and the one that’s the most promising,' Moftah said, revealing his favoured prediction. ‘In ten years time it will become routine for DNA mapping through birth.' Elsewhere, the researchers also predict that teleportation testing will become common.

‘Thanks to the research that went into the Higgs Boson project, Scotty may soon be beaming things up,’ the analysts write. Scientific literature has apparently exploded around the Higgs Boson, with over 400 citations of the 2012 study. This, they say, is a key indicator that scientists will attempt more ambitious quantum teleportation techniques.

The report also says that everything will be digital: ‘From the smallest of personal items to the largest continents, everything, everywhere will be digitally connected,’ say the analysts.This will be a result of improved semiconductors, graphene-carbon nanotube capacitors, cell-free networks and 5G technology.

They also say type 1 diabetes might be be preventable. Advancements in biological molecule engineering will advance to a point where it will be possible to modify humans to identify and treat diseases. This field currently leads all areas of genetic-engineering patenting and has been identified as an emerging research front in the scientific literature.

How many of the predictions come to fruition remains to be seen, but the bold estimates of life in 2025 are interesting to say the least. ‘Our purpose is to provoke debate among the research community, the world at large, by showing them what is really happening and sometimes it is slightly opaque in research and science communities,' Moftah adds. ‘So we hope that this really drives the debate.’

Jonatan O'Callaghan