The Science Breakthrough Radar focuses on what scientists in the world’s most advanced laboratory say about future advances in their fields. It does not have the ambition at this stage to discuss the implications of these advances on society and diplomacy, nor does it take sides on whether the mentioned breakthroughs are desirable or not. But anticipating the science in this 25-year timeframe can contribute to accelerating broad-based debates about the social and political implications, providing a basis for the collective identification of meaningful solutions to today's and tomorrow's most pressing challenges.
Taking the Pulse of Science: The Science Breakthrough Radar
GESDA has developed a methodology for capturing the anticipation potential of possible scientific breakthroughs, with findings summarised in the Science Breakthrough Radar.
This section describes science trends that have been anticipated in 18 scientific emerging topics, covering a broad range of research areas in natural sciences, engineering sciences, social sciences and the humanities. Those trends are not absolute predictions — they may develop in unforeseen ways — but noting their emergence makes an important contribution to debates about the future of humankind, and the role Geneva and the international community can play within it. The trends and related breakthroughs are updated on a rolling basis through constant engagement with the global academic community. They are distributed across four scientific frontier issues:
- Quantum Revolution and Advanced AI
- Human Augmentation
- Eco-Regeneration and Geo-engineering
- Science and diplomacy
More than 500 scientists from 53 countries contributed through surveys, workshops, and interviews. Their insights were used to define the “anticipation potential” of those topics and to create comprehensive briefs that list 216 potential breakthroughs, providing a basis for further discussion.
Taking the Pulse of Science: Analysing the Anticipation Potential
The Anticipation Potential provides a glimpse of the relative importance of anticipating developments in a field as assessed by the global scientific community.
The list of topics presented in this section is not exhaustive: it is a subset of areas where the GESDA Academic Forum believes relevant impactful breakthroughs will happen in the next 25 years. Invited contributions from leading scientists provide a glimpse into additional 7 emerging topics that areas not covered in depth in this version of the report, but will be expanded in future editions.
Because significant anticipatory work is also promoted by other key actors, and as science is progressing constantly, the briefs are extended by a collection of referenced reports and curated articles through the GESDA Best Reads. They are updated constantly through the digital platform showcasing the Science Breakthrough Radar.
Anticipating what is happening in the world’s laboratories is essential if, as a society, we are to have the knowledge and the tools to build the world that we want.