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1Quantum Revolution& Advanced AI2HumanAugmentation3Eco-Regeneration& Geo-Engineering4Science& Diplomacy1.11.21.31.42.12.22.32.43.13.23.33.43.54.14.24.34.44.5HIGHEST ANTICIPATIONPOTENTIALAdvancedArtificial IntelligenceQuantumTechnologiesBrain-inspiredComputingBiologicalComputingCognitiveEnhancementHuman Applications of Genetic EngineeringRadical HealthExtensionConsciousnessAugmentation DecarbonisationWorldSimulationFuture FoodSystemsSpaceResourcesOceanStewardshipComplex Systems forSocial EnhancementScience-basedDiplomacyInnovationsin EducationSustainableEconomicsCollaborativeScience Diplomacy
1Quantum Revolution& Advanced AI2HumanAugmentation3Eco-Regeneration& Geo-Engineering4Science& Diplomacy1.11.21.31.42.12.22.32.43.13.23.33.43.54.14.24.34.44.5HIGHEST ANTICIPATIONPOTENTIALAdvancedArtificial IntelligenceQuantumTechnologiesBrain-inspiredComputingBiologicalComputingCognitiveEnhancementHuman Applications of Genetic EngineeringRadical HealthExtensionConsciousnessAugmentation DecarbonisationWorldSimulationFuture FoodSystemsSpaceResourcesOceanStewardshipComplex Systems forSocial EnhancementScience-basedDiplomacyInnovationsin EducationSustainableEconomicsCollaborativeScience Diplomacy

Trends:

Contributor Profiles

Over 500 scientists have contributed to the identification and descriptions of science trends and breakthrough predictions at 5, 10 and 25 years. Their input have been collected through survey, workshops and interviews and carefully curated by the scientific moderators. The global experts listed below participated in workshops and discussions rounds in their specific topics.
1Quantum Revolution & Advanced AI

1.1Advanced Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) aims to build machines that are able to behave in ways we associate with human activity: perceiving and analysing our environment, taking decisions, communicating and learning. There are various approaches to achieving this. The most well-known, and arguably most advanced, is machine learning (ML), which itself has various broad approaches. more

Scientific Moderator:

Rüdiger L. Urbanke

EPFL

Global Experts:

Emmanuel Abbé

EPFL

Samy Bengio

Google Brain

Antoine Bosselut

EPFL

Jennifer Chayes

Berkeley

John C. Platt

Google Research

Shai Shalev-Shwartz

Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Bin Yu

Berkeley

1.2Quantum Technologies

Systems made up of subatomic particles like electrons and photons are subject to physical laws unlike the ones we are familiar with. Quantum technologies make use of two phenomena unique to such quantum systems. One is “superposition”, where a quantum entity’s physical properties remain undefined until they are measured, creating an entirely novel mechanism for encoding information. The other is “entanglement”, where quantum entities have intertwined properties that mean action on one entity instantly affect the outcome of future actions on its entangled twin, even when they are physically separated. more

Scientific Moderator:

Matthias Troyer

Microsoft

Global Experts:

Rob Thew

University of Geneva

Nicolas Gisin

University of Geneva

Francesco Petruccione

University of KwaZulu-Natal

Sir Peter Knight

Imperial College London

Philipp Treutlein

University of Basel

Barry Sanders

University of Calgary

Jacques Haesler

CSEM

1.3Brain-inspired Computing

The most powerful, flexible and efficient “computer” that we know of is the one we all carry in our heads: the human brain. Research in the field of brain-inspired, or neuromorphic, computing seeks to develop machines that will ultimately display the same capabilities, often by emulating the brain's elements, structures and processes. more

Scientific Moderators:

Steve Furber

University of Manchester

Yulia Sandamirskaya

Intel

Global Experts:

Dylan Muir

SynSence

Giacomo Indivieri

ETHZ

Yi Zeng

Chinese Academy of Sciences

1.4Biological Computing

The component parts of biology often take a molecular input, carry out some process using molecular or cellular “machinery”, and output a related molecule or set of molecules. This has clear parallels with the way silicon-based computing works: take some input, transform it using some arrangement of Boolean logic gates, and produce some output. This observation has seeded the field of biological computing, or biocomputing, in which researchers attempt to modify or build biological systems to perform computing-like routines. more

Scientific Moderator:

Ángel Goñi-Moreno

Technical University of Madrid (UPM)

Global Experts:

Oshiorenoya Agabi

Koniku

Thomas Gorochowski

Bristol University

Yaakov Benenson

ETHZ

The Origins of Life

What is life? Scientists have puzzled over this question for centuries, but the discovery of planets outside our solar system means that it has taken on new importance in recent years.

Authors

Didier Queloz

Professor in AstronomyUniversity of Geneva
2Human Augmentation

2.1Cognitive Enhancement

The 21st century has seen an acceleration in our ability to decode cognitive states from both invasive brain implants and, increasingly, non-invasive techniques. It is also becoming possible to manipulate those brain states in more targeted ways using a wide spectrum of methods, from electrical to chemical. more

Scientific Moderator:

Olaf Blanke

EPFL

Global Experts:

Andrew Hessel

University of Ottawa

Itzhak Fried

UCLA

Bryan Johnson

Kernel

Michael Kahana

University of Pennsylvania

Johannes Gräff

EPFL

Baptiste Gauthier

EPFL

2.2Human Applications of Genetic Engineering

Human genome editing is a fast-growing field, poised to bring unprecedented disruption in medicine, as well as new possibilities for human enhancement. Today, most gene editing is not applied to living embryos or directly done on patients, but ex vivo as is practiced, for example, in cancer immunotherapy. But much of the work being done today is with a different vision: to deliver the genome editor into the patient’s body, where it will find the right cells and perform its task. more

Scientific Moderator:

Samira Kiani

SafeGen Therapeutics

Global Experts:

Effy Vayena

Harvard Medical School

George Church

Harvard Medical School

David Liu

Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

Alex Chavez

Columbia University

Krishanu Saha

University of Wisconsin

2.3Radical Health Extension

In the past few decades, research has begun to suggest that there is an underlying biology of ageing that drives the diseases of ageing. One consequence of this is that, rather than accept the ageing process as a natural consequence of life, an increasing body of research is beginning to treat it specifically as a risk factor for disease, and target it for treatment. Experiments have identified ways to delay, stop and even in some cases reverse the process. A range of interventions, from small-molecule drugs to stem cell injections, is now under investigation. The goal is to use these insights to develop an entirely new kind of public health programme based on radical health extension. more

Scientific Moderator:

Brian Kennedy

National University of Singapore

Global Experts:

James Kirkland

Mayo clinic

Jay Olshansky

University of Illinois

Judith Campisi

Buck Institute

Nir Barzilai

Albert Einstein College of Medicine

2.4Consciousness Augmentation

Even though there is no standard definition of consciousness, in the medical context, methods have had to be devised to verify its presence or absence, to define whether a patient is in a vegetative state, and whether they can be expected to return to normal conscious state. In this arena, the lack of agreement on what consciousness is does not prevent us adopting technologies and conceptual advances that help make decisions. As with many medical applications, these technologies will start in a clinical setting, but the insights they yield will eventually benefit the broader population. more

Scientific Moderator:

Giulio Tononi

Wisconsin Institute for Sleep and Consciousness

Global Experts:

Frédérique de Vignemont

CNRS

Mel Slater

University of Barcelona

Christoph Koch

Allen Institute of Brain Sciences

Michael Herzog

EPFL

Mu-ming Poo

Chinese Academy of Sciences

Wolf Singer

Max Planck Institute for Brain Research

Mavi Sanchez-Vives

IDIBAPS
3Eco-Regeneration & Geo-Engineering

3.1Decarbonisation

The reports of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) make clear that climate change is primarily driven by increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, a direct result of anthropogenic activity, which is primarily related to the combustion of fossil fuels for energy production. The consequences of this activity on our habitable environment are serious, and include desertification, melting glaciers, ocean acidification, rising sea levels and water shortages. Thus, implementing a global strategy to curb CO2 levels is an urgent task. more

Scientific Moderators:

Berend Smit

EPFL

Wendy Queen

EPFL Valais Wallis

Gerald Haug

ETHZ

Global Experts:

Ottmar Edenhofer

Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

Jonas Knapp

Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

Peter Schlosser

Arizona State University

3.2World Simulation

Humans exist embedded in complex “social-ecological systems” that are composed of interconnected physical, biological, and socio-economic systems. Understanding social-ecological systems (SESs) relies on integrating knowledge of the underlying disciplines, and the way that they interrelate. Holistic transdisciplinary understanding is vital to addressing the grand challenges and ‘wicked problems’ facing society in the 21st century, such as those related to climate change, growth in the human population and disruptions to the global economy. Yet society lacks the capacity to measure and predict the relevant interconnections that would facilitate evidence-based policymaking and resource management, whether in urban planning or nature conservation. more

Scientific Moderator:

Neil Davies

University of California

Global Experts:

Sally J. Holbrook

University of California Santa Barbara

Gerhard Schmitt

ETHZ

Russell J. Schmitt

University of California Santa Barbara

Cherie Briggs

University of California Santa Barbara

Joachim Claudet

CNRS

Juliana Freire

New York University

Nicolas Gruber

ETHZ

Armin Grün

ETHZ

Mike Harfoot

University of Cambridge

Andrew Rassweiler

Florida State University

3.3Future Food Systems

Food is fundamental to our existence, and the challenge before us is to build a resilient, sustainable system able to produce and distribute sufficient nutrition for a growing global population. By 2050 our planet will be home to around 10 billion people whose environment is increasingly affected by the vicissitudes of climate change. This task is complex and multifaceted at every level, and differs according to geography, socioeconomics, politics, and access to technology. It will take a multitude of approaches and technologies to meet this challenge. more

Scientific Moderator:

Ralph Graichen

Agency for Science Technology and Research

Global Experts:

Francesco Stellacci

EPFL

Chua Nam Hai

Temasek Life institute

3.4Space Resources

Humans already depend on and utilise off-world resources. Almost all of our energy ultimately comes from the Sun, and we are protected from dangerous radiation by the magnetosphere that encircles our planet. The region just beyond our atmosphere has become a resource for communication, observation and exploration. But our ambition, as well as our requirement for resources, is greater still. more

Scientific Moderator:

Adriana Marais

Foundation for Space Development Africa

Global Experts:

Jan Wörner

European Space Agency

Annette Fröhlich

University of Cape Town

Fabio Favata

European Space Agency

Greg de Temmerman

Institut des Hautes Etudes pour l’Innovation et l’Entrepreneuriat

John Logsdon

George Washington University

3.5Ocean Stewardship

The ocean is central to the existence of life on Earth. However, human activity is putting increasing strain on the ocean, directly through activities such as overfishing and pollution, and indirectly through the emission of greenhouse gases and associated anthropogenic climate change. more

Scientific Moderator:

Robert Blasiak

Stockholm Resilience Centre

Global Experts:

Ana Hilário

University of Aveiro

Andrés Cisneros-Montemayor

University of British Columbia

Baban Ingole

CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography India

Matthias Finger

Northern Artic Federal University, Russia

Peter Girguis

Harvard University

Peter Haugan

University of Bergen

Sabine Gollner

Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research

Tom Battin

EPFL

Anders Meibom

EPFL

Elva Escobar

Universidad Autonoma de Mexico

Antje Boetius

University of Bremen

Managing Solar Radiation

Even to an audience that has grown numb to climate warnings, a working group report published in August as part of the IPCC’s latest assessment report (AR6) was alarming. The threat of catastrophic impacts felt grimly familiar, but what hit hardest was the rapidly dwindling time left to avoid them, and the woeful, continued shortfall — even after so much discussion and effort — of the world’s emergency response.

Authors

Janos Pasztor

Executive DirectorCarnegie Climate Governance Initiative

Global resources stewardship on a healthy planet:

Nature’s goods and services are the ultimate foundation — the resource — of life and health, and we humans are strongly interested in preserving health. And yet, while the availability of resources drives our individual and collective decision-making, we have allowed our public and private resources to be managed in an unsustainable way.

Authors

Ioan Negrutiu

Michel Serres InstituteENS de Lyon
4Science & Diplomacy

4.1Complex Systems for Social Enhancement

Society consists of a wide variety of densely connected, interdependent systems. These networks of networks enable the flow of information, ideas, goods, services and money. In turn, this leads to huge benefits in the form of free media, open democracy, global trade and international finance. However, this connectedness also makes our world vulnerable to extreme events in ways that are hard to imagine and even more difficult to avoid. Examples of the negative consequences of networked society include the 2008 global financial crisis, the ongoing climate crisis and the current Covid crisis. In each case, the disaster unfolded over a range of interconnected networks with powerful but difficult-to-predict feedback patterns. more

Scientific Moderator:

Dirk Helbing

ETHZ

Global Experts:

Carlos Gershenson

UNAM, Mexico

Francois Grey

University of Geneva

Maria Rosa Mondardini

ETHZ

Mark Klein

MIT

Yvonne Hofstetter

Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences

Sarah Spiekermann

Vienna University of Business and Economics

Jeroen van den Hoven

Delft University of Technology

Isamu Okada

Soka University

Chang-Won Ahn

Vaiv Company Smart City Institute

Lorenzo Fioramonti

University of Pretoria

Hans J. Herrmann

ESPCI Paris-PSL

Jose Jacob Kalayil

INTEGRO Infotech & Consulting, Bangalore

Indra Spiecker

Goethe University of Frankfurt
RY

Ranga Yogeshwar

Sanjana Hattotuwa

University of Otago

4.2Science-based Diplomacy

"Science-based Diplomacy” is based on computational social sciences, mathematics, optimisation theory or behavioural research and covers different emerging fields of research, such as computational diplomacy and negotiation engineering. more

Scientific Moderators:

Nora Meier

ETHZ

Didier Wernli

University of Geneva

Michael Ambuhl

ETHZ

Nicolas Levrat

University of Geneva

Global Experts:

Jérôme Lacour

University of Geneva

Bastien Chopard

University of Geneva

Philip Grech

University of Zurich

Stephan Davidshofer

University of Geneva

4.3Innovations in Education

The importance of education is hard to overstate. The UN’s fourth Sustainable Development Goal is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. Education is a vital part of creating a sustainable world populated by healthy, collaborative, creative people who are able to solve problems, contribute to economic success and enjoy a high quality of life. more

Scientific Moderator:

Amy Ogan

Carnegie-Mellon University

Global Experts:

Pierre Dillenbourg

EPFL

Manu Kapur

ETHZ

Ton de Jong

Twente University

4.4Sustainable Economics

It is apparent from the challenges facing humanity in the 21st century that externalities need to be better incorporated into the economic decisions of firms, households, and governments. All actors should be more alert to the negative consequences that their decisions have for the wellbeing of others — near or far — as well as for future generations, and for the planet. The market cannot be relied upon to drive positive change towards sustainability, inclusiveness, and resilience. Therefore, more government intervention is needed. Societies need to agree on the negative externalities created (for example by too much automation, by excessive emissions and pollution) quantify them, and shape economic choices through direct subsidies and incentives. more

Scientific Moderator:

Jean-Pierre Danthine

EPFL

Global Experts:

Jean-Philippe Bonardi

UNIL

Johannes Buggle

UNIL

Rafael Lalive

UNIL

Richard Baldwin

Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies

4.5Collaborative Science Diplomacy

The products of science are increasingly celebrated as drivers of global health, sustainable development and wealth creation. Science and technology are also sources of tension and competition between nations or regions. The Covid-19 crisis in particular has highlighted the role of science on the international stage, how it rapidly advanced novel vaccine technologies, and how these vaccines became a crucial part of the currency of international negotiations, diplomacy and geopolitics. The emerging discipline of science diplomacy seeks to establish an evidence-based, anticipatory foundation for this kind of endeavour. more

Scientific Moderator:

Marga Gual Soler

SciDipGLOBAL

Global Experts:

Paul Berkmann

Harvard University

Raquel Jorge-Ricart

Elliott School of International Affairs

Shaun Riordan

EIIS

Digitalisation of Conflict

Digital technologies are playing a twofold role in conflict. On the one hand, they are used to extend power politics into the poorly regulated domain of global data exchange; on the other hand, they can contribute to better understanding and monitoring of conflict.

Authors

Camino Kavanagh

Nonresident ScholarCarnegie Endowment for International Peace

Anja Kaspersen

Senior Fellow, Artificial Intelligence & Equality Initiative (AIEI)Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs

Myriam Dunn Cavelty

Senior Lecturer for Security StudiesETHZ

Futures Literacy

Life exists in our universe, as does time, hence it is no surprise that all living things incorporate the “later-than-now” in their functioning. Anticipatory systems and processes, the fruit of serendipitous evolutionary wanderings, express an amazing diversity of reasons and methods for taking into account the not-yet-existing future.

Authors

Riel Miller

Head of Futures LiteracyUNESCO