Use the future to build the present
Taking the Pulse of Science: The Science Breakthrough Radar
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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

Taking the Pulse of Science

The Science Breakthrough Radar

We cannot predict the future, but we can try to anticipate it. Although we don’t know exactly how the future will unfold, we can explore the forms it might take because these forms originate in research that is already being done, conversations that are already taking place and solutions that are already being devised today. By taking the pulse of science, and by sharing it with the global multilateral community, we hope to accelerate the positive outcomes of the scientific breakthroughs that we need to address today’s biggest and most intractable challenges.
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

That is why GESDA has developed a methodology for capturing the anticipation potential of possible scientific breakthroughs, with findings summarised in the Science Breakthrough Radar presented here. The methodology and research behind the Radar is laid out over the following pages, and is based on insight and data drawn directly from scholars working in key fields of scientific research of GESDA’s four initial frontier issues. It is a rolling assessment that will be updated year after year as our knowledge in those fields expands.

How to read the Radar

Our radar screen measures and illustrates the “anticipation potential” of each of the emerging scientific topics. Each frontier issue is represented by one quadrant of the Radar, and each scientific emerging topic by a dot. The farther the dot from the centre of the radar screen, the higher the opportunity for the translation of the anticipatory effort into a positive outcome for humanity. This anticipation potential enables comparison of developments in a wide diversity of fields, including advances in social sciences and humanities, and overcomes the common bias towards prioritising today’s trends over longer-term, but potentially more significant developments. By focusing our efforts on immediate issues, we can overlook, and thus fail to address, the more fundamental questions and potential opportunities related to scientific advances at 25 years.

Each dot on the Science Breakthrough Radar represents a scientific emerging topic with the potential for significant breakthroughs in the coming 25 years – breakthroughs that enhance our understanding of, or the capabilities of, an individual human being by changing the ways in which human beings interact and societies are organised and operate, or by transforming the natural and artificial environment.

We asked panels of scholars to evaluate and discuss, for each emerging topic, the:

  • Expected time to maturity
  • Expected transformational effect across science and industries
  • Current state of awareness among stakeholders and
  • Possible impact on people, society and planet

From their answers we constructed the anticipation potential, which reflects how important it is to anticipate, accelerate and translate developments in this field today. This is in full alignment with GESDAs vision: use the future to build the present.

All the texts presented in the Radar have been reviewed and endorsed by the moderators and the scholars involved in their preparation. For more information on the methodology, please see the Appendix.

The higher the anticipation potential, the farther the dot is from the centre. For more information on the methodology, please see Appendix 1.