I was asked by the Institute for the Future
to highlight a dozen "Signals" that may point to new trends in science as part of the X2 Project
Today, science is entering another period of accelerated change, thanks to the growth of the Internet and dawn of pervasive computing; the explosive growth of new sciences like genetic engineering, nanotechnology, biotechnology, and simulation; the rise of new scientific powers in the developing world, the revival of amateur scientists, and the growth of citizen science movements in the United States and Europe; the growth of new institutions supporting scientific research and innovation, and changes in the structure and funding of universities, government, and corporate R&D labs. Science in 2025 and 2050 is going to look very different than it does today.
To map and make sense of all these changes, the Institute for the Future (IFTF) launched the X2 Project in late 2007. The purpose of X2 is to identify future disruptions, opportunities, and competitive landscapes related to the content and dynamics of global science and technology innovation; to develop a new platform for understanding global innovation trends; and to present this information to policy- and decision-makers, as well as the general public, in a useful form. The project conducts its research online, through an innovative experiment in open forecasting; in workshops with young scientists and engineers around the world; and in online games.
Here are the 12 that I came up with:
- Open Collaborative Research Proposals
- Communicating Science with Blogs
- Spontaneous Publication of Raw Research Data
- Routine Virtual Meetings in Second Life
- Empirical Investigation of Virtual World Properties
- Uploading of Spectra on ChemSpider
- Open Source Drug Discovery
- Automation of Crystallization by an Academic Group
- Robot Scientist Creates and Evaluates Microbiology Hypotheses
- Data Vizualization Group in Second Life
- InChIKey Web Services Facilitates Indexing of Molecules
- The X2 Project!