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What's the next big breakthrough for humanity?

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Aug 25, 2020
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Necessity

Is the problem still unsolved?

Conciseness

Is it concisely described?

In your opinion, what's the next big thing for humanity?

Something that will change our lives on par with the discovery of antibiotics, invention of the internet, and smartphone. Let's get the obvious ones out of the way. If we exclude the following:
  • self-driving cars
  • artificial intelligence
  • brain-computer interface
  • extreme lifespan extension
  • Mars colonization
What's next for us and why do you think so?
9
Creative contributions

Virtual reality closest to actual reality

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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni Aug 26, 2020
Currently, we can talk to and see people live, who are thousands of miles away. We have recently developed the digital scent technology that has allowed us to transmit smell electronically. However, to the best of my knowledge, we cannot transmit taste or sensations (touch-wise). If we can figure that out, experiences, which currently involve virtual reality, can then be brought as close as possible to actual reality. This may be the next big breakthrough for humanity.
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Jamila
Jamila a year ago
I always thought about this! People can see each other and hear each other on video calls.. but we can't smell things, taste things, and experience other sensations. If we could do that, it would be very close to actual reality. I think if these things were achievable it would be a big breakthrough! Also, side note - I didn't realize we could transmit smell electronically now, that is so cool! Thank you for the new piece of information!
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarnia year ago
Thank you Jamila! Yes, smell transmission is fairly new and has not become mainstream yet. It also requires special and probably cumbersome apparatus on both the sending and receiving ends. Let's hope it gets practical soon enough!
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Darko Savic
Darko Savica year ago
Finally, friends can share farts online! :) Imagine a website catalog of the nastiest smells known to humanity. Such a project could be bigger than 9gag. Kids would gather around the fart-box and dare each other to click the next one:)
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Long-distance wireless electricity

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Jamila
Jamila Aug 25, 2020
In the 1890s, Nikola Tesla showed that he could light up bulbs using a Tesla coil even though he was more than 2 miles away, he did this through electromagnetic induction! So in the future, we may be able to experience life in a different kind of way! In a wireless kind of way! For instance, we could be charging our phones whilst walking around and doing our normal routines, electric cars could be reenergized without being physically connected to a power outlet and so many other things could benefit from this. We already have wireless charging for cars and phones but at much smaller distances, at longer distances, this technology would be revolutionary. Before this can happen though, the technology would need to be tested to ensure that it is completely safe to use, and then electrical output stations would need to be placed around the community and devices would need to be made compatible with them, so it may not be a quick job! We are slowly getting there but we still do have quite a bit of work to do till then. Resource: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0i67E48OV0
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LA
Loukik Aroraa year ago
An interesting step forward in this direction - https://www.transferfi.com/ Its a Singapore based startup. The founders have chosen industrial IoT as their proving ground!
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Jamila
Jamila a year ago
wow, that is so interesting! Thanks for the amazing link, I had no idea about this! On the transferfi website, they say that the technology will work safely over 25 meters!! Let's see how it turns out! :)
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Darko Savic
Darko Savica year ago
On the Joe Rogan podcast, Neil DeGrasse Tyson didn't speak of this idea highly. Here is the video, (see from 1:05 onward) https://youtu.be/iRXyCwyicLA?t=65
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Personalized 3d organs printing

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Arvind kumar sharma
Arvind kumar sharma Aug 27, 2020
With so much revolution in Tissue engineering and Regenerative medicine, which involves repairing, reconstructing, or replacement strategies for treating patients with a diseased or damaged organ or tissue, Personalized organ printing ie using the pateint's own cells ,could soon be a reality. The range of DNA Sequencing has also increased tremendously, also with a fully automated system and enhanced AI, its combination with Tissue engineering can be the next breakthrough.
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Storage Capacity and Big Data

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CS
christos stefanis Aug 29, 2020
These days everything is transformed into data. Not only environmental parameters but health conditions are a data concept. This circulation of information demands a high degree of security and storage capability of data centers. Consequently, storage technologies should go hand-in-hand with the production and management of such data. Technologies in this field such as DNA data storage and the exploitation of them in portable disks (USB-storage devices) could be the next big thing DNA's technologies as a storage medium. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167739X17312876
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Taming the atomic power

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LA
Loukik Arora Sep 12, 2020
All our ideas, all the major progress is dependent on one BIG factor - a source of energy, and the focus has been shifting to electric power and energy. We found several ways of generating, storing electricity and well, it is as ubiquitous in our lives as water or air. However, generating or using electricity comes with its own set of challenges whether its usage of fossil fuels - limited and polluting, renewable sources - limited access, uncertainty and in certain cases - considerable environmental impact. When nuclear or atomic power caught our attention - it gave us huge amount of energy as equally big challenges and the inclination towards atomic energy has since been declining. With this background, I believe if we can truly tame the atomic power to mitigate the challenges of radioactive waste (consider circular fission-fusion reactions) and scale it down to make "safer" atomic generators or even atomic batteries - I believe it would be indeed a breakthrough for humankind - not to mention, a lot of our other potential breakthroughs will become far more achievable!
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Genetically engineered add-on features

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Aug 25, 2020
Similarly to how people nowadays go for cosmetic surgery or competitive doping, in the future, we might go for genetically engineered enhancements. Once this practice reaches critical mass and people (biohackers) get good at tweaking at home or pirating gene-therapies from big corporations, such practices might become a part of our everyday lives. Teenagers might grow real horns, spikes, and tails for the same reasons they get tattoos today. On a more serious note: super-soldiers, super-intelligence, super-speed, super-sight, super-you-name-it.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savica year ago
Already in this direction, Bioviva is doing gene-therapies for telomerase activation, myostatin inhibition, etc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BioViva
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Precision Agriculture and Controlled Environment Farming

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Subash Chapagain
Subash Chapagain Sep 03, 2020
As more and more scientific evidence for anthropogenic climate change compiles and points towards the inevitability of food insecurity and loss of agricultural efficiency as a major threat to humanity, the next breakthrough for humans as a species is likely to be on the frontiers of food production and nutritional security. Precision Agriculture (PA), hence, has emerged as one of the novel concepts of the twenty-first century which holds the promise of incorporating new technologies into farming and agriculture, reducing net energy input while maximizing yield. PA can be defined as a site-specific crop production and management approach where predictive tools are used to optimally utilize resources like irrigation, fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. By modulating the application rate of these resources to the most optimal level, PA automates in-field management of crops and adjusts the usage of water, fertilizer and associated inputs thereby effectively maintaining agronomic and ecological balance [1]. When coupled with the latest generation of biotechnological interventions, this approach can not just help us sustain climate change's threat to food security, but also ensure that we can work towards rectifying the environmental degradation that we have caused so far. What makes PA a possible breakthrough is the rapid acceleration of data-driven decision making in agriculture, development of the Internet of Things (IoT) and nanotechnology-assisted biosensors for farming. For example, nano encapsulated fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides will regulate the release of these agrochemicals in a slow and sustained manner resulting in a precise dosage required by each plant depending on its maturity and growth requirements. On top of that, PA can always be integrated into unorthodox farming techniques like vertical farming, hydroponics and dessert farming as well. This means an increased production efficiency and a massive reduction in wastage. A slightly different but related concept to Precision Agriculture is Controlled Environment Farming that can be applied not just to conventional crops but also to high-value herbs and medicinal plants as well. As an astounding breakthrough in this technology, Chinese researchers have managed to efficiently grow the widely sought-after half-moth-half-herb Cordyceps sinensis widely known for an array of medicinal properties [2]. This approach enables growers to mimic the exact natural habitat and growth parameters of such otherwise uncultivable high-value medicinal plants and makes it possible for the industrial-scale cultivation. This means that in the near future, we can imagine most of the medicinal plants being grown on a large scale under artificially orchestrated settings. As we know that most if not all source of our pharmaceutical products are such plants, we can expect the prices of medicines dropping while the availability and accessibility increasing day by day. Hence, combined together, these two approaches to growing food and medicines are surely going to be the next breakthrough for humanity. Link to world government summit report on the next-gen farming: https://www.worldgovernmentsummit.org/api/publications/document?id=95df8ac4-e97c-6578-b2f8-ff0000a7ddb6 References: 1. Bhakta, I., Phadikar, S., & Majumder, K. (2019). State‐of‐the‐art technologies in precision agriculture: a systematic review. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 99(11), 4878–4888. https://doi.org/10.1002/jsfa.9693 2. Li X, Liu Q, Li W, et al. A breakthrough in the artificial cultivation of Chinese cordyceps on a large-scale and its impact on science, the economy, and industry. Crit Rev Biotechnol. 2019;39(2):181-191. doi:10.1080/07388551.2018.1531820
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Integration of Diverse Human Societies.

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Mohammad Shazaib
Mohammad Shazaib Aug 25, 2020
I think the inventions in science and technology will enhance the connections between diverse cultures and societies. It will be an age of Integration. Science and technology has brought humanity into one global society, through wireless internet connection, globalization and there are much more advanced technology is under consideration. In the near future we will see cultures emerging into one another regardless of their geographic boundaries. That will bring human civilization to a new heights of organizing humanity.
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Philosophy

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Spook Louw
Spook Louw Apr 14, 2021
This is an interesting discussion because at the rate things are advancing it's almost certain that the next revolutionary breakthrough will be within our lifetime.

Elon Musk's Neuralink could be a huge step, we should definitely keep an eye on that. As Loukik Arora mentioned above, there are also still vast possibilities with atomic power (although the support for and subsequently the speed of the research has obviously gone down over the years).

But I believe the next truly groundbreaking change for humanity will be a philosophical one. All around the world governments are failing, people are deeply unhappy and the economic system is crushing most of the population. We're at a breaking point, which means we'll either break or adapt.

I think if someone can come up with a new form of governance, or simply a new way to approach life, it could change the world.

It might sound far fetched, but truly lifechanging ideas always do. And it really isn't even that impossible, we just can't really imagine it because we don't know exactly what to imagine, but as soon as it happens, we won't be able to imagine a life without it.

Think about it this way, democracy, for instance, isn't a new concept. The oldest democracy dates back to 430 B.C. yet some countries held their first democratic elections as recently as 2015 while others still have not adopted democracy at all .

So if people could live for almost 2500 years without democracy, in varying degrees of prosperity of course, it just goes to show that there are alternatives. I think a radical new approach that can account for some of the problems with democracy would be the next major breakthrough for humanity.

[1]https://www.oldest.org/politics/democracies/

[2]https://www.history.com/news/what-is-the-worlds-oldest-democracy

[3]https://borgenproject.org/5-youngest-democratic-nations/

[4]https://borgenproject.org/top-five-non-democratic-countries/

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