Humanity stands on the threshold of important events.
Soon, scientists predict a radical breakthrough in several fields of science. The results of studies that are conducted today in the field of medicine, technology and space exploration will fundamentally change life on the planet Earth, writes nv.ua.
The second decade of the XXI century has been very fruitful. We understood the Higgs boson, learned to edit human genes, discovered gravitational waves and extrasolar planets similar to Earth, and made the first quantum teleportation.
All that exceeds the highest expectations of science fiction of the second half of the last century. However, some of their predictions still have not come true. And it is not even about immortality, time travel or free energy. Humanity is powerless before the problems of climate. Still not defeated the threat of the disease. Not created means of protection from dangerous epidemics. The average life expectancy has not increased for decades. We still don’t have a base on the moon, and we know little about the most important mysteries of the Solar system. We will not step closer to understanding are we alone in the Universe. We still do not understand the nature of their own consciousness and are not able to create full-fledged artificial intelligence.
If we can make it in the third decade of the XXI century? To find out, NV analyzed the predictions of leading scientific journals in the world, performances and publications of reputable scientists and applied to their own experts. The picture that emerges before us is both optimistic and a little scary.
Photo: Magazine NV
Today, no one promises to solve the problem of aging in a matter of years, and photographs of famous futurist Aubrey de grey that promises “immortality in this generation” to put on the cover of magazines.
Physicians have become much more cautious in their forecasts. Now we are not talking about miracles, and the consistent evolution. Although this does not mean that progress is not expected. On the contrary, medicine is one of the most promising areas.
You can start even with a universal flu medication. The one, which stays on all medical conferences around the world. “It became the duty sharpness to say that before the creation of the universal flu vaccine remained 10 years,” explains Ames Adalja, infectious disease Center of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore (Massachusetts), emphasizing what they say so for many decades.
However, according to Adali, now this joke is as close as ever to stop being a joke. In 2019 in the United States started clinical human trials of a universal flu vaccine. They are held by the National Institute of infectious diseases USA. We are talking about a single injection of that for a lifetime to protect people from the flu. Further vaccinations be simply not needed.
This vaccine was made possible thanks to the research that showed that, despite the presence of varieties of flu and its constant evolution, some parts of the virus over time remain unchanged. In particular, the hemagglutinin surface protein, which is responsible for cells ability of influenza virus to adhere to the cell-master in the human body. The vaccine is aimed at this constant.
Another similar vaccine, developed by the Israeli company BiondVax, is already in phase three clinical trials. The third phase (in contrast to the first and second with their modest laboratory testing) involves testing on thousands of patients of various age. In this case we are talking about 12 thousand patients, concluded the researchers. And promise to announce the results of the tests at the end of 2020.
This vaccine is not far off and will affect every inhabitant of the civilized world, but a number of other medical breakthroughs, which experts say while looks fantastic, although quite real.
For example, studies of the microbiome, says Dmytro shymkiv, head of the Board of Directors Darnitsa Group. According to him, the microbiome, the ecosystem of microscopic creatures that live inside us can be compared with the microbiome of the ocean, or even planet Earth.
The combination of human DNA and DNA of organisms that live inside the human body determines our health and even mental state. Studying the human microbiome, can predict disease and therefore prevent them or to start timely treatment, says shymkiv.
A big step, he said, will further study human DNA. And not only that they enable us to develop personalised medicines, but also to talk about the creation of drugs for specific genetic profiles of people. According to Shymkiv, the understanding of DNA stimulates the development of preventive medicine. For example, right now there is artificial intelligence system that can diagnose a person diabetes at a stage when the disease is already there, and the symptoms yet.
Looks very promising (although with many pitfalls) technology for editing DNA which is already being tested, says the American medical columnist Melissa Malamut. Theoretically, this technology, known as Crispr, allows to correct the “mistakes” in DNA, protecting people from hereditary diseases and instilling resistance to malaria or HIV.
Among other potential revolutions in medicine Dmytro shymkiv also notes 3D printing (it already allows the manufacture of human skin and certain organs) and cybermediation of the body. In the future this opens up unprecedented prospects: people will be able to improve your vision, sense organs and many other parameters. Theoretically, the sensors can eliminate the need for space heating and night vision function, the need to illuminate the streets at night.
The robots are coming
Artificial intelligence (AI) was one of the major technology stories of the 2010s, says American columnist Bernard Marr. And, apparently, in the next decade, the hype surrounding him will be even greater.
We are still far from real AI that would be self-sufficient in his judgment, however, quite easy to perceive the voice assistants that are leading us, Autonomous vehicles, and even robots-doctors, or rather the people diagnosing dangerous diseases.
According to Marr, in the coming years will greatly increase the role of AI in the financial sector. Here will be all the more prominent processes, moreover, trained neural networks will be not only to generate reports and documentation, but also to make financial projections and, in General, more and more to replace human labor.
Marr is convinced that in the coming years will increase the number of gadgets that use AI. With the advent of augmented reality and Internet of things the role of AI will become more visible.
And, of course, the AI will change our perception of cinema. No, it is too early to say that the neural network will make a movie better than Christopher Nolan or James Cameron. But in the last year on the screens out the Irishman by Martin Scorsese, in which the viewer saw a much rejuvenated al Pacino and Robert De Niro. Rejuvenation of old legends of Hollywood was not concerned with the make-up artists, and the AI is working with already filmed material.
If you abandon the wiser machines, high-profile breakthroughs in the coming years is expected in the field of quantum computers. Google and IBM are investing hundreds of millions of dollars in this area. In recent years, they have achieved impressive results. Computer, each cell (here they are called qubits) which can be not only a unit or zero, but to have two values at the same time (like Schrodinger’s cat, which is alive and dead) can possess the computing power many times exceeding the capabilities of traditional computers.
Such power will play a role in the industry of big data, financial analysis, statistics, astrophysics, genetics, encryption and security and, of course, change the computer games industry.
What is happening today is comparable to the launching in 1944 of the first electronic computer, by which the British tried to decipher German radio messages, says Dario Gil, head of research at IBM.
He admits that the quantum computer is an IBM with only 20 qubits demonstrated in January at CES in Las Vegas, far from solving the world’s problems, but it is only the dawn of a new era.
Photo: CODE of IMMORTALITY
It was a difficult decade, in terms of space exploration. On the one hand, we still haven’t returned to the moon has not moved in space exploration — people continue to swarm to the orbital station ISS. And our fundamental knowledge about the Universe has not changed as much as we would like.
On the other hand, during this time, there has been a technological breakthrough of the company SpaceX, has mastered the rocket reusable, which greatly reduces the cost of space flight. Probes sent to different parts of the Solar system, brought a lot of interesting information about the mysteries of other planets and their satellites. And telescopes of all kinds recorded over 4 thousand exoplanets — the so-called planets around other stars in the Universe.
The next decade promises new breakthroughs. And it’s not in the irrepressible enthusiasm of Elon musk, who promises to mankind the moon and Mars — not all dreams of man come true.
Humanity has turned its gaze into space to stay. In the space industry focused large-scale investments.
According to Sara Seager, an astronomer from the Massachusetts Institute of technology, the most important event will be the commissioning of a new orbiting telescope, the James Webb, which will replace the iconic Hubble.
New telescope excels in all of the old Hubble, in particular, according to Seeger, it is important that it will give the opportunity to see distant solar system in the infrared range. This will open the planet, located far away from their stars.
Also, the new telescope can capture water vapor around distant exoplanets, which is an important sign of the presence on them of the oceans in a liquid state, and is one of the key conditions for the emergence of life, emphasizes Seeger.
Among other important discoveries that can happen in the foreseeable future, appears another water issue. Last year, NASA approved the mission to Europe, Jupiter’s moon.
According to the observations from probes in the last decade, there is a high degree of certainty say that the science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke was right: under the ice on the surface of Europa there is a huge ocean in a liquid state. Its depth can reach tens of kilometers, and the water in it contains more than in all earth’s oceans combined.
The enormous gravity of Jupiter does not give the warm core of Europe to freeze, and consequently, in the depths of this colossal ocean should be quite warm. And only closer to the surface (i.e. to the cold space) it into the ice.
No, it is not about civilization of intelligent fish, but the mission of NASA with spectrometers and radar, sending which is scheduled for 2023-2025 years, may confirm the hypothesis of the existence of the warm ocean under the ice and to give an idea of the prevailing conditions. According to some scholars, even if life on Europa exists only in the form of primitive micro-organisms on the ocean floor, this will radically change the view of life in the Universe. We definitely know that life can emerge somewhere beyond Earth.
From schrödinger’s cat to the Higgs boson
In the past decade, theoretical physics was always the center of attention. Even a non-science layman now knows about Schrodinger’s cat and the various paradoxes of quantum mechanics, and also heard something about the conflict between it and classical physics.
And then there are recently discovered gravitational waves, and the notorious dark energy coupled with dark matter. The Higgs boson, which many call the most important event in physics 2010’s. After all, the Higgs boson, the so-called God particle that gives other particles mass, was the key element of the Standard model, which is the dominant theory in modern particle physics.
But higher mountains can be only mountains. And before the scientific world really to celebrate the opening of the “God particle”, both on the horizon loomed a new goal.
According to Frank Wilczek, Nobel laureate in physics, Professor at mit, in the next decade, we are quite able to detect the axion. This is still a hypothetical (like the Higgs boson at the time), the particle can be the solution to one of the main mysteries of modern physics. Why the laws of physics are the same for particles of matter and antimatter, although their relative coordinates of the opposite?
Also the axion is the main suspect for the role of dark matter particles — the same mysterious substance that makes galaxies fly apart and the Universe to fall apart.
The system has already introduced two major tools for the search of axion — laboratory of ADMX at the University of Washington (USA) and telescope at the Swiss centre CERN. Their use has demanded quite significant budgets. And perhaps they will soon pay off.
According to Wilczek, who in 1978 first proposed the hypothesis of the existence of axions, the mystical particle can be found in the next 5-10 years.
10 major scientific discoveries and technological breakthroughs on the threshold of which stands humanity.
Exoplanet similar to Earth
The desire to find a sister of our mother Earth has mastered many astronomers since the discovery of the first exoplanets. And although at the moment, have already discovered many planets that (hypothetically) can be habitable “second Earth” we have not yet found. Such could be considered a planet similar to the Earth size. Rocky, but with the oceans in a liquid state and the atmosphere, similar to earth. Despite the fact that the current level of space technology does not allow us to even get to our nearest star, the fact that the opening of such a planet would mean a lot. This would increase the chances that we are not alone in the Universe. And let’s be hoped that with the development of technology, we will fly away from the Earth.
A breakthrough in the field of artificial intelligence need is not to create Skynet or the Matrix. Unmanned vehicles — a very simple example of mass application of this technology. Another example is medical robots that are able to diagnose more accurately than doctors people.
Breakthroughs in the field of quantum computers will help to make revolution in several spheres of life. For example, humanity has not enough computing power in astrophysics for processing data about the movement of the stars and the Universe. But much more important can become breakthroughs in genetics, because today for many studies of DNA bottleneck is the capacity of the computing systems that handle genetic data.
First tests universal flu vaccine has already begun in the United States and Israel. They are attended by tens of thousands of people. Theoretically, this vaccine will make a single shot of man in childhood, and in the future he will never get the flu. Perhaps humanity will manage to win one of the most widespread diseases in the world.
The first people with modified organisms are already walking the Earth. In the coming years, technologies of cyborgization will help to restore people’s sight and hearing, lost limbs and organs, and even, if you believe Elon musk, to match the computing power of the machines.
Research in the field of DNA will allow to create medicines designed for specific patient, taking into account the peculiarities of its organism and of the genome. It can become so massive revolution in medicine, and with her fade the advent of antibiotics and the creation of antidepressants.
This technology is able to make a real industrial revolution (customers can themselves produce the necessary goods at home) and no less than a major revolution in medicine. Thanks to 3D printing, doctors will be able to create artificial organs on the spot of future operations. For example, the experience of the human skin for transplantation is already there.
Photo: Jason Blackeye/Unsplash
Electric cars and other vehicles without internal combustion engines needs in the coming years to make an incredible breakthrough. Humanity has nowhere else to retreat as climate changes have become too frightening. A radical reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is impossible without changing the transport infrastructure. Scientific breakthroughs are necessary for making the electric revolution is first and foremost increase their capacity without increasing their weight and increase their rate of charging. And, according to many experts, these breakthroughs can happen in the coming years.
This is still a hypothetical particle predict a great future. She may be the key to understanding the nature of dark matter, and hence to solving the major mysteries of the Universe. Moreover, the axion may is not a specific particle but a whole group of particles, which will open up modern physics new horizons.
Life on Europa
NASA if all goes well, then in the next decade will be sent a research mission to Europe, Jupiter’s moon. Its task will be to test the hypothesis of the existence under the icy surface of the satellite of the warm ocean. It can be the conditions for the emergence of life. No matter if it turns out that this is only a primitive microorganisms. The realization that life can emerge somewhere else, not only on Earth, will have enormous importance for the understanding of man’s place in the Universe.
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