Tech breakthroughs may mean 'digital everything' by 2025

Study focuses on 10 innovation predictions, including teleportation and digitally connected continents

Think you're digitally connected today? Well, you haven't seen anything yet.

Forget carrying a smartphone in your pocket. In about 10 years, we're likely to have digitally connected cars, smart homes, as well as refrigerators and dishwashers that can think for themselves.

On top of that, towns, cities and even continents may be digitally connected and responsive.

That's all according to a new study from the science unit of Thomas Reuters, a media and information company based in New York. The World in 2025: 10 Predictions of Innovation looks at what scientific breakthroughs are likely to make the biggest impact on society over the next decade or so.

"It's human nature to want to know what's coming," wrote the analysts behind the study.

Going through news articles, scientific papers and academic, as well as commercial, research, analysts at Thomas Reuters, culled what they believe will be game-changing technologies and science.

For example, breakthroughs in genetics are expected to greatly improve the prevention and treatment of diseases like dementia and Type I diabetes. Solar energy is expected to become the primary source of energy, while food shortages should come to an end and cancer treatments should have fewer side effects.

In the tech field, one of the breakthroughs was an increasingly digital world.

"The digital world as we know it today will seem simple and rudimentary in 2025," the analysts wrote. "Thanks to the prevalence of improved semiconductors, graphene-carbon nanotube capacitors, cell-free networks of service antenna and 5G technology, wireless communications will dominate everything, everywhere... from the most remote farmlands to bustling cities -- we will all be digitally directed.

"Imagine the day when the entire continent of Africa is completely, digitally connected," they added. "That day will happen in 2025."

The phrase "Beam me up, Scotty," which Star Trek made famous, also may get more usage in another 10 years.

According to Thomas Reuters, actual quantum teleportation will be tested in 2025.

"The frequent request heard on Star Trek will not be such an abstract concept as we move through the 21st Century," the analysts wrote. "We are on the precipice of this field's explosion; it is truly an emerging research front. Early indicators point to a rapid acceleration of research leading to the testing of quantum teleportation in 2025."

The report points to the physics work that has been done with at CERN's Large Hadron Collide to find the elusive Higgs boson. Measurement techniques developed to understand the particles generated in the collider use new kinematical techniques -- a form of classic physics that studies the motion of objects and groups of objects.

OK, don't get too excited. The study notes that by 2025 humans won't be teleporting from one place to another. However, "significant investment in and testing" will be well underway.

This article, Tech breakthroughs may mean 'digital everything' by 2025, was originally published at Computerworld.com.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her email address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

See more by Sharon Gaudin on Computerworld.com.

Read more about emerging technologies in Computerworld's Emerging Technologies Topic Center.

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