Leading thinkers predict technologies that will turn the world upside-down

[ Wed. Dec. 31. 2008 ]
[Caption: Ian McEwan muses that we will look back and 'wonder why we ever thought we had a problem when we are bathed in such beneficent radiant energy'. Photograph: Getty]
 
Flying cars, personal jetpacks, holidays on the moon, the paperless office – the predictions of futurologists are, it seems, doomed to fail. The only thing predictable about the future is its unpredictability.
 
But that has not stopped edge.org – the online intellectual salon – asking which ideas and inventions will provide humanity's next leap forward. In its traditional New Year challenge to the planet's best thinkers it asks, "What will change everything – What game-changing scientific ideas and developments do you expect to live to see?"