I love this kind of shit: speculating on the future. Hedge your bets now for the end of the decade will be fast approaching in another 9 years. The Experts have spoken.
2020 vision: where will we be in a decade's time?
Our experts make twenty predictions for the end of the next decade.
Published: 7:00AM GMT 02 Jan 2010 UK Telegraph
Ten years ago, I would have said that by 2010 gene therapy would be a standard medical treatment – and I would have been wrong. Two years ago, my prediction was that there would be no real impact for at least a decade; but I was probably wrong there, too. My guess is that, for some people, and depending on how it is defined, gene therapy will be an important part of hi-tech medicine by about 2018. But for the health of most people, it will remain irrelevant.
Prof Steve Jones, Professor of Genetics at University College, London
We will understand better some of the world’s biggest killers, notably cancer and HIV/Aids. Despite advances in understanding the genetic basis of Alzheimer’s, it probably won’t result in a cure this decade. In surgery, big advances include the increasing involvement of robotics in the operating theatre. Surgeons will use “non-invasive” techniques, entering through the body’s natural orifices rather than using scalpels to enter.
Dr Max Pemberton, author and doctor
2010 is likely to see the final flights of NASA’s workhorse, the space shuttle. The forthcoming space race will be among private enterprises. We will see the creation of “synthetic life”. Since 2007, American Craig Venter has been on the verge of unveiling a living bacterium carrying a DNA code made from scratch in the lab. Others are working on an entirely synthetic cell. We will see attempts at a planetary fix (geoengineering), a Manhattan-scale global project to curb harmful climate change.
Dr Roger Highfield, editor of New Scientist
Technology will infiltrate every aspect of our lives – the mobile phone will become a gateway to global communications, and link seamlessly to the web and every screen in homes and offices. Supermarkets will restock your internet-connected fridge automatically. Expect a pervasive sense of being watched – probably not by government, but by big corporations.
Matt Warman, DT technology editor
There are now three times more mobile phone subscribers than internet users. In the decade ahead, mobile and web will collide to fulfil the promise of technology: helping people help themselves. The open exchange of information will lead to a more informed, engaged, and more empathetic global citizenry.
Biz Stone, founder, Twitter
High-speed rail will transform travel in the UK. I am excited about the possibilities it holds in terms of shorter journeys, environmental benefits, encouraging investment and boosting business and jobs.
Andrew Adonis, Secretary of State for Transport
It will be the hottest decade ever as global warming continues, though individual years will vary. Renewables will boom, especially solar power, as new technologies and falling prices kick in. Nuclear power will make no real contribution; any new reactors will not come on stream before the end of the decade. Evidence that mobile phones endanger health will increase. Continued shrinkage of the Arctic ice-cap could provide the first climate “tipping point”.
Geoffrey Lean, DT environment columnist
I’m tempted to say that, in 2020, the Anglican Communion will be poised on the edge of schism, as its 107th openly homosexual bishop is consecrated. Plus ça change … Anglicanism will have fragmented into national and denominational shards. Women bishops will no longer frighten the horses. Pope Benedict XVI may be succeeded by a less ambitiously orthodox pontiff. As for Islam, things will get worse before they get better, through no fault of the vast majority of peace-loving Muslims.
George Pitcher, DT religion editor
A brace of US Open titles for Andy Murray but alas no Wimbledon crown; a stunning London Olympics; Argentina to win football and rugby World Cups; a mind boggling sub-42 seconds 400m world record from Usain Bolt; England to take their first cricket World Cup; Rory McIlroy to challenge Nick Faldo’s British record of six golf Majors; Tiger Woods to “redeem” himself with an Olympic golf gold medal (2016); and Ben Ainslie to win the America’s Cup for Britain. Finally, a Briton to win the Tour de France.
Brendan Gallagher, DT sports writer
Written literature will divide. Disposable celebrity memoirs will be delivered electronically, in tiny bursts. Published works will be delivered with alterations commissioned by the end-user. Pride and Prejudice with more sex and violence? Yours, for £3.99. The audience for serious works will survive. Books may have to prove themselves with an audience before a publisher will print copies. A talent to watch? The novelist Evie Wyld.
Philip Hensher, literary critic
We’ll see fewer global stars, more localisation and a dissemination of cross-pollinating musical styles created by bedroom studio wizards. Guitar-based rock will become the preserve of old-school arenas. The decline of the reality TV talent show model will leave a hole, to be filled by fictionalised TV-internet stars. The LP will leap onto a multimedia web-based sound and vision remixing platform – and fail. The fortunes of the music business will decline further; music itself will thrive as a more hands-on activity.
Neil McCormick, DT music critic
Britain will finally address both its catastrophic undersupply of new housing and the low quality of what it is building. Britain’s architects are having to adjust to the fact that there is less work around and tighter budgets. Add the growing challenge of environmental sustainability, and the next decade will be a highly testing one for the profession.
Ellis Woodman, architecture critic
We’ll see a rediscovery of morals in matters of production and consumption. Making things will become more important, both economically and culturally. True value will be separated from mere cost. We will want better, not merely more, and with that will come more dignified consumer behaviour: gross indulgence will soon acquire the stigma currently attached to drink-driving.
Stephen Bayley, design critic
We will enter a golden age in British theatre. There is enough money, thanks to sustained subsidies and commercial success. Our major theatres are run by the best. Our acting talent is the envy of the world. There are budding playwrights on every street corner. The country is experiencing profound change, which can only energise new writing further. Digital technology will help export this theatre boom on a scale comparable to the pop music revolution of the Fifties and Sixties.
Dominic Cavendish, DT theatre critic
Following James Cameron’s Avatar, we can expect an explosion in 3D blockbusters. New ways to see and distribute films will lead to a far broader idea of cinema than Hollywood would like to admit. Already the success of the South African sci-fi thriller District 9 bodes well for the health of large-scale, independent productions from around the world. It will be exciting to see which other countries throw their hats into the ring.
Tim Robey, DT film critic
More viewing will take place online and on demand but live TV events such as The X Factor will continue to glue viewers to their sofas. Global marketing will collide with soaring production costs to create truly international dramas, co-produced by many national broadcasters including the BBC, which no government will be foolish enough to abolish. The big winners will be those with the ambition to conquer the world: brace yourselves for the ongoing rise of Simon Cowell.
Neil Midgley, DT media editor
The UK will be like Havana, with almost all of us growing some of our food. Gardening will be less ornamental and more productive. Expect destructive winds and tropical rain – which will take lots of precious topsoil with it – and very definite winters. We’ll have to bring more in under cover or start with new plants each spring.
Sarah Raven, gardening expert
Supermarkets will sell more British food. A packaging revolution will see more compostable bags and fresh foods with longer shelf lives. Labelling will clearly state country of origin. Nutritionally enhanced foods will flourish and obesity decline, but GM foods will get a stronger foothold in Europe. Organic and molecular cuisine will give way to bistro cooking and local food. M&S will lead on ethical sourcing. We’ll eat more quince, tonka beans, emmer (a grain), British olives and spider crab.
Rose Prince, food writer
The combination of being the most knowing generation ever and one that has to find its place in a wrecked economy should fire up entrepreneurial innovation in the young. Fewer jobs and pricey further education will see sixth formers marketing their own products and leading the generation’s tastes for extreme hair styles, make-up, jewellery, sunglasses and bedroom accessories. The high street will still sell clothes, but the fashion electricity will come from a different direction.
Sarah Mower, fashion critic
The noughties were defined by fast-fashion for those prepared to buy, wear and bin. The next decade will see well-made, British-made, higher-priced items come to the fore as people cherish, customise and take an interest in how and who made their garments. Disposable fashion will go the way of the battery chicken. Many will order their underwear on their iPhone and delivery vans will clog up the traffic. But the high street will never die, with the best shopkeepers offering tailoring and personalised shopping to beat the internet.
Harry Wallop, DT consumer affairs correspondent
Um, Patriarchy? We Have a Problem - Heads up: We are living in a society that’s being run by immature men. We are regressing as a country. We need to cultivate MATURE masculinity. Patriarchy ...
2 days ago