On the eve of New Year’s, it is customary to take a look into the near future. We asked HSE experts in various fields to share their forecasts on which areas of research might be the most interesting and promising in 2017. They tell us about what discoveries and breakthroughs await us in 2017, as well as how this could even change our lives.
Artificial intelligence will, without question, be developed over the next 5-10 years. In the coming year, significant progress is expected to take place in solving three key tasks that will help achieve this feat.
In the field of mathematics, forecasts are made not for the upcoming year, but for centuries ahead. However, today, the opposite process is taking place in it. And this may result in a crisis for mathematics over the long-term. At the same time, other trends might reinforce the field thanks to the growing number of links between different areas of mathematics.
Urban governance will be based on big data rather than on any purely administrative rationale, and just building homes will not be enough to ensure people feel comfortable. This change is already underway in capitals and other large cities, and other cities and towns will follow.
The concept of thought-reading is longer science fiction; computer translation is improving; and linguists are no longer ashamed to ask ‘why people talk the way they do on the Internet’.
Studies of ancient DNA have changed our view of the history of humanity. As such, advanced analysis of separate cells’ genomes will help generate breakthroughs in our understanding of early embryonic human development over the several next years. At the same time, in terms of research of bacterial communities, we still don’t know how to pose the correct questions.
The debate about the concepts of ethics no longer applies solely to an individual’s moral principles and self-knowledge. Ethics has become an engineering problem. The question then arises, what principles should we build in to autonomous machines that operate and make decisions in the real world?
In 2017, we expect neurolinguisitcs to continue developing such applications as standardized tests for speech deficiencies. Furthermore, there should be further joint work among neurolinguists and surgeons, as well as new emerging neurolinguistics-oriented therapeutic studies with the application of various neurovisualizational methods.
The most important thing we must keep in mind when talking about future innovation is that there is no one single scenario or outcome. For instance, we may have forgotten or missed something, and this might appear as a surprise. Then, as follows, a new trend or area of studies will emerge. There also is a particular Russian specialty: some trends already exist, but it’s nevertheless impossible to understand their actual scale.
Game theory, decision theory, network analysis, experimental economics — these are the areas that will develop rapidly in the coming years, bringing together scholars from different research fields.