The World of Tomorrow: Innovative Ideas for the Future
We do not know what the world of tomorrow will look like. But this will not keep us from casting an eye to the future: regularly, right here, starting now. Our series 'The World of Tomorrow and the Day After' takes up trend-setting ideas, megatrends and innovative research projects.
What we do today and what resources we use to do it will have an impact on the world of tomorrow. Throughout the world, scientists and academics in research institutes and think tanks are busy trying to predict social changes and future developments. Most experts assume that three major factors will affect our future: climate change, population growth and resource scarcity. These factors are bound up with a series of problems that we will have to solve, including water shortages, insufficient drinking water and growing poverty. If we are more sparing of water and take greater care of this, our most precious raw material, for example, future generations will be less likely to suffer from shortages.
It is 40 years since the Club of Rome published its controversial study 'The Limits to Growth'. Using systems analyses and computer simulations, the authors arrived at a grim prognosis for the world of tomorrow: 'If the present growth trends in world population, industrialization, pollution, food production, and resource depletion continue unchanged, the limits to growth on this planet will be reached sometime within the next hundred years.'
… and ambitious goals for the world of tomorrow
Today, the Club of Rome is working together with international researchers, experts and decision-makers from politics, business and civil society to come up with recommendations on how a 'global society in the 21st century' might be structured. These recommendations include innovative concepts such as the DESERTEC Project to produce solar energy in desert areas.
At the UN Millennium Summit back in September 2000, an equally challenging vision of the future was presented. Heads of state and government from more than 180 countries agreed upon eight Millennium Development Goals to solve existing and future problems facing the world's people: to halve the number of people suffering from hunger, and to improve education and healthcare and foster economic and ecological development for people everywhere.
Innovative projects for the world of the day after tomorrow
What sustainable, forward-looking innovations will enable us to attain these goals? Europe's largest organisation for research and development services, Germany's Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft for the Advancement of Applied Research, is concerned with just this question and is searching for answers. With an annual budget of EUR 1.8 billion, more than 20,000 experts conduct research on innovative, application-related projects for the future. Thus Fraunhofer researchers are developing new separation and sorting technologies for resource-conserving production. The Fraunhofer Society has combined five of these future projects to form a programme under the heading 'Beyond Tomorrow'. Within three years, the first marketable results are to be available in the fields of mobility, health, energy, environment and security.
Tomorrow Today – The science magazine of Deutsche Welle
Lively, exciting reports from all areas of science that play a key role in our future – from space travel to medical research, from new discoveries by psychologists to studies on the city of tomorrow. The series regularly introduces new programmes on exciting topics about the future (in German only).
Megatrends for future developments
The Fraunhofer Society sees 'research-intensive growth markets' for the ‘Day-After-Tomorrow’ research projects that will draw the attention of industry and the private sector. To meet tomorrow's market demand, corporate strategies must be geared to megatrends, advises Z_punkt, a consulting firm for future issues. The company has identified 20 'megatrends' that will shape the world of tomorrow. These trends lie in the same areas that the Fraunhofer Society has identified for its 'Day-After-Tomorrow' projects.
We, too, will be reporting on developments in these areas in greater detail. We will introduce specific projects and initiatives and give examples of the innovative ideas today's researchers have come up with to make the world of tomorrow and the day after a better place for all. Our own prognosis for the world of tomorrow? An exciting place to live in!
A glance at the near future in our 'World of Tomorrow' series promises innovative answers to the problem of mobility. When it comes to future mobility, the electric car is a ready candidate, being a relatively low-pollution and noise-free vehicle. But how is the necessary electricity to be generated? What infrastructure will be needed to charge electric cars? What do alternatives such as the hydrogen car have to offer? Our first report takes up the question 'What will follow the electro car – or does our future lie in electromobility?'
Your opinion on 'Die Welt von Morgen – The World of Tomorrow'
What is your vision of the world of tomorrow? What innovative projects of the future do you know about? Tell us in the comments how do you think we can help improve tomorrow’s world today.