- Make solar energy affordable.
- Provide energy from fusion.
- Develop carbon sequestration methods.
- Manage the nitrogen cycle.
- Provide access to clean water.
- Restore and improve urban infrastructure.
- Advance health informatics.
- Engineer better medicines.
- Reverse-engineer the brain.
- Prevent nuclear terror.
- Secure cyberspace.
- Enhance virtual reality.
- Advance personalized learning.
- Engineer the tools for scientific discovery.
Number 14 piques my curiosity. I have some ideas about what the panel may mean when they say 'engineer the tools for scientific discovery'. They aren't talking about scientific inventions, but scientific discoveries which could range from anything between understanding the genetic make up of human species to unearthing fossils or lost civilizations. Scientific discovery in the field of medicine can enable better living standards and in other fields like archeology or paleontology can offer valuable insights about how the earth came to be what it is today and where it may be headed. But this is something only the rich countries can afford to do while the rest are busy either catching up (like India & China) or go down (central African countries).
Number 11 is a no brainer. By the end of the century computers/internet would have radically transformed the way people live. They would have taken new shapes, forms, acquired immense power, would have great reach and will play a vital role in how the economic engine of countries works. Within my lifetime, I'll probably have my preferences set in a repository which will contain data about how hot my bathing water should be, my video rentals, my cuisine choices, etc. When I check into a hotel, they'll have access to these information and will be able to provide personalized services. Now, with this kind of personal data on the internet, security is something that will strongly touch a common man.