At the end of each year, a raft of technology and science sites pick up their crystal balls and make some predictions for the coming 12 months. They’re always fun to read, whether or not they end up being proven right or whether they miss whatever does turn out to be the next big thing. So below I’ve listed a few of the best articles predicting technology, science, and investing trends for 2018. My own pick for the coming year is something that only attracted ripples of interest in 2017 but which could become widely known in 2018 – that science is very close to ending aging, or at least radically extending health span (the years of healthy life) and probably life span itself. The first clinical trials of a class of drugs known as ‘senolytics’ are due to take place in 2018. These drugs target dead cells (‘senescent cells’) which build up in the body over time and are widely believed to contribute to aging. When experiments on aged mice were conducted, clearing out the dead cells of the elderly rodents resulted not only longer lifespans but apparently healthier and rejuvenated bodies, with many of the mice even regrowing lost fur.
Although the company trialing senolytic drugs in 2018 is not publicly listed, it is worth thinking about the more wider investment opportunities that will be created in a society in which life spans, and more importantly health spans, are radically extended in as little as perhaps the next decade or two, with increasing social awareness of this coming change beginning in 2018.
Two books published recently that explore these topics fully are Juvenescense : Investing in the age of Longevity, and The 100 Year Life : Living and Working in an Age of Longevity
Senolytic drugs will likely be the first true rejuvenation therapy to hit the market, but others are likely to follow. A good review of the exciting state of research into possible therapies at the end of 2017 can be found at FightingAging.org
The writers of SingularityHub offered their opinions on what technologies were most worth keeping an eye on in 2018. Answers included cryptocurrency and blockchain, fake news fighting technology, pay-as-you-go solar power, and virtual personal assistants.
Futurologist Ross Dawson has produced some future tech infographics for next year and beyond :
2017 was the year in which they hype for virtual reality was brought down to Earth with less than stellar headset sales and even the failure of notable startups such as social VR effort Altspace. Nethertheless, many cautious but wise heads now expect growth to be a slow but steady path to mainstream adoption. Indeed there are may reasons for VR enthusiasts and investors to look forward to the coming year, with a number of stand alone VR headsets (no tethering OR mobile phones required) such as the Oculus Go being released, as well as the first 8K headset hopefully on its way from Primax. As well as VR, augmented reality will be on millions of phones worldwide and we could be just one killer app away from a trillion dollar industry.
An interesting article from engadget looking at VR and AR in 2018 : https://www.engadget.com/2017/12/20/vr-and-ar-in-2018/