What should the next wave of science be in order to make the most valuable impact or address the most pressing need? Please join in...
Science in the twentieth; and now twenty-first centuries has made huge strides in the medical sciences, space exploration, technology, mining, food production, manufacturing, and forensics.
We understand DNA and can now even grow organs. While we still have terrible diseases that cause the early demise of thousands, medical science seems to be on the precipice of facilitating the longevity of our species to several hundred years.
Likewise, we can send robotic vehicles in the form of probes to other worlds, sending images and other information back to earth in order to continually move our knowledge of the solar system and universe forward.
Computers are becoming as plentiful as notebook paper and pencils. Robotics has already replaced the need for humans to perform dangerous or tedious manufacturing processes. Just over the horizon lies the promise of devices to perform the most basic and common farming and household duties so that humans no longer have a need to perform manual labor; picking, storing or preparing food; cleaning, washing clothing, polishing in order to maintain an efficient household.
Science is also focused on energy creation. Using the already existing technologies of wind, solar, methane and other gases, battery and others in a combined effort; we could probably eliminate the need for fossil fuel use within three decades world-wide. The only thing holding that up is greed and the desire for control and not capability nor an appetite to see it occur.
The two places science must invest and focus on that will bring fundamental world-wide change to humankind are: food creation and sustainable living.
Science understands a great deal about food. We can create food labels containing the number of calories, carbohydrates, fats, sugars, vitamins and so on. We understand how plant genetics function; how plants take minerals from the soil and also convert sunlight into simple sugars in order to grow and produce. There are literally thousands of different foods. Each has some appeal to human taste and smell or we wouldn't consume them. Each has some nutritional value. Science needs to create a food that doesn't have to be grown, or that relies on soil; but rather can be manufactured in large quantities for world-wide distribution. It doesn't need to be a perfect food, providing 100% of a human's daily nutritional needs. Instead, it needs to be easily produced from some elements that are extremely plentiful, it must appeal to our sense of taste and smell and have some nutritional value.
Lastly, science must provide a means for humans to populate the earth in a sustainable way, live anywhere without being concerned for food or water and have our basic human needs met; while living longer than ever and not having to perform manual labor in order to survive. We are very close to these human aspirations now, but these fly in the face of our spiraling populations and our basic human need to be productive. We must solve these challenges before we end up killing ourselves through political or religious differences or becoming batteries as the movie The Matrix portrayed. We humans are smarter and can overcome these challenges as long as we can work TOGETHER and the people of science can continue to provide solutions.