TribLIVE

| USWorld


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

World Economic Forum's summit in Davos, Switzerland, full of bold predictions

About The Tribune-Review
The Tribune-Review can be reached via e-mail or at 412-321-6460.
Contact Us | Video | Photo Reprints

Daily Photo Galleries


By The Associated Press

Published: Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013, 5:24 p.m.

DAVOS, Switzerland — Forget the endless debates about the euro or government debts. What does the future hold?

The World Economic Forum at Davos is always a showcase for new research, trends and ideas. And those at the annual gathering of the world's elite don't shy away from making predictions.

Here are some predictions from this year's participants:

Weather and water

Oxford University physicist Tim Palmer — who said as a scientist he preferred probabilities to prediction — noted there is a 10 to 15 percent chance that the Earth will warm by 6 degrees Celsius within a century, leading to “catastrophic consequences for humanity” ranging from extreme weather to rising seas.

Vali Nasr, dean of the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, said many countries will start running out of water in the coming years.

Obsolete employment

Laura Tyson, a business professor at the University of California at Berkeley, said one of the great concerns should be “the employment effects of technology,” with so many jobs being rendered obsolete by scientific or technological advances.

Keys to mental illness

Edward Boyden, an associate professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who directs a neural engineering research group, says new technologies for analyzing the brain will produce significant advances in fighting mental illness.

If scientists can develop new technologies to image the brain and control the brain's cells, he said “over the next half-century or so we should be able to really understand how these networks” generate emotion.

Then, in the case of mental illness, “we can insert information into the cells in order to re-sculpt their dynamics and fix what's broken,” Boyden said.

Global youth unity

Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, now the U.N. special envoy for global education, said huge advances in the Internet and technology are enabling young people to connect with each other and “this is opening up the world in a way that has never happened before.”

“Young people are beginning to see that the gap between the opportunities and rights they have been promised and the opportunities and rights that are delivered to them is wholly unacceptable,” he said at a session on the forum's sidelines.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read World

  1. Holocaust survivors taxed, student finds in search of Amsterdam city archives
  2. Ex-army chief, leftist to seek Egyptian presidency
  3. First lady’s absence from trip unsettles Japan
  4. Yemen: Airstrike targets al-Qaida training camps
  5. Mexico clears way for foreign investors in shale oil drilling
  6. Ukraine, Russia trade blame for shootout in east
  7. Abdullah widens lead in Afghan vote tally
  8. On Easter, Syria’s President Assad visits Christian town recaptured from rebels
  9. Pope pleads for peace, end to starvation, help for needy
  10. In Egypt, government watchdog Genena hit by backlash in uncovering corruption
  11. Pontiff seeks to bring faith to ‘ends of Earth’
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.