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The Wired World

The Wired World

2021

From the creative minds behind WIRED, the recognised authority on the future, THE WIRED WORLD IN 2013 is a new annual trend report that covers a broad range of topics across eight sections; from science to arts, politics to medicine and culture to the environment. With over 100 articles by associates from the far reaches of the WIRED network, this is an invaluable guide to the year ahead for the knowledge-hungry.

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Country:
United Kingdom
Language:
English
Publisher:
Conde Nast Publications Ltd
Frequency:
One-off
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in this issue

1 min.
contributors

DAVID BAKER “When The WIRED World in 2020 went to press in October 2019,” says Baker, who has edited the magazine since its launch in 2012, “none of us had any sense of the catastrophe that would envelop the world just a few months later. But we humans are an adaptable species and, as many of our predictions for 2021 show, we’re already working out how to respond. From smarter ways to work, to AI-based approaches to tackling disease, to more resilient and interconnected global politics, 2021 will demonstrate we’re good at bouncing back from adversity.” JENNIFER DOUDNA Co-winner of the 2020 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, Doudna predicts that, in 2021, “CRISPR gene editing will allow us to act more boldly in the face of interconnected issues.” NIGHAT DAD “Freedom of expression online is declining…

2 min.
2021: a year defined by fundamental changes

DURING THE EARLY DAYS OF THE CORONAVIRUS pandemic, there were various prognoses regarding the nature of a future economic recovery. Around April – perhaps buoyed by the way in which some Asian countries were beginning to rebound after having managed the public health crisis with relative success – many analysts in the west were talking about a V-shaped recovery: a precipitous decline followed by a sharp incline back to where economies had been at the beginning of 2020. As the global economy struggled through the year, the idea of a V-shaped recovery was replaced by something resembling a K. Data from China in the autumn suggested that retail is back at pre-virus levels and exports are growing at double digits. However, it also demonstrated that the bottom 60 per cent of…

3 min.
living on the edge

2021 WILL SHOWCASE THE REAL POWER of distributed computing, with significant processing taking place not in centralised servers in the cloud, but on the “edge” of the network, where much of the data we rely on is generated. This will deliver big gains, not only in computing, but also in the lives of the increasing number of people who will be connected to the power of the internet as a result Edge computing will be crucial to the success of the internet of things (IoT). Between them, IoT devices – from smartphones and smartwatches to tiny computers embedded in machines and infrastructure – generate huge amounts of data. This is processed in the cloud, with relevant data then sent back to the device, instructing it how to react. But latency –…

3 min.
ai will rewrite maths proofs

IT MIGHT COME AS A SURPRISE TO SOME people that this prediction hasn’t already come to pass. Given that mathematics is a subject of logic and precision, it would seem to be perfect territory for a computer. However, in 2021, we will see the first truly creative proof of a mathematical theorem by an artificial intelligence (AI). As a mathematician, this fills me with excitement and anxiety in equal measure. Excitement for the new insights that AI might give the mathematical community; anxiety that we human mathematicians might soon become obsolete. But part of this belief is based on a misconception about what a mathematician does. If I were simply sitting in my office in Oxford doing long division to a lot of decimal places, computers would almost certainly have put…

4 min.
in 2021, will we own and verify our identities

IN A WORLD THAT IS INCREASINGLY DIGITAL, OUR online identities hold the key to accessing social, economic and democratic activities. According to a 2019 report by McKinsey, the potential economic value of digital identity by 2030 will be the equivalent of six per cent of GDP in emerging economies, and three per cent in developed economies. This will come from many sources, including increased use of financial services, better access to employment, escalated agricultural productivity, higher tax revenues and less fraud. Yet, the World Bank estimates 1.8 billion people have no legal form of identity. Without this, individuals are more likely to be exploited, trafficked or confined to a life of servitude. And many of us who do have an online identity find that it is managed by companies such as…

2 min.
ai will enhance remote learning

ISTANCE LEARNING HAS BEEN AROUND for years. But it still came as a rude shock to parents and children when the pandemic forced more than a billion students around the world to try to learn via a screen at home. Under-resourced teachers, unfamiliar technology and massively variable home-schooling conditions meant that, for some, the experience was fraught and ineffective. For many, it even left them questioning the very concept of distance learning. In 2021, however, we will see how technology, specifically artificial intelligence (AI), is the future of education, as it works alongside teachers to deliver successful online lessons. China leads the way in mass-scale e-learning solutions that combine human teachers and AI, with nine education technology unicorns of its own, including VIPKid, Zuoyebang and Yuanfudao. AI allows these companies to…