The Future of Medicine

Our FWD Team reports on the future of Health and Medicine

WITH MORE THAN A CENTURY of combined experience at the frontiers of technology, business and science, our team of researchers, editors, doctors and designers set out to explore future scenarios in what we consider the most fascinating, important, complex and, ultimately, personal topic there is: MEDICINE.

Forces and Uncertainty

Our goal for this project, made possible by a collaboration with the Jacobs Institute, is more practical than simply unveiling startling scenarios from the next twenty years. By highlighting the emergent forces that will precipitate the changes illustrated here, we hope to give our readers a framework and a set of tools that will help them team up with one another to build bridges—bridges connecting today’s dynamic and uncertain reality to some of the massively beneficial future states laid out here. But first, and just as importantly, we hope the report will serve as the catalyst to spark the initial conversations that give rise to those bridge-building collaborations.

The Pace of Innovation

As we compared notes over months of interviews, conferences and research, the surprises came frequently. The common theme was speed: how quickly ordinary people are embracing the concept of genetic engineering; the acceleration of machine learning’s role in diagnostics; the rapidly changing job outlook for the medical practitioner workforce; the speed and diversity of medical innovation happening in developing areas around the world.

Among the most profound realizations that occurred to our team: at the same time as advanced imaging technology gives us an increasingly clear picture of our present physiological status, the convergent trio of genomics, big data and predictive analytics gives us an increasingly clear line of sight into both our biological past and future. When coupled with advanced technology, DNA turns out to be that most elusive of science fiction plot devices: a working time-travel mechanism.

Our hope is that the ensuing conversation and debate will serve to help the industry’s leaders navigate past the obstacles presented by our rapidly changing environment and create a future that improves lives around the world.


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