Humanity’s Top 10 Problems for Next 50 Years

When you really want to have an impact on the world, where do you start? I mean, it’s great that  you improve the local community and have a social impact and wow it works great with investors to build a sustainable business. But what does it matter that a school in Mexico can find their way with 3D printing and print artificial limbs for disabled people when in 50 years oceans rise 7 meters or water, energy and food shortages might disrupt the way we live?

Dr. Richard Smalley shared a thoughts that I want to share with you, that got me thinking about the biggest problems of the world. Here his thoughts on the Top Ten Problems of Humanity for Next 50 Years”. His list in order of priority is:

  1. Energy
  2. Water
  3. Food
  4. Environment
  5. Poverty
  6. Terrorism & war
  7. Disease
  8. Education
  9. Democracy
  10. Population

Compared to Ten Threats formulated by the U.N.’s High Level Threat Panel in 2004 where they mention:

  1. Poverty
  2. Infectious disease
  3. Environmental degradation
  4. Inter-state war
  5. Civil war
  6. Genocide
  7. Other atrocities (e.g., trade in women and children for sexual slavery, or kidnapping for body parts)
  8. Weapons of mass destruction (nuclear proliferation, chemical weapon proliferation, biological weapon proliferation)
  9. Terrorism
  10. Transnational organized crime

When looking at your next startup, you might want to pick something in the area’s on the Smalley-list since that seems to have areas that entrepreneurs can partially solve with disruptive technologies. Get busy, you have only half of a life left before these become reality. Below a presentation that got me interested researching some of these topics and I hope to share the (for me) most interesting areas: Energy, Environment, Food and Water.