What's your moonshot?

Leading thinkers share their radical visions for the future

Hi, it's Chris from the Tony Blair Institute. In this special New Year edition we’re thinking about “moonshots” and the new technologies the world will need in the decades ahead.

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by Benedict Macon-Cooney and Chris Yiu

In 1961 President Kennedy’s government defined a mission to put man on the moon before the end of the decade. It took collaboration from scientists, government, technicians and engineers — and on 20 July 1969 Kennedy’s goal was accomplished as the first men landed on the moon.

That was over 50 years ago. Today we face even greater challenges: a worsening climate crisis, huge global inequalities in health and prosperity, and societies upended by the widespread application of artificial intelligence.

Our world is far more technologically advanced than that of Kennedy’s time, but politics in the West has lost some of its ambition. If we are to make real progress in the years ahead then governments must raise their sights, once again driving forward new thinking and new technologies that will give us the upper hand.

As part of our work on science and innovation we asked a selection of leading thinkers and tech entrepreneurs what their 21st century “moonshots” would be.

The collection we’ve published today provides a glimpse of the future — from computational biology and data-driven healthcare, through to electric aviation and nuclear fusion — as envisioned by:

  • Vijay Pande (Andreessen Horowitz)

  • Martin Rees (Astronomer Royal)

  • Vint Cerf (Google)

  • Vinod Khosla (Khosla Ventures)

  • Bob Mumgaard (Commonwealth Fusion Systems)

  • Kai-Fu Lee (Sinovation Ventures)

  • Mia Shah-Dand (Lighthouse3 / Women in AI Ethics)

  • Brad Smith (Microsoft Corporation)

  • David B. Agus (Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine)

  • Michael Snyder (Stanford)

  • Herman Narula (Improbable)

  • Pasi Vainikka (Solar Foods)

  • Thomas Jonas (Nature’s Fynd)

  • Sonia Lo (Sensei Ag)

  • Daniel Wiegand (Lilium)

  • Andrew Chung (1955 Capital)

Read the moonshots