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Mapping Wild Cards

Inspired by: other » Human Number Crunchers

version: 1 / created: 2011-02-01
id: #1538 / version id: #1538
mode: VIEW

Originally submitted by: Jari Kaivo-oja
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Last changed by: Jari Kaivo-oja
WI-WE status:
unpublished archived

Source of inspiration

Other, please specify:   Scientific American

The source of the Wild Card is

Scientific American. December 2020. 10 World Changing Ideas.


(max. 9 words)

Human Number Crunchers


(approx. 150 words)
Please describe the Wild Card (approx. 150 words)
In the future research will be like a video game, in which computers finish second phases of research. Science can develop new games which help human to make progressive discoveries in bioinformatics, drug discovery and even in nano-engineering.


Progressive discoveries, fast research processes, bioinformatics, drug discovery, nanoengineering


(max. 250 characters)

The success of Foldit - an online puzzle created by biologists and computer scientists at the University of Washington - proves that human intuition can outperform. New wave of games are able to accelerate the pace of research.


Closest timeframe for at least 50% likelihood
Please use one of the following options:

Features of life if the wild card manifests

Feature 1: business models and industrial environment
The strategic importance of virtual gaming need more attention in the field of industrial environment.
Feature 2: education and research environment
Game supported learning and teaching needs more attention
Feature 4: technology and infrastructure
Foldit needs be understood in technology and infrastructures policy.
Feature 6: health and quality of life
Accelerating innovations in the field of health and quality of life

Type of event

Human planned (e.g. terrorist attack or funded scientific breakthrough)

Type of emergence

please select (if any) describe related trend or situation
A new development/situation
(e.g. a Romani state is established in central Europe; A message from an alien civilisation existing on a distant planet is received and understood, etc.
Accelerator of innovation processes in bioinformatics, drug discovery and natural sciences

Type of systems affected





please specify:
please select
Level 3: important for the European Union Foldit need attention
Level 4: important for the whole world Foldit needs attention

Early indicators

(including weak signals)

Game research is combined to natural sciences, now with a huge success at the University of Washington.

Latent phase

Obstacles for early indentification

affective filters (emotions, anxiety, self-doubt)
political filters (party or ideological interests)
social filters (class, status, education level)

Manifestation phase

Type of manifestation

In a probably pervasive way (contagious or transmittable)

Aftermath phase

Important implications
Emergence of a new system (e.g. new technologies, new paradigms)


Game development creates new horizon for various sub-fields of natural sciences.

Key drivers or triggers

Provide up to 2 possible drivers or triggers of HIGH importance. Click on HELP to see examples:
please describe
Driver / Trigger 1
please describe
Driver / Trigger 2
Social Man-machine cooperation
Technological/Scientific Game development
Economic Faster innovation breakthroughts

Potential impacts (risks & opportunities)

Timeframe options
Risks Opportunities
short term
(1 to 5 years after the Wild Card manifests)
Normal risks of innovation
medium term
(5 to 10 years after the Wild Card manifests)
Normal risks of innovation
long term
(more than 10 years after the Wild Card manifests)
Normal risks of innovation

Potential stakeholders' actions

it occurs
it occurs
Policy actors (at the international, European and national levels) Study and understand Foldit Study and understand Foldit
Academic/Research sector Study and understand Foldit
Media Study and understand Foldit

Relevance for Grand Challenges

where? please justify:
particularly relevant Europe world
Diseases, health and well-being New innovations
Food security and diet New innovations
Techno-security, hazard & risk New innovations
Sustainability and climate change New innovations

Relevance for thematic research areas

please justify:
particularly relevant
Health Fast innovation processes in drug discovery, nanoengineering and bioinformatics
Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, and Biotechnology Fast innovation processes in bioengineering
ICT - Information & communication technologies New important field for game and ICT development
Nanosciences, nanotech, materials & new prod. tech. Fast innovation processes in nanoengineering
Research infrastructures Game development should be connected to laboratory work processes

Pan-European strategies potentially helping to deal with the wild card

please justify:
particularly relevant
Developing and funding world-class research infrastructures International Foldit co-operation

 Features of a research-friendly ecology contributing to deal with the wild card

For further information about 'research-friendly strategies' click here

please justify:
particularly relevant
Strengthening the actors in the research-friendly ecology
(i.e. Research funding organisations, universities, businesses, Research and Technology Organisations, Researchers and Citizens)