Ali Wyne lets eight young to mid-career stars in economics tell us about the future of economics for a popular, wonkish audience. So, befitting the genre it is full of largely self-serving cliches, but I still found it revealing. (Much to my surprise I was familiar with the work of three stars.) Bottom line: due to low cost computing and a data rich environment the future of economics is data-mining (this was clear from at least four of the comments). This is especially so because the young stars have lost faith in homo economicus (due to behavioral work and the crisis). Let me add three more observations.
First, if data-mining is the future, any person with access to data and sophisticated statistical technology can displace the trained economist as top policy dog (including their poor cousins, the sociologists!) One of my favorite economists, Justin Wolfers, believes that economics will remain top dog because "Economic theory will become a tool we use to structure our investigation of the data." (And economic theory is superior to its competitors.) But in light of the foregoing that is wishful thinking--the reason why economics is turning to data-mining is because economic theory is after sixty years not perceived the fruitful driver of research anymore. (Historical aside: In "Measurement without Theory," Koopmans convinced the economics profession after a famous debate with the now-forgotten Vining that if they want to be the preferred policy-scientists they could not rely on such pure induction. [Recall my post here.])