MIT has just released a list of what it believes are the 10 breakthrough technologies this year. This is tech that’s going to change the world, either right now or sometime in the future. So here are the 10 things in science and technology that are going to change your life.
1. 3D Metal Printing
We’ve all become used to 3D plastic printing over the last few years, and the ease it has brought to design and prototyping. Advances in the technology mean that instant metal fabrication is quickly becoming a reality, which clearly opens a new world of possibilities.
2. Artificial Embryos
For the first time, researchers have made embryo-like structures from stem cells alone, without using egg or sperm cells. This will open new possibilities for understanding how life comes into existence. The breakthrough means we could soon see a day where animals are born without any egg.
3. Sensing City
At Toronto’s Waterfront district, Google’s parent company, Alphabet, are implementing sensors and analytics in order to rethink how cities are built, run, and lived in. The aim is to integrate urban design with cutting edge technology in order to make “smart cities” more affordable, liveable and environmentally sustainable.
4. Cloud-based AI services
Key players here include Amazon, Google, IBM and Microsoft, which are all working on increasing access to machine learning and artificial neural network technology, in order to make it more affordable and easy to use. Basically, building and training an AI should soon become as cheap and easy as building an app.
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5. Duelling Neural Networks
You can train an AI to identify a certain kind of image or feature with incredible accuracy, but it would take millions of images to practice. That is, until the advent of the generative adversarial network (GAN) method. Basically, it pits two neural neural network against each other in a versus game. For instance, one has to generate a specific type of fake image, and the other has to identify which ones are fake.
6. Instant Translation Devices
Google has developed a set of earbuds called the Pixel Buds, they launched for $159. But aside from being a set of tiny Bluetooth earbuds, they can also work as audio translation devices in real time. While the Pixel Buds themselves weren’t too popular at launch, the technology they brought was, and you can expect more tech companies to adopt and perhaps improve it soon.
7. Carbon-Free Natural Gas
Net Power says it can generate electricity at least as cheaply as standard natural-gas plants while still capturing almost all the carbon dioxide released in the process.This would mean truly carbon-free fossil fuel energy for the first time, and at an economically feasible price.
8. Absolute Anonymity Online
We may be able to have complete privacy online while still being able to verify things like age and bank balance for online services. Called zero-knowledge proof, it’s a concept that’s been in development for decades but has gained massive interest recently thanks to the cryptocurrency popularity boom.
9. DNA Predictions
Thanks to recent breakthroughs in genetics, new babies may one day be presented to their parents along with a DNA report card. These reports could offer predictions of the kid’s health in the future, from their chances of suffering a heart attack or cancer, to their addiction affinity, to even their intellect.
10. “Magic” Materials
Scientists are excited about how they could use quantum computing to create completely new materials. They could design and synthesis stronger build materials, more effective drugs, more efficient fuels, and maybe things we can’t even imagine just yet.