10 Breakthrough Technologies of 2018:
- 3-D Metal Printing - while 3-D Printing has been around for years, it is now becoming more and more accessible. Because of its ability to create complex parts that are stronger and lighter than more traditional manufacturing methods, wide spread adoption of the technology promises to change how manufacturers produce parts, even at mass-production levels.
- Artificial Embryos - As advances in stem-cell research continue to unfold and show promise, the next step for some researchers is the creation of an artificial embryo. Scientists could use these artificially created embryos to study and investigate the earliest events of development.
- Sensing City - Numerous smart city developments are underway including Toronto's Quayside project that brings together the Canadian government and Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs. The project's ambitions include using sensors to gather data and assist in technology, design, and policy decision making.
- AI for Everybody - Amazon, Microsoft and Google are bringing machine learning tools based in the cloud within reach of a much broader audience. As AI transitions out of the technology industry it primary exists in now and into other industries, the transformation it will bring with it promises to result in huge economic boosts.
- Dueling Neural Networks - Artificial intelligence has become very good at identifying things, such as people and objects, but providing them with the imagination to create new images has been much harder to solve. GAN, generative adversarial network, takes two neural networks trained on the same data set and pits them against each other to enable one to create images that are realistic enough that the second can no longer distinguish if the new image is a fake (generated by the other neural network) or real (similar enough to the data set it was trained on). Advances in this area of AI will give AI a deeper, independent understanding of the world.
- Babel-Fish Earbuds - Google's Pixel buds can work with the Google Translate app and Google Pixel smartphones to allow communication between languages in close to real time.
- Zero-Carbon Natural Gas - a company in Houston is testing a technology that generates power from natural gas while also capturing all the carbon dioxide that the process releases resulting in cheap (as cheap as current natural gas plants), carbon-free energy.
- Perfect Online Privacy - Zero-knowledge proof is a tool that uses cryptographic protocols to allow users to prove personal details, such as being older than 18 years old, without having to reveal their actual birthday. The tool has a lot of promise within the financial industry, where it could allow users to transact anonymously.
- Genetic Fortune-Telling - New DNA tests, known as polygenic risk scores, may be able to provide a prediction of the likelihood that a baby will have cancer or suffer a heart attack.
- Materials' Quantum Leap - The power of quantum computing may give scientists enough computing power to more precisely design molecules. This ability could lead to innovations such as more efficient batteries or solar cells, and more effective drugs.
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