MIT Announce Top Ten Breakthrough Technologies For 2018

Every year the US-based renowned technology research institute MIT come together to forecast what they think will be the most explosive and exciting technologies to watch out for. This year their wish list of hopefully accessible technologies includes an eclectic array of peripheral tech mixed in with buzz industries like AI and 3-D printing. They readily admit that some of these developments won’t reach the mainstream anytime soon but see it as part of larger developing trend eventually reshaping our lives.

Here is a brief rundown of their top ten:

3-D Metal Printing: 3-D printing rolls on to the next phase, a type of printing that allows people to deliver products on the spot in an industrial setting like stainless steel, twice as strong we might add and a 100 times faster as well.

Artificial Embryos: Who needs humans anymore? We can throw away the egg and sperm. Now scientists have started prototyping questionably ethical artificial embryos by only using stem cells. Next stop, Blade Runner.

Sensing City: Want to live in a city that can deliver your mail by a robot or have automated car traffic? Then this is for you. It’s being trialed in Toronto as part of a smart city scheme. Privacy has been listed as an issue but not if you trade that in to be plugged into your city literally.

AI For Everybody: Everyone knows that the AI revolution is just beginning, so it’s no surprise that giant tech companies want to develop this further for the masses. But how? It’s now shifting to cloud AI mimicking neural networks making for smarter, faster and more agile services. With Microsoft and Amazon competing for your space, they are set to transform the world we live in and our industries from healthcare to energy.

Dueling Neural Networks: All part of the AI is coming to life argument. Right now AI can spot stuff but cannot they make stuff. Or can they? It’s a new tech process called GAN (giving machines imagination) where neural networks duel it out and then generate startlingly realistic content. GAN has been used to success to create everything from creating realistic-sounding speech to photorealistic fake imagery.

Babel Fish Ear Buds: This is our personal favourite, yes, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. But this is now becoming a reality. Google has just rolled out their first offering, the Pixel Buds and as MIT says, “it shows the promise of mutually intelligible communication between languages in close to real time.”

Zero Carbon Natural Gas: Clean energy for the masses is a much-needed source of power for the world. Even though 3% of the words energy remains clean, a power plant by the name of NetPower outside of Houston has kicked off this new environmentally aware program by piloting a scheme that creates 100% clean energy from natural gas.

Perfect Online Privacy: Blockchains and crypto technology has become the toast of the technology, but it’s yet to hit the mainstream. Yet, the developments go on, technologies such as zk-SNARK developed by Z-Cash allow people to make a leap of faith online without revealing too much about who they are. It’s all based on an ’emerging cryptographic protocol called a zero-­knowledge proof’. It allows people to operate in an even more anonymous environment than blockchain currently allows. JP Morgan has started trailing the system.

Genetic fortune telling: DNA testing kits have become all the rage, 23andMe has sold 6 million kits since starting their product so its big business. But now the industry turns to something even more developed,  “polygenic risk scores.” Still, at its early stages, the hope is that the report card will tell you if you have a low or high risk of developing a trait, disease or defect. Even going as far to let you know what IQ your baby will have.

Material quantum Leap: If a machine was infinitely more powerful than the operating systems we are using today can you imagine what they could do? Scientists are asking themselves the same question and whilst the technology is still developing,  quantum computing looks set to offer everything from new proteins for better drugs to more efficient energy systems. The reason quantum computers are set to run at warp speed is that they don’t run on the traditional architecture of 1s and 0s but something called qubits.