IN a world fueled by modern technologies, we are bombarded by innovations and inventions from various fields and sectors on a regular basis—and many of them are necessary and noteworthy! But trust the guys at Scientific American, in cooperation with Global Future Councils and the World Economic Forum’s Expert Network, to pick the cream of the crop. They recently came out with a top-10 list of this year’s emerging technologies. I am devoting this column to a rundown of these 10 technologies.
These were chosen for their “potential to improve lives, transform industries, and safeguard the planet”. Murat Sönmez, head of the Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and member of the Managing Board of the World Economic Forum, said, “New technologies are redefining industries, blurring traditional boundaries and creating new opportunities on a scale never seen before. Public and private institutions must develop the correct policies, protocols and collaborations to allow such innovation to build a better future while avoiding the risks that unchecked technological change could pose.”
First on the list is Liquid Biopsies. This is an alternative to the traditional tissue-based biopsies that are performed to diagnose and monitor cancers and tumors. Second would be the work of the scientists from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of California, Berkeley in the area of water production. They are able to extract clean water from air with the use of porous crystals. A start-up company in Arizona called Zero Mass Water can produce two to five liters of water every day based on an “off-grid solar system”.
The third technology is the use of computer-vision in applications like driving autonomous vehicles, medical diagnostics, monitoring crop yield and water levels, among other things. This is being done through deep learning, a new field of AI (artificial intelligence) wherein computers are able to recognize images much better than humans could. The fourth one is all about the technology of using sunshine to generate and store energy. This development could prove to be helpful for the solar and wind industries.
The fifth is a scientific study that is being designed to improve and personalize health care. It is an international collaboration dubbed The Human Cell Atlas, which aims to “identify every cell type in every tissue; learn which genes, proteins and other molecules are active in each type and the processes [that] control that activity; determine where the cells are located and how they interact with one another; and what happens to the body’s functioning when genetic or other aspects of a cell undergo change”.
I will finish the list next week and present the other five technologies that landed on the top-10 list of emerging technologies for 2017. Watch out for that.