TOP 10 new technologies that should change the world for the better
TOP 10 new technologies that should change the world for the better
Anonim

Each year, MIT Technology Review, one of the most respected publications in its field, presents ten new technologies that should change the world for the better. This year, the editorial board of the Review itself made a small revolution by providing an opportunity to select the top ten for an external curator. It was a businessman who, it seems, will always be associated with breakthrough technologies, even though in practical terms almost all competitors have overtaken him. This man is Bill Gates.

Agile robots (coming in 3-5 years)

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Industrial robots are too clumsy. They cope with standard duties, but as soon as the situation or environment changes even slightly, nothing remains of the productivity and accuracy of the robot. On the assembly line, he does not see, for example, that some part has been moved a couple of millimeters. And if he sees, then he cannot rebuild.

Specialists in "dexterous robots" teach machines to independently manipulate objects through trial and error. One such project is the Dactyl robot, developed by the non-profit organization OpenAI. It is a mechanical arm surrounded by a myriad of cameras, sensors and lamps and powered by neural network software. She learns to manipulate new objects of different shapes or sizes without human assistance. The success of the experiment depends on how quickly large robots appear not only in production, but also in households, where dexterity is especially needed.

Industrial robots are too clumsy. They cope with standard duties, but as soon as the situation or environment changes even slightly, nothing remains of the productivity and accuracy of the robot. On the assembly line, he does not see, for example, that some part has been moved a couple of millimeters. And if he sees, then he cannot rebuild.

Specialists in "dexterous robots" teach machines to independently manipulate objects through trial and error. One such project is the Dactyl robot, developed by the non-profit organization OpenAI. It is a mechanical arm surrounded by a myriad of cameras, sensors and lamps and powered by neural network software. She learns to manipulate new objects of different shapes or sizes without human assistance. The success of the experiment depends on how quickly large robots appear not only in production, but also in households, where dexterity is especially needed.

Safe and cheap nuclear reactors (commercially available in the 2020s)

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Fourth generation nuclear reactors have been spoken and written about since the turn of the century. They should make getting electricity even cheaper and safer. Work is being carried out in the direction of reducing reactors and, in addition, creating new types of reactors.

In addition to the fourth generation reactors themselves (the evolution of current technologies), work has intensified in the field of creating mobile reactors (SMR) and fusion reactors

Some developers, such as Canada's Terrestrial Energy and America's TerraPower, have already signed agreements with energy companies to commission the reactors in the 1920s. SMR reactors already exist, and fusion reactors should appear by the 2030s.

Bill Gates himself believes in them, having become an investor in two companies in this area at once - TerraPower and Commonwealth Fusion Systems.

Predicting the risk of prematurity (next five years)

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In the world, 15 million premature babies are born annually. This, in turn, is the leading cause of death in children under five years of age. Scientist Stephen Quake and Akna Dx are working on a blood test that detects the risk of premature birth. Unlike tests that detect the risk of cancer or Down's syndrome, which are based on the study of free-circulating DNA, Dr. Quake's test is based on tracking and detecting changes in free-circulating RNA.

Abnormalities in the expression of seven genes that he believes are responsible for premature birth help determine the risk of having a premature baby. The rest is up to the doctors, who can delay such a birth, increasing the child's chances of survival. Such a test will cost $ 10.

Probe in a pill (already exists for adults, testing for children will begin in 2019)

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One of the most common and most expensive diseases, say experts at the Review, is the so-called "tropical enteropathy," a gastrointestinal disease that makes it difficult for an inflamed intestine to absorb nutrients. The result is exhaustion, developmental delays. The disease, widespread in poor countries, is poorly understood.

Massachusetts Clinical Hospital physician and engineer Guillermo Tierney has developed microscopic devices that can transmit information about the presence of signs of disease, and even receive the smallest pieces of tissue for biopsy

In addition, they are so convenient that they can even be used in clinics.

The device is a capsule in which a microscope is hidden. The thinnest catheter supplies the capsule with electricity and light and, in addition, transmits the video image. According to Dr. Tierney, he developed a technique to avoid the slightest discomfort for the patient. Of course, the device can be used to detect other diseases of the gastrointestinal tract.

"Fitted" cancer vaccines (tested on patients)

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Conventional chemotherapy has the most negative effect on healthy cells, and it is not always effective. Therefore, scientists are developing a personalized cancer vaccine.

As MIT experts explain, if successful, it should thus provoke the human immune system so that it can independently identify the neoplasm. This will reduce the negative impact on healthy cells

In addition, the immune cells involved will be able to respond to individual cancer cells remaining after the initial treatment.

For the first time, this kind of vaccine was seriously discussed more than ten years ago. Scientists have determined that every cancer cell has hundreds, if not thousands, of features unique to it. Later, scientists from the startup BioNTech proved that a vaccine containing copies of these specific mutations can serve as a catalyst for the immune system to produce cytotoxic T-lymphocytes, whose tasks are to identify, fight and destroy all cancer cells with such mutations.

Clinical trials began in 2017 in collaboration with pharmaceutical technology company Genentech. Experts say that achieving this goal in itself is not easy, since it involves biopsy of the neoplasm, DNA analysis and transfer of the information received to production.

Artificial meat (available by 2020)

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According to forecasts, by 2050, meat consumption in the world will increase by 70% compared to 2005. To reduce the burden on nature, scientists propose to create analogs of meat based on plants and grow it in laboratories. According to representatives of the University of Maastricht, who are already growing meat in test tubes, next year the cost of a hamburger made in a laboratory will not differ from a hamburger made from regular beef.

True, this direction has one serious disadvantage from the point of view of environmentalists: the production of meat in test tubes is almost as "dirty" as conventional cattle breeding

Preferred, according to MIT and Bill Gates, is the production of plant-based meat substitutes. Mr. Gates, by the way, invested in two leading companies in this market - Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods.

Companies use peas, soybeans, wheat, potatoes and vegetable oils to mimic the taste and texture of real meat. The meat they produce has one obvious advantage - the production is 90% "cleaner" than the production of regular meat.

CO2 capturers (5-10 years)

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Removing CO2 from the atmosphere, MIT experts say, is perhaps the only more or less effective way to combat climate change.

To avoid a dangerous rise in temperature, humanity needs to remove 1 trillion tons of CO2 from the atmosphere. True, until now, no one has taken this method seriously - it is too expensive

Harvard scientist David Keith argues that, in theory, machines can do this fairly cheaply - less than $ 100 a tonne. Moreover, he already knows what to do with whatever gas he can catch. His company, Carbon Engineering, in which Bill Gates has also invested, is poised to produce a synthetic fuel in which CO2 will be the main ingredient.

In turn, the Swiss-based Climeworks has two factories. On one, it converts the captured gas into methane, on the other it processes it in such a way as to sell it to producers of carbonated drinks.

ECG on the wrist (pending government approval)

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A major heart test, such as an EKG, still requires a visit to the doctor. The startup AliveCore is trying to solve the problem. In 2017, he released an Apple Watch-compatible bracelet that tracks atrial fibrillation, a common cause of thromboembolism and strokes. In 2018, Apple introduced its own similar technology.

However, 12 sensors are used to take ECGs in a hospital setting, while in all devices so far approved by the authorities there is only one.

According to MIT experts, there is not a single wearable device that could detect a heart attack or heart attack instantly, in real time

However, AliveCore has already released preliminary test results to the American Heart Association for its new app and dual-sensor device that can detect certain types of heart attacks.

Toilet without sewerage (1-2 years)

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2.3 billion people live in monstrous sanitary conditions. This is the cause of numerous deaths.

In 2011, Bill Gates established the Reinvent Toilet Award. Thanks to her, several groups of scientists and inventors at once presented prototypes of latrines that recycle waste on site, and many of which do not require a sewer at all.

Prototypes are not without flaws. And the main one is inflexibility when it comes to scale of use. For example, the project proposed by the startup Biomass Controls is designed for tens of thousands of uses per day, and therefore it is simply not suitable for small villages or communities. The other, presented by researchers at Duke University, on the other hand, can only serve a few households. Besides, all of these projects are quite expensive.

Talkative AI Assistants (1-2 years old)

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Today's voice assistants have a serious flaw: they only perform certain tasks, and any deviation in pronunciation or choice of words makes them helpless.

The already mentioned startup OpenAI, which taught the robotic arm to move smoothly and learn on its own, presented development in this area. The technology allows artificial intelligence to learn on its own, saving time on categorizing and mechanically loading information.

Google introduced its BERT system, which has learned to predict missing words by studying millions of sentences

As a result, the capabilities of the assistants immediately expanded. Google Duplex can, for example, take phone calls on its own so that you are not annoyed by spammers, or it can book a table in a restaurant. In China, AliMe is becoming increasingly popular from Alibaba, which (or which) can replace you when delivering things and even bargain with a supplier.

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