Every year the smart minds at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) gaze into their crystal balls and selects its top technology breakthroughs they predict will change the world. Here are their top five picks.
#1 – 3-D Metal Printing. 3-D printing with plastics has been around for a while. But due to its high cost, 3-D metal printing has lagged behind. But prices for 3-D metal printing are dropping. This means a manufacturing company can print many of its manufacturing parts themselves and not need to rely on third-party, outside suppliers. Printing metal on-demand, manufacturers won’t need to maintain large inventories or parts and components, and have the ability to print lighter, stronger, and more complex parts at a fraction of the cost.
#2 – Artificial Embryos. This scientific breakthrough promises to change our understanding of how life can be created, providing alternative theories to egg and sperm creation of life. Embryologist at the University of Cambridge have created mouse embryos extracted from only stem cells. The scientists watched the cells communicate and line up into a mouse embryo all on their own. This life science technology will allow researchers to study the formation of life in the universe.
#3 – Sensing City. In Toronto a group of visionaries are building Quayside, a new pattern for state-of-the-art, futuristic living in a digital world. The city will be operated and managed by data collected through sensors that monitor everything from noise levels, air quality, and people’s activities. This data will be collected and analyzed to inform decisions on policy and governance.
#4 – Artificial Intelligence from the Cloud – Currently artificial intelligence is making an impact at the big technology companies of Google, Microsoft, Amazon, etc. Other companies just don’t have the resources to play in the artificial intelligence space. But artificial intelligence will soon reach the cloud, and with that more and more artificial intelligence code will be available to these companies. At this point, it is predicted that artificial intelligence technologies will grow exponentially and have its greatest impact.
#5 – Dueling Neural Networks – Artificial intelligence learns rapidly. For example, in developing artificial intelligence for cars, you can show it millions of pictures of pedestrians so it recognizes pedestrians. But on its own, artificial intelligence cannot create images of pedestrians. If artificial intelligence could generate the images itself, it would have the ability to train itself. Dueling neural networks are when two artificial intelligence systems can interact and teach one another. This is something machines previously could never do. In a sense, this give the artificial intelligence systems the ability to create imagination through collaboration with other systems.
You can read more about these and other 2018 technology breakthroughs in MIT Technology Review.