Ten technologies that will change the world in the coming years

Metal 3D printing

“3D printing is a long-known technology, but until now it has been mainly used by enthusiasts and designers to create individual prototypes. In addition, printing is usually done in plastic – using other materials for it, including metal, was simply expensive before, ”writes MIT Technology Review.

Now, notes the publication, metal printing has become cheap enough to apply it in a wide production. And technology, the authors say, can completely change the industry.

For example, to produce a spare part for a damaged car, factories will no longer have to install several complex machines — a 3D printer will be enough. In the long term, large plants, limited to the release of only a few types of parts, will be replaced by smaller factories that can easily take into production new types of products.

In 2017, Markforged introduced the first 3D printer for metal printing, priced below $ 100,000. And General Electric is testing a printer that can produce large metal parts. The company plans to launch sales of such printers in 2018.

Artificial embryos

Scientists expect to learn how to grow embryos using only embryonic stem cells. Specialists from the UK have already managed to grow a mouse embryo from stem cells of another embryo, writes MIT Technology Review.

As participants in the experiment note, there is no certainty that the embryo can grow into an adult mouse, but this is still a big step for science. The next step, they say, is to grow a human embryo. And with his appearance, scientists have to solve many research and ethical issues.

Sensory cities

Sidewalk Labs, the subsidiary of Alphabet Holding, is developing a project for the smart city Quayside in Toronto with the Canadian government. Sensors installed in city blocks will collect information about the environment, from air quality and noise levels to what people are doing.

All transport in the cities of the new type will be autonomous, and any resident will be able to use it. Simple tasks like mail delivery will be taken over by robots. Sidewalk Labs plans to open access to city systems for third-party developers so that they can run their own services based on them.

If the experiment in Toronto is successful, the company expects to introduce similar systems in other cities. The project was announced in 2017, its implementation is scheduled for 2019.

AI for all

“Artificial intelligence technologies are mainly used by large companies like Amazon, Baidu, Google and Microsoft and some start-ups. For the rest, the introduction of such systems is too time consuming and expensive, ”writes the publication.

However, with the advent of AI technologies in the cloud, many more developers will be able to access them, the editorial staff of MIT Technology Review believes. Solutions in this area include tools for implementing artificial intelligence systems from Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure.

While systems based on AI are used primarily in the technology industry, but in the near future, algorithms will find application in the fields of medicine, energy, industry, and so on.

Neural Networks – Duelists

“Artificial intelligence technologies are good in all that concerns recognition – show the algorithm a million images, and it will accurately determine on which of them the pedestrian crossing the street is imprinted. But in matters of image generation, AI-technologies are hopeless – they cannot draw pedestrians by themselves yet: this requires imagination. ”

For the first time, scientists have proposed a solution to the problem described in 2014. The model, which is called the generative-contention network (GAN), includes two neural networks. One of them creates images based on those that she has already seen – for example, she draws a pedestrian with three hands. The other one evaluates the resulting pictures for realism. Such networks can not only create images, but also, for example, generate speech.

As MIT Technology Review notes, more and more companies are experimenting with GAN lately, which means the technology is becoming more and more perfect.

Almost instant translation

In the fall of 2017, Google introduced Pixel Buds headphones with the integrated Google Assistant for $ 159. With their help, you can organize a conversation with almost instant translation: one interlocutor must use headphones, and the other – a Google Pixel smartphone. Pixel will be able to broadcast the speech translated from Google Translate into headphones and vice versa, thus allowing people who do not speak the same language to communicate.

In the Google Translate application for iOS and Android, there is a separate function for communication: by turning it on, two people can simply talk with each other, and the service will automatically determine the language and translate statements for the opponent. One of the problems that prevents the application from working correctly is background noise. It can make speech recognition difficult and blur the boundaries of a phrase.

Pixel Buds solves this problem through a physical button that the user holds while he speaks. “Of course, while the headphones do not look very attractive, but design problems can be solved,” concludes MIT Technology Review.

Carbon free natural gas

Natural gas, the newspaper writes, is one of the main and cheapest sources of energy in the world. And although natural gas is “cleaner” coal, it produces a huge amount of emissions into the atmosphere of the planet.

Three US companies – 8 Rivers Capital, Exelon Generation and CB & I – have teamed up to work on a project to create a “clean” energy source from natural gas. Researchers are testing Net Power technology, which absorbs all contaminating elements in the process of fuel production. They expect that the development will be distributed within three to five years.

Online privacy

“True privacy can finally be a reality — thanks to a zero-knowledge proof protocol,” writes MIT Technology Review. This protocol allows you to transfer data without disclosing personal information: for example, the user will be able to confirm that he is 18 years old without revealing his date of birth.

Such a system has already been implemented by the blockchain project of the anonymous cryptocurrency Zcash. Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin called Zcash technology that will change the market.

Predictive genetics

“The day will come when newborns in the maternity hospital will be given a map of their genome with a report describing the child’s chances of earning a heart attack or cancer, or being smarter than the others.”

DNA tests are already conducted by companies around the world, but so far, according to the publication, their predictions cannot boast of perfect accuracy. They reveal only the probability of the development of a disease, but the one who has a low probability of detecting the disease can detect the disease in himself. In addition, it is not completely clear how people who have gained access to information will be able to use it – this question causes concern among researchers.

Soon, according to MIT Technology Review, DNA testing will be available to every inhabitant of the planet – the future of the technology is “simultaneously exciting and alarming.”

Quantum computers

Quantum computers, notes the publication, will be able to carry out calculations that today’s technology is incapable of. They will appear in five to ten years, but so far people have not fully figured out where to use such facilities.