Summary of 10 Breakthrough Technologies 2019

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The ten subjects Bill Gates selected for this special edition of the MIT Technology Review highlight his personal beliefs about how technology can help people live better lives. His choices include medical breakthroughs, global warming, robotics and sanitation. All of these technologies are currently available or will be soon. Gates hopes that in twenty years, most new technologies will address human well-being and help people live fulfilling lives. He also recommends ten books, which inform many of the subjects included in this publication. The issue includes a brief discussion of “Ten Grand Challenges” ripe for solving by new technologies.  They include carbon sequestration, grid-scale energy storage, a universal flu vaccine, dementia treatment, ocean clean-up, energy-efficient desalination, safe driverless cars, embodied AI, earthquake prediction and brain decoding. The magazine’s “Low-tech 10” includes intriguing smaller ideas addressing more efficient water filters, a portable malaria screener, power micro-grids and more. The compilation of articles will engage and inspire anyone concerned with what a better, not-so-distant future will look like.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How emerging technologies impact your daily life;
  • Which technologies will dominate upcoming headlines; and 
  • How current technologies solve issues such as global warming, human health and robotics.
 

About the Authors

Bill Gates is the principal founder of Microsoft Corporation and is the guest curator of “10 Breakthrough Technologies 2019” for the MIT Technology Review.

 

Summary

Artificial Intelligence offers new ways for robots to learn dexterity, by challenging them to solve “the messiness of reality.”

People nervous that machines will usurp their jobs should relax. Most of today’s robots are clumsy and incapable of adapting to changes. However, a San Francisco-based non-profit group, “OpenAI,” is working with a deep-learning capable machine named Dactyl. Loaded with a sophisticated neural-network program, Dactyl repetitively tests new moves before employing its “hand” to perform new tasks.

In the effort to reduce carbon emissions, nuclear power could play a pivotal role.

With dwindling public support and competition from cheaper shale gas, nuclear power plants around the world are being phased out and closed. Advancement of reactors may challenge that trend. Developers are currently entering partnerships with utility companies to bring some “generation IV fission reactors” online by the 2020s. The Oregon company NuScale claims their smaller, modular reactors operate more efficiently, while reducing environmental risks. Molten-salt reactors are considered safer than older reactors, and run at lesser...


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