Technology is developing increasingly fast. Even as the world faces new challenges, technology offers solutions that can help humanity move forward. Here are ten new technologies that promise to leave a lasting impact on our world.
- Gene Editing
Gene editing allows scientists to change defective genes in a human body. Many human diseases, such as Huntington’s disease and cystic fibrosis, are caused by errors in humans’ gene sequences. Gene editing technologies like CRISPR allow scientists to splice open gene sequences and edit specific, flawed genes. The technology is still evolving—scientists recently discovered how to do this using only electrical fields. Gene editing may soon become a standard medical procedure. Using it, doctors can cure genetic diseases that were once fatal.
- Brain-Controlled Computers
By measuring electrical activity within the brain, some computers can now allow users to type or even play ping pong using only their thoughts. It’s easy to see how this technology could affect people as it develops. It could help disabled people move a wheelchair, surf the internet, or work online using only their thoughts. It could also enable easier multitasking and instantaneous access to computing.
Although our world is covered with water, most of it is saltwater. As the world’s population grows, finding enough clean freshwater for everyone will be difficult. Desalination offers an exciting solution: it converts saltwater into freshwater. While this technology is far from new, it has recently been innovated to be far more useful. When salt water is converted into freshwater, there is a leftover brine full of salt and metals. But recent technological innovation has found a way to extract metals from the brine. There’s a possibility that those extracted metals could be sold, making desalination an affordable solution to our water crisis.
- Lab-Grown Organs
Our society faces a worrying shortage of organs, and people die every day while waiting for transplants. However, scientists have discovered how to grow organs using stem cells. Recently, scientists were able to grow kidney tissue by using human stem cells implanted in mice. Those stem cells became working kidney-like structures. This technology has the potential to save millions of lives every year.
- Wearable Electronics
Already, wearable electronics like Fitbit help people around the world gather data on their health. These electronics measure metrics like heart rate, physical activity, and stress levels. As wearable electronics become more common, the healthcare industry will be able to use this improved health data. More patients will be able to share their electronic data to help doctors diagnose their health issues. This will likely lead to better patient outcomes, as well as helping doctors correctly diagnose patients and avoid medical malpractice lawsuits.
Although it was originally developed to support Bitcoin, blockchain technology has become even more influential than cryptocurrency. Blockchain works like a giant online transaction ledger. It records every single transaction that occurs, and the data cannot be altered without destroying later records. This makes data entered on the blockchain extremely secure. What’s more, blockchain is supported by a vast network of computers rather than being held in a centralized location. This makes it much harder to hack. Blockchain could become the new foundation of online payments, contracts, government data, and business development. It could revolutionize the way we use and understand the Internet.
- Self-Driving Cars
Once an ambitious dream confined to science fiction, self-driving cars are now a reality. They are safer and environmentally friendly. They offer a solution to motor accidents and drunk driving. They also provide transportation to disabled and elderly people, people who couldn’t ordinarily drive. As companies such as Tesla finetune the technology, self-driving cars promise to become the norm in societies around the globe.
- Improved Artificial Intelligence
As artificial intelligence becomes more and more sophisticated, it has the potential to dramatically change the way we live. Soon, AI may be completely integrated into people’s day to day lives. It could track budgets, advise fashion choices, plan menus, and order groceries. Artificial intelligence is making great leaps forward in language processing and social awareness—it could expand into innumerable areas of human life.
- Understanding Genetic Risk
With scientists’ increasing knowledge of genetics, they are able to accurately predict people’s risk for heart attacks, tobacco addiction, and other problems. They can perform a DNA test that offers a set of predictions about a person and their health. This could reform the healthcare industry. For example, if a woman knows that she is at a very high risk for breast cancer, she could start getting mammograms earlier and more frequently. These tests are somewhat controversial because they could also be used to predict traits such as intelligence. However, they could save numerous lives.
- Instant Language Translation
Google recently developed Pixel Buds—earbuds that, when paired with a phone and the Google Translate app, can immediately translate languages. One person wears the earbuds and speaks, while the other holds a phone which plays the translated message. This allows the participants to quickly converse and maintain eye contact during the conversation. This invention is extremely promising for breaking down cross-cultural communication barriers. Enabling simple, easy communication across language barriers could help people grow closer together in a divisive era.
These technologies have the potential to completely revolutionize the way we live. When looking towards the future, we need to keep our eye on these developments.