Predictions about the Future: MIT Tech Review

Predictions about the Future: MIT Tech Review

Predictions about the future are not only the stuff of science fiction novels, but are a dime-a-dozen in tech journals, especially around the new year.

What makes the MIT Technology Review different is their amazing track record, predicting everything from smart watches to prenatal DNA sequencing, industrial use of 3D printing and temporary social media—just four of the predictions from 2013.

So what have they announced for 2017? They certainly aren’t placing safe bets. Their list starts bold straight out of the gate, and doesn’t slow down.

1.     Reversing Paralysis

Scientists are making remarkable progress at using brain implants to restore the freedom of movement that spinal cord injuries take away.

2.     Self-Driving Trucks

Move over, self-driving cars: tractor trailers without a human at the wheel will soon barrel onto highways near you. What will this mean for America’s 1.7 million truck drivers?

3.     Paying With Your Face

We’ve paid with our fingerprint, our retinal scan, so now the camera is zooming out a bit and recognizing our face. We already use the technology to track down criminals (famously in the Boston Marathon attack), so why not use it to buy a Big Mac?

4.     Practical Quantum Computers

Advances at Google, Intel and several research groups indicate that computer with previously unimaginable power are finally within consumers’ reach.

5.     The 360-Degree Selfie

This is a technology that’s already here, and the tech is already getting down into consumer territory.

6.     Hot Solar Cells

By converting heat to focused beams of light, a new solar device could create cheap and continuous power. What will that mean to Big Coal and Big Oil? The power market is changing fundamentally.

7.     Gene Therapy 2.0

Scientists have solved fundamental problems that were holding back cures for rare hereditary disorders. Now we’ll see if the same approach can attack cancer, heart disease, and other common illnesses.

8.     The Cell Atlas

Done with mapping the genome, biology’s next mega project will find out what we’re really made of.

9.     Botnets of Things

The relentless push to add connectivity to home gadgets is creating dangerous side effects that figure to get even worse. Imagine someone hacking your thermostat, your entertainment center, or your baby monitor.

10.  Reinforcement Learning

By experimenting, computers are figuring out how to do things that no programmer could teach them.

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