As a man who is in constant search of innovations to optimize his philanthropy efforts, former CEO of Microsoft Bill Gates keeps a rather interesting list of less mainstream technologies that he considers breakthroughs.
In an MIT Technology Review Gates provides a list of 10 breakthrough technologies that should help address the ‘important challenges’ of 2019.
Gates’ is enlightening ins so much as an observatory reference of technologies that were developed but are receiving much less public awareness, in comparison to other, more mainstream and immediately consumable innovations.
- Robot dexterity: robot hands that can learn to manipulate unfamiliar objects on their own
- New-wave nuclear power: both fission and fusion reactor designs that could help bring down carbon emissions
- Predicting preemies: a simple blood test to warn of preterm birth, potentially saving many children’s lives
- Gut probe in a pill: a swallowable device that can image the digestive tract and even perform biopsies
- Custom cancer vaccines: a treatment that uses the body’s own immune system to target only tumor cells
- The cow-free burger: both plant-based and lab-grown meat alternatives that could drastically cut emissions from the food industry
- Carbon dioxide catcher: techniques for absorbing CO2 from the air and locking it away that may finally become economic
- An ECG on your wrist: the ability for people with heart conditions to continuously monitor their health and get early warnings of problems
- Sanitation without sewers: a self-contained toilet that could tackle disease and unpleasant living conditions in much of the developing world
- Smooth-talking AI assistants: new advances in natural language processing that make digital assistants capable of greater autonomy
Despite the list nature of Gates’ piece in the MIT Review, he doesn’t hold any empirical value of one innovation over another and the numbers associated with each innovation isn’t indicative of importance. Gates seemingly invites readers to draw their own conclusions as to which innovations benefit the lives or everyday humans.