I’ve spent the past week on a family vacation and have had a great time catching them up on technology news. For other people like them, here is a list of promising new technologies that are reshaping the world.
Personalized Medicine – Everyone responds differently to medical treatment, yet for hundreds of years our treatments have been uniform. Technical advancements in DNA sequencing, data analysis and stem cells are paving the way to treatments that are personalized. Not just giving someone a heart transplant, but regrowing a clone of their own heart. Not just finding a good medicine, but finding the exact dose, when it should be taken and what side effects to expect.
Drones (and robotics in general) – While we may associate these with the military, their applications in civilian life are a lot more interesting. Drones and robots will radically change how things are done. Transportation, package delivery, emergency response, law enforcement, infrastructure inspection and many other areas will see radical improvement. Check out this video of drones working together to throw a ball to get an idea of what is possible. Drones aren´t allowed in US airspace at the moment, but eventually that will change and the sky is the limit on what they´ll do.
Self-driving cars – Google and other car makers are working on technology that lets cars drive independently. This will save lives, save energy, eliminate parking concerns (the car can drop you off and go find a spot) and unlock additional productive time. Also, senseless drunk driving deaths will eventually be eliminated as human driven cars are replaced. Children being born today may never learn how to drive.
3D printing – This refers to the ability to make 3D objects by printing 1 layer of material at a time. Right now we can print different types of plastics and metals but the applications are mostly for hobbyists. As the machines get better, a major disruption in manufacturing will occur, especially for low volume products like replacement parts. Imagine being able to buy designs for products you want from the internet and being able to print them in your home or at a local 3D print shop.
Space travel & colonization – During the 15th century, advancements in ship technology enabled Europeans to explore further from their own shores, first around Africa to the Orient and then to the “New World”. They were motivated by their society´s demand for new resources and space. Today, we find ourselves in a very similar position. We´re running out of resources on this planet and technology is enabling us to explore further into space. Colonization and resource exploitation of the moon, Mars and asteroids isn´t a pipe dream, it´s a reality and big money from people like Elon Musk are betting that it´ll be realized sooner rather than later. Will people look back on these first space entrepreneurs as they do on Colombus and Cortes (minus the rape and pillaging, hopefully)?