The annual MIT Technology Review identifies and highlights the transformative technologies expected to make a significant impact in the coming year. These breakthroughs span various domains, from artificial intelligence to energy solutions, promising to reshape our daily lives and influence global infrastructure. In 2024, the MIT Technology Review has singled out the following ten technologies as particularly noteworthy:
- AI Ubiquity:
The ubiquity of artificial intelligence (AI) has reached unprecedented levels. Interactive generative tools like ChatGPT, capable of producing text, images, and videos, have become mainstream, reshaping the tech industry. Companies such as OpenAI, Google, Meta, and Microsoft are heavily investing in AI technologies.
- Super-Efficient Solar Cells:
As solar power becomes a key player in global efforts to reduce carbon emissions, researchers are enhancing solar cell efficiency. Incorporating a layer of tiny crystals could significantly increase the conversion of sunlight into electricity.
- Apple Vision Pro:
Apple is set to launch its first mixed-reality headset, the Vision Pro, featuring the highest-resolution display ever designed for such a device. While the killer app is yet to be determined, Apple’s bold entry into mixed reality has piqued interest.
- Weight-Loss Drugs:
With obesity recognized as a global epidemic, medications like Mounjaro and Wegovy are emerging as potent tools for patients and physicians in the battle against obesity. Moreover, evidence suggests these drugs may offer protection against heart attacks and strokes.
- Enhanced Geothermal Systems:
Geothermal energy, a clean and nearly limitless resource, is undergoing a transformation with new drilling techniques. These techniques unlock more of Earth’s heat, making geothermal energy a more viable and sustainable source.
Overcoming the challenges of making transistors smaller, chiplets are gaining prominence. These small, specialized chips can be linked together to perform tasks similar to conventional chips, offering new avenues for faster and more efficient computing.
- First Gene-Editing Treatment:
CRISPR-based gene-editing treatments are making strides, with Vertex’s treatment earning regulatory approval in both the UK and the US to cure sickle-cell disease. This marks a significant milestone in the field with more breakthroughs anticipated.
- Exascale Computers:
The capability of supercomputers to perform over an exaflop’s worth of calculations is ushering in a new era. These high-performance machines enable scientists to conduct more sophisticated simulations in areas such as climate, nuclear fission, and turbulence.
- Heat Pumps:
Electric appliances known as heat pumps are proving to be versatile in cooling and heating buildings. The increasing global adoption of heat pumps, surpassing gas furnaces in the US, has the potential to substantially reduce emissions. New variants operating at higher temperatures could contribute to decarbonizing industries.
- Twitter Killers:
Social media landscape is evolving with alternative platforms gaining ground. Elon Musk’s acquisition of the platform now known as X has disrupted the conventional social media model. Alternatives like Bluesky and Threads are gaining popularity, leading to a shift from the central town square to private rooms in the digital space.
In 2024, groundbreaking technologies are reshaping our world. From the widespread impact of artificial intelligence to advancements in solar energy, gene editing, and computing, these innovations promise to revolutionize daily life and address global challenges. Breakthroughs in weight-loss drugs, geothermal systems, and alternative social media platforms further emphasize the transformative trends in health, sustainability, and digital communication. As we navigate this era of rapid technological progress, these advancements not only redefine our present but set the stage for a future characterized by innovation, adaptability, and positive societal change.