Saturday, March 16, 2024

MIT Technology Review's 10 Breakthrough Technologies 2024

We're later than usual getting to the breakthroughs but here they are, with apologies for the tardiness.

Two quick points: 1) Our readers are aware of most of these technologies but it is still handy to have them all together in one place. 2) I'm getting tired of ostensibly tech-savvy publications acting as if Large Language Models and Generative AI chatbots are what AI is all about.

In five years we will be looking back on them as akin to parlor tricks. Sometimes useful, sometimes amazing but the real uses of AI won't be nearly as obvious to the average person as LLM's and ChatGPT.

From Technology Review, January 8:

Every year, we look for promising technologies poised to have a real impact on the world. Here are the advances that we think matter most right now.

AI for everything
We now live in the age of AI. Hundreds of millions of people have interacted directly with generative tools like ChatGPT that produce text, images, videos, and more from prompts. Their popularity has reshaped the tech industry, making OpenAI a household name and compelling Google, Meta, and Microsoft to invest heavily in the technology.

Super-efficient solar cells
Solar power is being rapidly deployed around the world, and it’s key to global efforts to reduce carbon emissions. But most of the sunlight that hits today’s panels isn’t being converted into electricity. Adding a layer of tiny crystals could make solar panels more efficient.

Apple Vision Pro
Apple will start shipping its first mixed-reality headset, the Vision Pro, this year. Its killer feature is the highest-resolution display ever made for such a device. Will there be a killer app? It’s early, but the world’s most valuable company has made a bold bet that the answer is yes.

Weight-loss drugs
The global rise in obesity has been called an epidemic by the World Health Organization. Medications like Mounjaro and Wegovy are now among the most powerful tools that patients and physicians have to treat it. Evidence suggests they can even protect against heart attacks and strokes.

Enhanced geothermal systems
Geothermal energy is clean, always available, and virtually limitless. However, because of engineering challenges, we have barely scratched the surface of what it can offer. New drilling techniques, which dig deeper and in places where we couldn’t before, are unleashing more of Earth’s heat to produce clean energy.

It’s getting devilishly hard to make transistors smaller—the trend that defines Moore’s Law and has driven progress in computing for decades. Engineers must now find new ways to make computers faster and more efficient. Chiplets are small, specialized chips that can be linked together to do everything a conventional chip does, and more....

....MUCH MORE, including deeper dives.

And if interested see also December 8, 2023's "5 things we didn’t put on our 2024 list of 10 Breakthrough Technologies":
Every year, we publish a new list of technologies we think matter most right now. Here’s what didn’t make the cut.