Big technological innovations are occurring with more and more frequency, and the innovations themselves are becoming more and more like the stuff of science fiction. Some of these are flying under the radar, but they may very well be affecting your life in the not too distant future. Let’s go down 10 technological innovations that you need to know about.
1. Real-Time Language Translation
There are several apps and devices dedicated to translating languages on the fly. We’ve had visual translation (where you use your phone’s camera to look at and translate foreign writing) for several years now, and Google came out with Pixel Buds, which translated 40 different spoken languages in real-time. The product itself wasn’t that successful but it shows that we’re almost there: There being a seamless real-time translation device.
It will help when communicating overseas if you don’t speak the language, and it will likely also help with diplomatic meetings between nations, by way of convenience.
2. Polygenic Risk Scores
What this basically means is that your risks of future diseases and other health problems can be predicted by looking at your genes. The principle here is far from new, but this is very precise mapping we’re talking about. It has been mostly used for animal and plant studies so far, with human testing having begun recently. We could get to a point where potential hazards are predicted before babies are even born. Ethical questions aside, it’s one to keep an eye on.
3. Robot Dexterity
We have AI. We have robots, and they’re becoming good at a number of tasks. A number of technological innovations got us to where we are now. The next one will be working on robot motor skills. Industrial robots struggle with some manual tasks due to their lack of understanding of the messiness of the real, physical world. A robot can’t look at an object and figure out how to pick it up.
However, the idea to circumvent this is to have them go through a digital process of trial and error. They’ll go through variations in their ‘mind’, and then attempt the real thing. It hasn’t been perfected but if they do crack this code, robot cleaners and assistants will be a step closer.
4. Cow-Free Burgers
Wouldn’t it be nice to eat a burger without feeling guilty about the cow that died to give it to you? Lab-grown meat could be the answer. Lab-grown meat is made by extracting tissue from the animal and growing it in a bioreactor. At this stage, it looks like meat, but they’re still working on the taste. If this method is not found to significantly reduce environmental damage, I hear plant-based fake meat is getting pretty good.
5. Portable heart monitor
I’m not talking about those exercise bands that monitor heart rate, they’re only accurate to a point. Imagine having an ECG on your wrist. There exist smartwatches that can pick up on some signs of abnormalities that can lead to a stroke. They can’t detect heart attacks as they’re happening just yet, but AliveCor is working on it.
6. More Linguistically Adept AI
Of all the technological innovations imagined, you’d have thought to be able to command AI in our day to day lives would mean we’d made it. We’re living in the future. And we are to a certain extent. We have smartphones, smart houses… But they could be smarter. We ask Siri or Alexa to play a song or look up where the nearest Mcdonalds is, and that’s the extent of what they can do for us.
New techniques are being developed that would allow AIs to better understand human language. They could book appointments for us, place orders for us, take notes for us and more.
7. Gut Probe Pill
This is one of the technological advancements that are basically accessible right now. This pill can capture detailed images of the gut. No anesthetic needed. It would help detect signs of environmental enteric dysfunction, a common disease in poor countries. This would be a more practical and comfortable procedure than shoving tubes down the patient’s throats, especially for children.
8. Food Checker AI
Artificial intelligence-enabled sensors would be used to detect any harmful bacteria on our food. They could be built into our smartphones, doing in seconds what usually takes days. It should be no surprise that so many technological innovations involve AI.
9. Brain-Computer Interfaces
Through the use of scanners connected to devices or just the internet as a whole, we could one day think about a search topic and have the answer read back to us into an earpiece – or sent directly into our brain.
10. Augmented Reality
AR has slowly been becoming more prevalent. It may have made it’s biggest commercial splash so far with the Pokemon Go mobile game. It does have more applications that finding cartoon beasties out in the real world. Forget Google Maps, imagine being guided to your destination by the glasses that you’re wearing, with a trail that you follow with signs and arrows. I guess it kinda folds back into gaming.