In this article, we are going to cover about 10 technology advancement picked by Bill Gates. Gideon Lichfield interview Bill Gates, and publish in MIT Technology Review. They are talking about breakthrough technologies, China, and reasons to be cheerful with all these technological advancements.
Above all technological breakthrough these days, Bill Gates pick 10 technology advancement that will change the world to be better placed to stay. What are they?
1. Robot Dexterity
Robots are teaching themselves to deal with the physical world.
Despite all the topics about machine employment, industrial robots are still clumsy and stiff. The robot can repeatedly pick up parts on the assembly line with incredible accuracy without getting bored-but move the object a half-inch, or replace it with something slightly different, and the machine will shake awkwardly or in thin air pa move.
However, although robots cannot be programmed like humans to grasp objects by observation only, it can now learn to manipulate objects by virtual experiments and errors.
One such project is Dactyl, a self-taught robot that can turn fingers into toy blocks. Dactyl comes from OpenAI, a non-profit organization in San Francisco. It consists of ready-made robots and is surrounded by a series of lights and cameras. Neural network software uses so-called reinforcement learning techniques to learn how to grasp and rotate blocks in a simulated environment before trying them out. The software first conducts random experiments, and over time, it will gradually approach the target in the network, thereby strengthening the connection in the system.
It is often impossible to transfer this virtual practice to the real world because things like friction or different properties of different materials are challenging to simulate. The OpenAI team solved this problem by adding randomness to the virtual training, providing robots with realistic and chaotic agents.
We need more breakthroughs from robots to master the advanced flexibility required in actual warehouses or factories. However, if researchers can reliably use this learning method, the robot may eventually assemble our gadgets, load our dishwasher, or even help grandma get up.
2. New-Wave Nuclear Power
Advanced fusion and fission reactors are edging closer to reality.
In the past year, the new nuclear design has gained momentum and can make this power supply safer and cheaper. These include the fourth-generation fission reactor, which is an evolution of traditional design. Small modular reactors; and fusion reactors, this technology seems to be always out of reach. Developers of fourth-generation fission designs, such as Canada ’s Land Energy Corporation and Washington-based TerraPower, have established R & D partnerships with utility companies to achieve grid supply by the 2020s (probably optimistic).
Small modular reactors typically generate tens of megawatts of power (compared to conventional nuclear reactors that produce about 1,000 megawatts). Companies like NuScale in Oregon said small reactors could save money and reduce environmental and financial risks.
There has even been progressing in integration. Although no one wants to deliver before 2030, companies like MIT spin-offs General Fusion and Commonwealth Fusion Systems are making some progress. Many people think that fusion is a dream, but because the reactor does not melt and does not produce long-lived high-level waste, it faces much less public resistance than traditional nuclear reactors. (Bill Gates is an investor in TerraPower and Commonwealth Fusion Systems.)
3. Technology Advancement for Predicting Preemies
A simple blood test can predict whether a pregnant woman is at risk of premature delivery.
Our genetic material lives mainly in our cells. But small amounts of “cell-free” DNA and RNA will also float in our blood, usually released by dying cells. In pregnant women, this cell-free substance is an alphabetic soup of nucleic acids from the fetus, placenta, and mother.
Stephen Quake, a biological engineer at Stanford University, has found a way to solve one of the most challenging medical problems: about one in ten babies are born prematurely.
Free-floating DNA and RNA can generate information that previously required cells to be captured invasively, such as biopsies of tumors or amniocentesis of pregnant women’s abdomens. What has changed are that it is now easier to detect and sequence small amounts of cell-free genetic material in blood. In the past few years, researchers have begun to develop blood tests for cancer (by discovering specific DNA from tumor cells) and perform prenatal screening for diseases such as Down syndrome.
Testing these conditions relies on finding genetic mutations in DNA. On the other hand, RNA is a molecule that regulates gene expression, that is, how much protein is produced from the gene. By sequencing the free-floating RNA in the mother ’s blood, Quake can find the expression fluctuations of the seven genes he chose to be related to premature delivery. In this way, he can identify women who may be born prematurely. Once notified, the doctor can take steps to avoid premature birth and give the child a better chance of survival.
Quake said the technology behind the blood test is quick, easy, and measures less than $ 10 per measurement. Quake and his collaborators started Akna Dx, a startup, to commercialize it.
4. Gut Probe in A Pill
The small swallowable device can capture detailed images of the intestine without anesthesia even in infants and children.
Environmental bowel dysfunction (EED) is probably one of the most expensive diseases you have never heard of. It is characterized by intestinal inflammation, leakage, and malnutrition. It is common in poor countries. This is one of the reasons that many people there are malnourished, stunted, and never reach normal height. No one knows exactly what causes EED and how to prevent or treat it.
Conduct actual screening to find out that it can help medical staff know when and how to intervene. Infants can already use this therapy, but to diagnose and study such young children’s internal diseases, they usually need to be anesthetized and insert a catheter called an endoscope under the throat. This method is expensive, uncomfortable, and impractical in areas where EED is prevalent worldwide.
Therefore, Guillermo Tearney, a pathologist and engineer at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston, is developing a small device that can be used to check the bowel for signs of EED and even tissue biopsies. Unlike endoscopes, they are easy to use in primary care visits.
Tearney’s swallowable capsules contain a microscopic microscope. They are connected to a flexible rope-like rope that provides power and lighting while sending images to a briefcase console with a monitor. This allows medical staff to pause the capsule at the location of interest and pull it out after completion to sterilize and reuse it. (Although it sounds disgusting, Tearney’s team has developed a technique that does not cause discomfort.) It can also carry images that image the entire surface of the digestive tract at the resolution of a single cell or three-dimensional capture images. The cross-section is several millimeters deep.
This technology has many applications. At MGH, They use it to screen for Barrett’s esophagus, a precursor to esophageal cancer. For EED, Tearney’s team has developed an even smaller version for babies who cannot swallow pills. The product has been tested in Pakistani youths where EED is prevalent, and baby testing is planned for 2019.
This small probe will help researchers answer questions about EED development, such as which cells it affects and whether they are involved in bacteria, and evaluate interventions and potential treatments.
5. Custom Cancer Vaccines
The therapy stimulates the body ’s natural defense capabilities by identifying mutations specific to each tumor, so that it only destroys cancer cells
Scientists are commercializing the first personalized cancer vaccine. If it works as expected, this vaccine can trigger the human immune system to recognize a tumor through its unique mutation, which can effectively shut down many cancers.
By using the body’s natural defense capabilities, it only selectively destroys tumor cells. Unlike traditional chemotherapy, this vaccine can limit damage to healthy cells. After the initial treatment, aggressive immune cells can also be alert to find any scattered cancer cells.
Five years after the completion of the Human Genome Project, geneticists published the first cancer cell sequence, the possibility of this vaccine began in 2008.
Soon after, the researchers began to compare the DNA of tumor cells with healthy cells and other tumor cells. These studies confirm that all cancer cells contain hundreds or even thousands of specific mutations, most of which are unique to each tumor.
A few years later, a German startup called BioNTech provided convincing evidence that a vaccine containing these mutant copies can catalyze the body ’s immune system to produce T cells that can find, attack, and destroy all those carrying them cancer cell.
In December 2017, BioNTech partnered with biotech giant Genentech to start large-scale testing of the vaccine in cancer patients. The ongoing trial targets at least 10 solid cancers and aims to recruit more than 560 patients worldwide.
The two companies are designing new manufacturing technologies to produce thousands of personalized vaccines cheaply and quickly. This will be tricky because creating a vaccine requires biopsy of the patient ’s tumor, sequencing and analysis of DNA, and then rushing this information to the production site. Once the vaccine is produced, it needs to be sent to the hospital immediately; the delay can be fatal.
6. The Cow-Free Burger
Both laboratory-grown and plant-grown alternatives can approximate the taste and nutritional value of real meat without causing environmental damage.
The United Nations predicts that by 2050, there will be 9.8 billion people worldwide. These people are becoming richer. Neither of these trends will bode well for climate change, especially because people tend to eat more meat as they escape poverty.
According to predictions, by that time, humans will consume 70% more meat than in 2005. It turns out that keeping animals for human consumption is one of the worst things we do to the environment.
Depending on the animal, using a Western industrial method to produce a pound of meat protein requires 4 to 25 times more water than a pound of vegetable protein, 6 to 17 times the land, and 6 to 20 times more fossil fuel.
The problem is that people are unlikely to stop eating meat soon. This means that laboratory cultivation and plant-based alternatives may be the best way to limit damage.
Making laboratory-grown meat involves extracting muscle tissue from the animal and growing it in a bioreactor. Although the researchers are still studying this flavor, the final product looks much like what it gets from animals. Researchers at Maastricht University in the Netherlands are committed to large-scale production of laboratory-grown meat, and they think there will be a laboratory-grown burger next year. One disadvantage of laboratory-produced meat is that the environmental benefits are still rough at best-a recent report from the World Economic Forum says that laboratory-produced meat emissions are only 7% less than beef-produced emissions about.
You can use plant meat from companies such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods (Bill Gates is an investor in the two companies) to improve the environment. These companies use pea protein, soybeans, wheat, potatoes, and vegetable oils to mimic texture and animal meat taste.
Beyond Meat has a 26,000 square foot (2,400 square meter) new factory in California and has sold more than 25 million burgers from 30,000 stores and restaurants. According to an analysis by the University of Michigan Center for Sustainable Development Systems, greenhouse gas emissions beyond meat patties may be reduced by 90% compared to traditional cow skin burgers.
7. Carbon Dioxide Catcher
A practical and affordable method of capturing carbon dioxide from the air can absorb excess greenhouse gas emissions.
Even if we slow down carbon dioxide emissions, the warming effect of greenhouse gases can last for thousands of years. The UN Climate Panel now concludes that to prevent a sharp rise in temperature, the world will need to remove as much as 1 trillion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere this century.
Last summer, Harvard climatologist David Keith came to this conclusion in a surprising discovery: In theory, machines can pass a method called “direct air capture” To achieve this goal at a price of less than $ 100 per ton. This is an order of magnitude cheaper than earlier estimates, which led many scientists to think that the technology was too expensive, although it would take many years to bring the cost down to this level.
But once the carbon is captured, you still need to figure out how to deal with it.
Canadian startup Keith co-founded Carbon Engineering in 2009. The company plans to expand its pilot plant to use captured carbon dioxide as a key component to increase its production of synthetic fuels. (Bill Gates is an investor in Carbon Engineering.)
Climeworks in Zurich’s direct air capture plant in Italy will use captured carbon dioxide and hydrogen to produce methane, while the second plant in Switzerland will sell carbon dioxide to the soft drink industry. The same will be true of the New York-based global thermostat company, which completed the construction of its first commercial plant in Alabama last year.
However, if it is used for synthetic fuel or soda, most of the carbon dioxide will eventually return to the atmosphere. The ultimate goal is to always lock in greenhouse gases. Some can be nested in products such as carbon fiber, polymer, or concrete, but more need only be buried underground. This is an expensive job and there seems to be no business model to support it.
In fact, from an engineering point of view, emitting CO 2 is one of the most difficult and expensive ways to deal with climate change. However, given how slow we are reducing emissions, there are no other good options here.
8. ECG on Your Wrist
Regulatory approvals and technological advancements make it easier for people to continuously monitor their hearts using wearable devices.
Fitness trackers are not real medical devices. Intense exercise or loose straps may confuse the sensor that reads your pulse. However, an electrocardiogram (a type of electrocardiogram that doctors use to diagnose abnormalities before they cause a stroke or heart attack) needs to go to the clinic, and people often cannot check-in time.
Through new regulations and hardware and software innovations, ECG-enabled smart watches are possible. It provides convenience for wearable devices, and its accuracy is close to medical devices.
Silicon Valley startup AliveCor ’s Apple Watch compatible strap can detect atrial fibrillation (a common cause of blood clotting and stroke) and was approved by the FDA in 2017. Last year, Apple released its own FDA approved ECG function, which is embedded in watching itself.
Health equipment company Withings also announced plans to equip ECG watches soon. Current wearable devices still use only one sensor, while the actual ECG sensors are only 12.
But this may soon change. Last fall, AliveCor provided preliminary results to the American Heart Association on an application that can detect some type of heart attack and a two-sensor system.
9. Sanitation without sewers
Energy-saving toilets can be operated without a sewer system, and waste can be treated on-site.
About 2.3 billion people have poor sanitation. Lack of proper toilets will prompt people to pour feces into nearby ponds and streams, spreading bacteria, viruses, and parasites, which can cause diarrhea and cholera. Diarrhea kills one in nine children worldwide.
Now, researchers are trying to make a new type of toilet that is cheap enough for developing countries. It can not only treat waste, but also treat it.
In 2011, Bill Gates (Bill Gates) created the X Award in this field-Remodeling the Toilet Challenge. Since the start of the game, several teams have put prototypes into the field. All waste is treated locally, so it can be transported to a distant treatment plant without a lot of water.
Most prototypes are independent and do not require a sewer, but they look like traditional toilets housed in small buildings or storage containers. The NEWgenerator toilet designed by the University of South Florida uses an anaerobic membrane to filter out pollutants. The pore size of the membrane is smaller than bacteria and viruses. Another project from the Connecticut Biomass Control Company is a refinery, which is the same size as the shipping container. It heats waste to produce a carbon-rich substance, which, among other things, makes the soil fertile.
One of the disadvantages is that the toilet does not work properly in all ranges. For example, biomass control products are mainly designed for tens of thousands of users every day, so they are not suitable for smaller villages. Another system developed by Duke University can only be used in some nearby houses.
Therefore, the challenge now is to make these toilets cheaper and more suitable for communities of different sizes. Daniel Yeh, an associate professor at the University of South Florida who leads the NEWgenerator team, said: “It’s great to build one or two units.” “But the only way to truly make technology affect the world is to mass-produce these products.”
10 Smooth-Talking AI Assistants
New technologies that capture the semantic relationship between words enable machines to better understand natural language.
We are used to AI assistants-Alexa playing music in the living room and Siri setting alarm clocks on mobile phones-but they have not really realized what they call smartness. They could have simplified our lives, but they caused almost no harm. They only recognize instructions with a narrow range, and are easily tripped by deviations.
However, some recent developments are about to expand the functionality of your digital assistant. In June 2018, OpenAI researchers developed a technique for training AI on unlabeled text, thereby avoiding the cost and time of manually classifying and labeling all data. A few months later, a team at Google released a system called BERT, which studied millions of sentences to learn how to predict lost words. In a multiple-choice test, it is as good as humans at filling gaps.
These improvements, coupled with better speech synthesis, have allowed us to transition from providing simple commands to AI assistants to having conversations with them. They will be able to handle daily details such as taking notes, looking up information, or shopping online.
Some are already here. Google Duplex is a weird human-like upgrade of Google Assistant that can answer incoming calls to filter spammers and telemarketers. It can also call you to arrange restaurant reservations or salon appointments.
In China, consumers have become accustomed to Alibaba ’s AliMe, which coordinates the delivery of packages over the phone and negotiates prices through chat.
However, although AI programs can better figure out what you want, they still cannot understand the sentence. Lines are written through scripts or generated statistically, reflecting how difficult it is to give machines real language understanding. Once we cross this barrier, we will see another evolution, perhaps from logistics coordinator to nanny, teacher, or even friend?
Those 10 technology advancement are available now. But not all can be implemented now. If you want to know about 10 trending technology in 2020, you can read it in our blog. That article will make you understand technology advancement more comprehensively.
If you want to read more about Bill Gates interview, please read it here.