These breakthrough technologies in 2020 will have a recurring and long last effect on how we live for years to come. More importantly, they will benefit millions of people, many who live in developing countries.
Although we often associate new technologies with things that we see in our day to day life. These technologies are far more transformative in underpinning may ways of living and working.
Many new technologies, do not just improve how quickly or efficiently we work but actually improve humanity. Sustainable and social innovations are starting to be recognized for their benefits.
I am proud to say that some of these initiatives are at Cranfield University where I am currently studying for my doctorate. Leon Williams and many others I have met have been working on the sanitation without sewers project.
The infographic below from Visual Capitalist draws from the MIT Technology Review, which features Bill Gates’ predictions for the top 10 breakthrough inventions that will capture headlines in 2020.
Top 10 Breakthrough Technologies
1. Gut Probe in a Pill
These swallowable devices can detect and potentially prevent diseases that cause malnutrition and stunted growth in millions of children worldwide.
2. Custom Cancer Vaccines
Personalized cancer vaccines, targeting only the cancerous cells and leave healthy cells alone, could help ensure faster recovery times and pose fewer risks to patients.
3. Meat-free Burgers
Plant-based and lab-grown food products will ideally alleviate the environmental impact of the livestock industry.
4. Smooth-talking AI assistants
The AI assistants of the future will have even more human-like conversations to personally engage customers. Companies would see measurable benefits, with just one breakthrough here garnering a 5% jump in productivity.
5. Sanitation without sewers
Improperly drained sewage causes death in one out of every nine children. Sanitation that doesn’t require sewers would not only prevent exposure diseases but also help turn waste into useful products like fertilizer.
6. ECG and blood pressure monitor on your wrist
Most medical heart and blood pressure monitors are clumsy and require two devices. A monitor on the wrist would help reduce the risk of heart disease by tracking changes and patterns in daily life. (this is another initiative developed at Cranfield).
7. Robot Dexterity
Advancements in robotics will enable the natural dexterity required to complete a greater range of tasks, such as helping an ailing loved one out of bed, doing the laundry, or building toys.
8. Predicting Preemies
Premature births are the leading cause of death for children under five years old. Tests to detect the possibility of a premature birth could be available in doctors’ offices in as little as five years.
9. Carbon Dioxide Catcher
Carbon dioxide catchers filter out CO₂ from the air and capture it for other uses. These include synthetic fuel creation, CO₂ for soft drinks, and plant growth in greenhouses.
10. New-wave Nuclear Power
Traditional nuclear reactors produce ~1,000 megawatts (MW), while these proposed mini-reactors would produce tens of megawatts ─ making them safer, more stable, and more financially viable for potential users.
Disruptive Technologies in 2019
Innovations For Social Good
The big trend is that even of the ten disruptive technologies are focused on the health tech sector.
While several inventions on this list are years away from becoming a reality, they continue to embody the vision and passion that humans share to create and explore.
More infographics available.