Dueling neural networks. Artificial embryos. AI in the cloud. Welcome to our annual list of the 10 technology advances we think will shape the way we work and live now and for years to come.
Every year since 2001 the people at Technology Review have picked what they call the 10 Breakthrough Technologies. People often ask, what exactly is meant by “breakthrough”? It’s a reasonable question—some of the picks haven’t yet reached widespread use, while others may be on the cusp of becoming commercially available. What Technology Review is really looking for is a technology, or perhaps even a collection of technologies, that will have a profound effect on our lives.
For 2018, a new technique in artificial intelligence called GANs is giving machines imagination; artificial embryos, despite some thorny ethical constraints, are redefining how life can be created and are opening a research window into the early moments of a human life; and a pilot plant in the heart of Texas’s petrochemical industry is attempting to create completely clean power from natural gas—probably a major energy source for the foreseeable future.