Top 10 Technologies That Might Change the World
As Bob Dylan once sang, ‘the times, they are a-changing’, and never more so than the way they are changing right now. In the last decade alone we have seen countless developments that have literally changed the way we live from widespread WiFi to 3D cinema and television (and soon 3D handheld gaming thanks to the Nin10do 3Ds). However all of that is just the tip of the ice berg, and as technology is now developing exponentially we can look forward to a different world over the next few decades – things that would boggle your mind are already in development, so read on and wonder at the top 10 technologies that might change the world.
10. AI: Artificial Intelligence is already among us and shouldn’t be confused with the stuff of comic books. Artificial intelligence is just that – intelligence designed for a specific task or to mimic human behaviour – not to develop consciousness which is a whole other pursuit. However that doesn’t mean you should dismiss AI and it is certainly one of the top ten technologies that might change the world – as soon as it develops to the point where it can programme better AI and to solve conceptual problems it might no longer be humans making the breakthroughs, but computers, and this would happen at much greater rate than human development allows for bringing us closer to the ‘singularity’ that those aforementioned comic books so of10 deal with.
9. Mind Control: Non not hypnosis – but the ability to control machines through your thoughts by intercepting or analysing the electrical signals caused by brain cells is one of the top 10 technologies that might change the world. It’s already being used by paralysed patients to allow them to type and surf the web, and it will likely be seen in many more technologies subsequently. In fact game controllers that work by thought alone are already in development.
8. Video Analysis: Video analysis may sound less exciting than say… altering your genes, but actually it has many exciting uses. One particular way this could be one of the top 10 technologies that could change the world is through the influence it would have on computer interfaces meaning we control computers with mere gestures. It’s already being used to great effect on the Xbox Kinect, but this is certainly just the start. This also greatly improves the capability of one of our other entries further down…
7. Cloud Computing: Cloud computing means computing that ‘outsources’ processing power and memory. In other words, you are not actually operating your computer, but using it to control many more more powerful ones connected to the same network and then viewing it through your screen. Why is it one of the top 10 technologies that could change the world? Because it means that computers could become far smaller and lighter and yet have the power of the world’s top super computers – and at relatively only a tiny expense. This would then mean that everything could have great computing power and there are countless applications for this capability – we’re just waiting on connections to be fast enough and freely available.
6. Advanced Prosthetics: For those who have lost limbs, advanced prosthetics could mean everything and it would certainly have the biggest impact on their lives (until we learn to grow them back…). At the same time it has applications outside of rehabilitation, and could provide us with something akin to the suit seen in Iron Man before long… ‘Power suits’ are already in development for military use that allow normal soldiers to lift several times their weight with ease while something similar is being used by nurses to lift and move disabled patients.
5. Augmented Reality: Augmented reality is another of the top 10 technologies that could change the world that is already here – albeit in a crude form. This term refers to any technology that combines real world data (such as camera images, GPS, sound etc) with digital information. This then means you can have a screen with information laid over it. Apps like ‘Layar’ and ‘Wikitude’ are trying to lead the way but currently it is short of reaching its po10tial. In the future we may wear shades that tell us the speed of traffic, the species of dog, and the offers and deals available in any given shop or restaurant.
4. Life Ex10sion: There are a vast range of life ex10sion technologies so this is more a scientific pursuit. However any one of the current possibilities could be counted as one of the top 10 technologies that could change the world, and the political and socio-economic consequences of giving people longer lifespan could be huge. In a recent study scientists managed to reverse the ageing process in mice through a single injection – this isn’t as far off as it sounds.
3. Gene Doping: Gene doping is not only one of the top 10 technologies that might change the world, but possibly one of the ones that could do so the soonest. Gene doping essentially means altering the DNA of someone already alive so that they have different characteristics. It’s already been used to make super strong mice, and creatures that have transparent skin and glow in the dark and it’s believed that athletes might start using it illegally as soon as the 2012 Olympics. This is one of the top 10 technologies that might change the world though, and its scope is far greater than just Olympic cheating – it could result in our ability to design our own evolution, to eradicate disease and to take any form we choose: even to adapt our bodies to the harsh conditions on other planets.
2. Green Energy: Of course green energy is one of the top 10 technologies that could save the world – in this case actually saving it from an impending destruction (while also ensuring that our energy is freely available making life much easier for many of us). In fact though green energy is really not far away at all, and many devices have managed to harness the power of waves and many other natural phenomena. One design promises that we will one day receive wireless energy ‘beamed’ down from the sun.
1. Nano Technology: Nano technology is always talked about as one of the top ten technologies that could change the world and is currently a big ‘buzzword’. The term refers to any technology or tool that is less than one atom thick in any dimension, and this results in devices that can be injected into the blood stream, that can plug the tiny pores in any material to make them almost invulnerable and to even control the chemical properties of atoms.