In an article posted on the Huffington Post written by futurist Peter Diamandis, Peter talks about the exponential growth in technological advances that have been made this year. Below, are the top ten areas that have expanded the most this year, which Peter believes will change the world in the not so distant future.
Peter says that “In 2010, 1.8 billion people were connected. Today, that number is about 3 billion, and by 2022 – 2025, that number will expand to include every human on the planet, approaching 8 billion humans.” This year, Elon Musk announced his plans to engineer a 4,425 Internet Satellite System. This is perhaps one of the most ambitious plans for global Internet domination. The SpaceX founder plans for SpaceX to deploy a 4,425 low-Earth orbit satellite system to blanket the entire planet in broadband.
“2016 was the year solar and renewable energy became cheaper than coal,” says Diamandis. Tesla’s 10 million square foot Gigafactory in Nevada will produce 500,000 lithium ion batteries annually and Tesla’s Model III vehicle. It is now over 30 percent complete, and the 5 million dollar structure is set to be done by 2020. Musk projected that a total of 100 Gigafactories could provide enough storage capacity to run the entire planet on renewables.
Glimpses of the curing of diseases
Scientists and researchers have been working diligently to find new approaches to combating diseases. 2016 saw some extraordinary progress in this field. A new treatment causes HIV infected cells to vanish. A team of scientists in the U.K. discovered a new treatment for HIV that causes infected cells to vanish. The patient was treated with vaccines that helped the body recognize the HIV-infected cells. Then, the drug Vorinostat was administered to activate the dormant cells so they could be spotted by the immune system.
Extending human life
This year, hundreds of millions of dollars were poured into research initiatives and companies focused on extending life. Sakura Minami and her colleagues at Alkahest, a company specializing in blood-derived therapies for neurodegenerative diseases, have found that simply injecting older mice with the plasma of young humans twice a week improved the mice’s cognitive functions as well as their physical performance. This practice has seen a 30 percent increase in lifespan, and increase in muscle tissue and cognitive function.
Stem cells are the regeneration engine of the body. They help cure disease and extend the healthy human lifespan. Biologists led by Kohji Nishida at Osaka University in Japan have discovered a new way to nurture and grow the tissues that make up the human eyeball. The scientists are able to grow retinas, corneas, the eye’s lens, and more using only a small sample of adult skin.
2016 was definitely the year of the autonomous vehicle. As Google, Tesla and Uber lead the charge, almost every major car company is investing heavily in autonomy. This will be one of the defining technology developments of the decade ― soon we may well look back in shock that we ever let humans drive cars on their own.e) GM’s plans to bring its fully electric self-driving cars to the masses by launching its first driverless cars on Lyft.
We are headed towards a world where autonomous drones will image the world at millimeter resolution, deliver products and packages, and transport humans to remote areas that were previously inaccessible by roads. Amazon’s drone delivery program “Prime Air” made its first delivery in the U.K. this year. Expect a much bigger rollout in 2017. Also, Convenience store 7-11 made 77 drone deliveries this year, beating Amazon by a long shot.
Peter states, “Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the most important technology humanity will ever develop. I believe AI is a massive opportunity for humanity, not a threat.” Broadly, AI is the ability of a computer to understand your question, to search its vast memory banks, and to give you the best, most accurate answer. A new AI lip reader out of Oxford called LipNet was built to process whole sentences at a time. LipNet was 1.78 times more accurate than human lip readers in translating the same sentences.
Physics and exploration
This year saw a number of fundamental achievements in physics, as well as a number of notable discoveries in our quest to explore the cosmos. A new planet that bears striking similarities to our own planet prompts remarkable inroads into the study of space. The planet is Earth sized and located around the Proxima Centaurl galaxy. This also brings a new area to search for the possibility of extraterrestrial life. Also, this year, evidence for a ninth planet in our solar system was found.More evidence arose suggesting that there is, in fact, another giant, icy planet circling at the edges of our solar system.
We are living during the birth of the commercial space era. Companies like SpaceX, Blue Origin, Planetary Resources and various teams competing for the Google Lunar XPRIZE are building commercial rockets and spacecraft to explore the cosmos. Four companies have signed private contracts to fly to moon in 2017: The teams are competing to win the $20 million Google Lunar XPRIZE to become to the first private team to land a spacecraft on the moon. The companies are: Moon Express, SpaceIL, Synergy Moon and Team-Indus.