December 1, 2017
The Scientific American's cover story for its December issue is "Top Ten Emerging Technologies of 2017." The article derives from a collaboration between the magazine and the World Economic Forum's Expert Network.
A third of the global population lives in desert areas with little and sometimes no access to clean water. We are currently developing a system, under Zero Mass Water which, with the aid of one solar panel, will be able to extract water out of the atmosphere, even in dry areas, at relatively little cost. The system has been successfully installed this past year in the southwestern U.S. and in other countries.
The ability of computers to distinguish visual details is providing a giant leap forward, giving us self-driving cars; a capability to analyze crowd behavior, which would allow more safety in places where large numbers of people gather; assisting medical examinations; and whatever else. I couldn't help thinking that we might find ourselves with AI's that can advise me when people are lying.
Hydrogen cars may be coming, with zero carbon emissions. Green homes may expand into green communities, cutting emissions and making water more available at reduced cost. And quantum computers are apparently on the horizon.
Nobody enjoys a biopsy. It's invasive, but it may be needed to track down a cancer threat. However, we may be closing in on the ability to use liquid biopsies, which will be able to make the same determination simply by analyzing a blood sample.
One aspect of medicine that would seriously aid in analysis and treatment would be to have complete knowledge of the patient's body, every cell, every gene, every detail. The Human Cell Atlas is working on it. And they've already had success in some areas.
We may even be on our way to converting carbon dioxide into fuels.
I'll confess that just reading the article has provided a few story ideas.