Table of Contents
- 1 The new nuclear
- 2 Skillful robots
- 3 The personalized cancer vaccine
- 4 The endoscope pill
- 5 Meat without meat
- 6 Toilets without a sewer
- 7 ECG connected watches
- 8 Carbon capture
- 9 Predict premature births
- 10 Continental announces smart voice assistant
- 11 What is a smart speaker?
- 12 What you can do with smart speakers
Each year, the Technology Review compiles its list of innovations that could change the planet and society. This year, they were selected by a special guest: Bill Gates. We find in this list many subjects dear to the philanthropist through his foundation.
“There are two kinds of progress: those which increase the quantity of life and those which increase the quality of life,” wrote Bill Gates in his introduction to Technology Review magazine. In human history, we have first focused on the former. Now that our life expectancy has double since 1913, our attention is focus on the second”. One does not exclude the other, of course. New drugs can thus save lives as well as improve the quality of people’s lives. In his list, the billionaire cleverly places many startups in which he has invested himself or that he has helped with his Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. But that’s normal: after all, when you bet on a company, you believe it has the potential to change society.
The new nuclear
Vilified by environmentalists, nuclear power is nevertheless energy of the future, believes Bill Gates, who also supports several startups in this sector. But not “old school” nuclear power like that of EPRs: the billionaire is betting on small modular reactors (SMR), presenting much less financial and ecological risks, like those of Unscaled. Research into nuclear fusion may also soon be successful, providing virtually unlimited zero-carbon energy.
For when? Ten years.
If today’s robots are very good at performing repetitive tasks on an assembly line, they are not very agile at individually manipulating objects according to their shape or context as humans do. By combining visual recognition, deep learning algorithms, and robotics, robots will, tomorrow, be able to do as well as them, hopes Bill Gates, who cites the example of a robotic “hand” developed by the Open-air association.
For when? Within 3 to 5 years.
The personalized cancer vaccine
With nearly 10 million deaths each year, cancer is the second leading cause of death in the world after cardiovascular disease, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Among the hundreds of new therapeutic approaches, that of the German startup Biotech caught the attention of Bill Gates. This young shoot detects mutations in cancer cells and uses patients’ immune systems to develop vaccines to target these mutations.
For when? Under testing.
The endoscope pill
Haven’t you heard of environmental enteropathy (EA)? This disease, which results in inflammation of the intestine and leads to malnutrition, causes retardation of growth and psychomotor development. Detectable only by endoscopy, it could however be better-diagnose thanks to an electronic pill to swallow which will inspect the intestine and perform biopsies. Develop by Guillermo Tierney, biologist, and engineer at General Hospital, it can also be used to treat other pathologies, such as colon cancer.
For when? First tests in 2019.
Meat without meat
In 2050, the planet will have 9.8 billion inhabitants who will consume 70% more meat than in 2005. However, the production of a kilogram of beef requires 70 times more surface, eight times more water, and emit nine times more gas effect land that producing a kilogram of soya. Cultivated in vitro with stem cells or plants, “fake” meat is therefore the subject of great ambitions on the part of startups such as Beyond Meat or Impossible Foods, in which Bill Gates has also invested.
For when? Today for vegetable meat, 2020 for artificial meat.
Toilets without a sewer
Toilets in developing countries are one of Bill Gates’ big hobbies. Some 2.3 billion people today still do not have access to clean toilets, said he constantly, which encourages people to defecate in the open air, and promotes the spread of disease. In 2011, the philanthropist launched the “Toilet Challenge” calling on innovators around the world to create low cost, autonomous toilets. Dozens of prototypes have already been presented.
For when? Within 1 to 2 years.
ECG connected watches
Last May, Apple proudly announced that its smartwatch had saved the lives of two people by detecting an abnormally high heart rate. The latest version of the Apple Watch is indeed equipped with an electrocardiogram (ECG) function analyzing heart pulses. However, current devices with a single sensor cannot detect a stroke in real-time.
For when? Right now.
To prevent global warming, 1,000 billion tons of carbon would have to be remove during the 21st century, according to experts. As recently as February 26, researchers presented a method to capture and convert atmospheric CO2 into storable solid carbon. Bill Gates cites the startup’s Carbon Engineering (in which he has invested) and Clime works, which transform atmospheric CO2 into biofuel or industrial gas. “It is still expensive and difficult but given our inability to reduce our emissions sufficiently, there is no other option”, explains Bill Gates, fatalistic.
For when? Within 5 to 10 years.
Predict premature births
Fifteen million babies are born prematurely each year, one million of whom will die from complications, according to a report from around 50 organizations and universities. “Tomorrow, a simple blood test will allow knowing if a woman risks premature childbirth “, assures Bill Gates. A researcher at University, has developed a test that detects the expression of some genes of RNA circulating (outside the cells) associated with a risk of premature birth. Mothers at risk could thus be identified and taken care of.
For when? Within 5 years.
Continental announces smart voice assistant
Continental AG announced that it will premiere the “Smart Voice Assistant” 2019 in September.
One technology born from Continental’s research is an intuitively designed operating system. Intelligent smart voice assistants and 3D displays make it easier for drivers to interact with the vehicle, increasing the potential for new vehicle technologies.
Continental has been developing smart voice assistants with a driver-focused stance. This simplifies the operation of the infotainment system and keeps the driver on the road. By paying more attention to traffic conditions than ever before, the risk of accidents is reduce and drivers can relax.
Continental is a smart voice assistant, a language assistant who has a natural conversation in the car. Intelligent voice assistants will make the car a convenient and smart companion.
What is a smart speaker?
Smart speakers are speakers equipped with artificial intelligence that can recognize voices such as Google’s “Google Assistant” and Amazon’s “Alexa”. With a simple operation of just talking, you can use a wide range of functions such as listening to music, checking the weather and news, ordering products, and controlling home appliances.
What you can do with smart speakers
Interactive voice assistant
The voice assistant function allows you to search the Internet, operate compatible home appliances, make notes, and manage schedules. When you ask “What’s the weather today?” Or “What’s the news today?” In addition to answering by voice, you can also respond to instructions such as “turn up the volume” and “dim the lights”.
In addition to the voice assistant function, smart speakers are attractive because they can learn user preferences and optimize them for their own.
You can use music playback and various convenient functions
As it is called a speaker, it can also be used as a music player by taking advantage of internet connection and voice operation. For example, if you say “Play classical music”; you can search for a suitable playlist from the registered music distribution services and play is, or you can play it according to your preference.
Also, smart speakers have a platform that allows companies and individuals to develop apps, similar to smartphone apps. Recently, the number of apps such as train delay information and the weather forecast has increased, and one of the attractions is that it can be used more conveniently.
Operation of IoT home appliances
“IoT” is an abbreviation for the Internet of Things, which means things with Internet functions. With IoT-compatible smart speakers, it is possible to control home appliances that also support IoT by voice via the Internet. You can change the TV channel and volume without using the remote control, and even if your hands are close; can turn on the lights with just your voice, further improving convenience.
Read aloud news and articles
Smart speakers are attractive not only for playing news distribute by podcasts but also for some models; to have a function to read out Web news articles by voice synthesis. It is useful on a busy morning because you can access information hands-free while doing housework and getting dress.