Tech Advances to Watch

Tech Advances to Watch

What are the most important technological advances from the past year? Every year, MIT Technology Review provides its answers to the question, with an eye toward the innovations that will have the greatest impact on consumers.

This year’s list includes 3D metal printing; that is, printing metal parts quickly and cheaply, and cutting-edge urban design using digital technology. Also: digital earbuds with a built-in language processor that will translate foreign languages into standard English. The magazine cites a power plan that captures the carbon released by burning natural gas, avoiding greenhouse gas emissions, and a tool developed via the new blockchain technology behind bitcoin that makes it possible to cary out digital transactions more cheaply and efficiently than can be done with today’s credit cards.

One other item on the list is all the new genetic testing services, which are making it possible to predict peoples’ chances of contracting certain diseases and even to determine the natural IQ of the testee. At the same time, the magazine warns, these services will also increase the risks of “genetic discrimination”—employers deciding to hire based on your genes, or healthcare providers charging higher premiums to people who might have more susceptibility to congenital illnesses or heart disease.


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