While the year 2020 was one that most people would prefer to forget, it was the year when technological innovation, connectivity adoption, and digital transformation accelerated dramatically—introducing new technologies taking over 2021. These latest technologies lie at the heart of resolving or speeding up megatrends, necessary to address large-scale challenges like pandemics, aging economies, and climate change alongside minor issues, such as payments and streaming.
Here are the top breakthrough technologies taking over the new decade.
Cloud-based AI Services
Several companies have been working to increase access to machine learning and artificial neural network technology to make cloud-based AI services cheaper and easy to use. The availability of AI-powered tools in the cloud will mean that advanced machine learning will become more accessible to different businesses. These include access to automated inventory software tools that’ll ensure you’ll never run out of stock or automated CRMs that record customer data and address their queries automatically.
Duelling Neural Networks
This breakthrough technology promises to provide AI systems with better imagination by enabling them to fight with each other. Work at companies like Deep Mind and Google Brain focuses on allowing systems to develop ultra-realistic computer-generated photos and sounds beyond what’s currently possible. In essence, the Duelling Neural Networks refer to the breakthrough in AI that enables them to create pictures of things it has never encountered or seen before—giving them a sense of imagination.
Messenger RNA Vaccines
The best vaccines against COVID-19 are based on messenger RNA, a form of technology in the works for two decades. It’s a breakthrough technology that’s never been used in therapeutics, transforming medicine and leading to more vaccines against different infectious diseases, such as malaria. Even if these diseases mutate, mRNA vaccines can be easily modified—holding great promise as the basis for affordable gene fixes to HIV and sickle-cell disease.
Scientists are currently looking to find ways to use mRNA vaccines to fight against cancer.
The introduction of sizable natural-language computer models that can learn how to write and speak on their own is a massive step toward AI that can better understand and interact with the world, with GPT-3 as the largest and most intelligent one by far. The GPT-3 is trained on the text of thousands of books and the internet, allowing it to mimic human-written text with surreal realism, making it one of the best language models produced through machine learning.
However, the GPT-3 still has many drawbacks as it doesn’t understand what it’s writing, it takes a significant amount of computation power, money, and data to train. Plus, since the GPT-3 is trained on text gathered from the internet, which is known to be filled with misinformative sources, it writes “biased” passages.
Zero Carbon Natural Gas
Because of new engineering methods developed in 2021, it’s now possible to capture carbon released during burning natural gas, preventing greenhouse emissions and providing new opportunities to create clean energy. This breakthrough technology can help save the environment since over 32% of the electricity used in the US alone is produced by natural gas, accounting for 30% of carbon emissions.
The clean or zero-carbon natural gas technology holds the promise for generating cleaner electricity cheaply, minus carbon emissions.
Hydrogen has always been the better alternative for fossil fuels as it can burn cleanly and emits no toxic fumes, including carbon dioxide. It’s also energy-dense, allowing you to store power from on-and-off renewable sources, and you can make liquid synthetic fuels to replace diesel or gasoline. However, up till now, creating hydrogen has been created using natural gas, which is relatively dirty and energy-intensive.
Fortunately, thanks to the rapidly dropping solar and wind power costs, most people can now afford “green hydrogen,” making it cheap enough to be practical—where you need to zap water with electricity to get green hydrogen. Europe is leading the way for this technological breakthrough.
5G Wireless Medical Assistance Technology
As populations in many nations worldwide continue to age, added to the massive impact of the pandemic, the introduction of 5G wireless medical assistance technology in 2021 shouldn’t be a surprise. This breakthrough technology can be accessed wherever and whenever necessary, driving a broad range of new apps, services, and products. An example of this is virtual-reality-enabled 5G medical telepresence apps where healthcare consultants can be present during an operation, offering guidance and advice—or performing the surgical procedure.
As long as you have a decent connection, being physically present in operating theaters won’t be required, as assistance from the best surgeons will be more accessible through this breakthrough technology. Another part of 5G wireless medical assistance technology is its ability to deliver 5ms network latency, allowing better control of medical robotics.
Although the events in 2020 brought the world to a halt, science and technology never slowed down, introducing revolutionary inventions in the new decade—and the breakthrough technologies mentioned are some of the most important in 2021, changing everyone’s lives for the better.