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Meet the TR10: this year’s 10 breakthrough technologies
Every year, we pick 10 recent technological breakthroughs that we predict will have a big impact in the years to come. We’ve been doing it for nearly two decades, and we’ve been pretty good at predicting big trends like data mining and natural-­language processing. We try to avoid the one-off tricks, the overhyped new gadgets. Instead we look for those breakthroughs that will truly change how we live and work. Here’s this year’s top 10...

Unhackable internet
What’s happening: Later this year, Dutch researchers will complete a quantum internet between Delft and the Hague.
Why it matters: The internet is increasingly vulnerable to hacking; a quantum one would be unhackable.
Availability: 5 years

Hyper-personalized medicine
What’s happening: Novel drugs are being designed to treat unique genetic mutations.
Why it matters: Genetic medicine tailored to a single patient means hope for people whose ailments were previously uncurable.
Availability: Now
Read next: If DNA is like software, can we just fix the code?

Digital money
What’s happening:
 The rise of digital currency has massive ramifications for financial privacy.
Why it matters: As the use of physical cash declines, so does the freedom to transact without an intermediary. Meanwhile, digital currency technology could be used to splinter the global financial system.
Availability: This year
Read next: An elegy for cash: the technology we might never replace

Anti-aging drugs
What’s happening: Drugs that try to treat ailments by targeting a natural aging process in the body have shown promise.
Why it matters: A number of different diseases, including cancer, heart disease, and dementia, could potentially be treated by slowing aging.
Availability: Less than 5 years

AI-discovered molecules
What’s happening: Scientists have used AI to discover promising drug-like compounds.
Why it matters: Commercializing a new drug costs around $2.5 billion on average. One reason is the difficulty of finding promising molecules.
Availability: 3-5 years

Satellite mega-constellations
What’s happening: We can now affordably build, launch, and operate tens of thousands of satellites in orbit at once.
Why it matters: These systems can blanket the globe with high-speed internet—or turn Earth’s orbit into a junk-ridden minefield.
Availability: Now
Read next: How satellite mega-constellations will change the way we use space

Quantum supremacy
What’s happening: Google has provided the first clear proof of a quantum computer outperforming a classical one.
Why it matters: Eventually, quantum computers will be able to solve problems no classical machine can manage.
Availability: 5-10+ years
Read next: Inside the race to build the best quantum computer on Earth

Tiny AI
What’s happening: We can now run powerful AI algorithms on our phones.
Why it matters: Our devices no longer need to talk to the cloud for us to benefit from the latest AI-driven features.
Availability: Now

Differential privacy
What it is: A technique to measure the privacy of a crucial data set.
Why it matters: It is increasingly difficult for the US Census Bureau to keep the data it collects private. A technique called differential privacy could solve that problem, build trust, and also become a model for other countries.
Availability: Its use in the 2020 US Census will be the biggest-scale application yet.

10 Climate change attribution
What’s happening: Researchers can now spot climate change’s role in extreme weather.
Why it matters: It’s providing a clearer sense of how climate change is worsening the weather, and what we’ll need to do to prepare.
Availability: Now

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By Phone:  631 912-2000
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