Every fall, MIT Technology Review's editors get together to begin the months-long process of reviewing their coverage. The goal? To create a list of the top ten technological advances from the last year that will have the greatest longterm global impact on consumers.
While the editors do give key players a shout-out — Google, for example, dominates the list — the purpose of the annual compilation goes further than giving credit to innovating companies.
"This is our attempt to alert our readers: These are the technologies that you really need to or should pay attention to next year, and also going into the next few years," MIT Tech Review's editor David Rotman told Business Insider.
The timeline to commercial use can vary — this year's picks, for example, range from technologies that are currently on the market to ones that are still in the lab and just barely making headlines— but two things have to be certain: The technology must be "fundamentally new," and it needs to make a huge difference in the way we live for years to come.
Here's the final list of the technologies and the key players making it happen:
3D Metal Printing: New machines are making 3D printing of metal parts practical for the first time.
Key players:Markforged | Desktop Metal | GE
Breakthrough: Now printers can make metal objects quickly and cheaply.
Why it matters: The ability to make large and complex metal objects on demand could transform manufacturing.
Artificial Embryos: Scientists have begun to forge embryos out of stem cells.
Key players: University of Cambridge | University of Michigan | Rockefeller University
Breakthrough: Without using eggs or sperm cells, researchers have made embryo-like structures from stem cells alone, providing a whole new route to creating life.
Why it matters: Artificial embryos will make it easier for researchers to study the mysterious beginnings of a human life, but they’re stoking new bioethical debates.
Sensing City: Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs plans to create a high-tech district to rethink how we build and run cities.
Key players: Sidewalk Labs | Waterfront Toronto
Breakthrough: A Toronto neighborhood aims to be the first place to successfully integrate cutting-edge urban design with state-of-the-art digital technology.
Why it matters: Smart cities could make urban areas more affordable, livable, and environmentally Friendly.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider