As Brian Wang pointed out in the comments to my post about the Technology Review list of 2007’s most exciting technologies, there’s actually a 2008 list. And indeed there is, and here it is:
- Modeling Surprise – Computer modelling continues to advance, but can it ever be completely accurate? Probably not.
- Probabilistic Chips – Uncertainty may not sound like a good thing in computer chips…but then again, maybe it is.
- NanoRadio – Tiny radios built from tiny tubes could improve cell phones, medical diagnostic equipment, and more.
- Wireless Power – Wires? We don’ need no steenkin’ wires!
- Atomic Magnetometers – Tiny magnetic-field sensors will advance the capabilities of MRIs.
- Offline Web Applications – Computer applications need to take advantage of both the browser and the desktop.
- Graphene Transistors – A new form of carbon could help us build faster and more compact processors.
- Connectomics – The circuitry of the brain is enormously complicated. But as we untangle it, we’ll learn more about brain development and disease.
- Reality Mining – Sort through the data gathered by cellphones, and you can learn a lot about how humans behave and how they interact with each other.
- Cellulolytic Enzymes – Biofuels from food? That’s just nuts. Biofuels from cellulose? Now you’re talking.
(Image: Wikimedia Commons)
2 thoughts on “2008’s most exciting emerging technologies”
Ah, reality mining. Now there’s a fascinating technology that could never, ever be abused [insert sarcasm mark here]. The MIT professor may have benign goals, but I’m surprised the Pentagon hasn’t snapped him up. This sounds like a sophisticated update to the data mining that is going on right now without even a nod to the First Amendment or privacy issues, thanks to the fear mongering and the “war on terror.”
I just re-read one of my favorite Rex Stout books, The Doorbell Rang, in which the FBI is tapping Nero Wolfe’s phone and maybe even bugging his office. So Archie Goodwin goes out to use pay phones when he doesn’t want to be overheard. I found myself thinking as I read that this strategy wouldn’t work now — it’s almost impossible to find a working pay phone anywhere.
If you set the Nero Wolfe stories in current times, Archie would have to be an electronics whiz and something of a hacker in addition to being a good fighter with a great memory and a smart mouth.
I understand the lure of reality mining, especially for sociologists or anthropologists or writers — or anyone else who likes to look at how humans actually do things. But due to my fear of what such tech can do in the wrong hands, my certainty that the wrong hands will get hold of it, and my everlasting desire to be left alone, I get a bit paranoid.
I thought writing _was_ reality mining? Dang, I was hoping to put that on my resume.
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