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At the beginning of SXSW, it is always good to get a clear bearing of where everything is headed. Every year, the MIT Technology Review team unveils a highly anticipated list of the most groundbreaking technologies poised to transform our world at SXSW. This compilation stands as one of my most eagerly awaited releases.

If you are unfamiliar with MIT: Based in the innovation hub of Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has been a beacon of cutting-edge research and academic excellence since its establishment in 1861. Renowned for its commitment to advancing knowledge in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), MIT cultivates a diverse community of brilliant minds, including Nobel laureates, trailblazing researchers, and industry wizard-leaders. Through its pioneering research and rigorous academic programs, MIT continues to shape the future of education and innovation on a global scale.

Elizabeth Bramson-Boudreau, the Publisher and CEO of MIT Technology Review, unveiled the publication’s latest roster of ten breakthrough technologies. With insightful commentary, she elucidated how each innovation is poised to revolutionize various aspects of our daily lives and professional endeavours.

AI for everything

You might have noticed: We now live in the age of AI, where hundreds of millions of people have directly engaged with generative tools like ChatGPT, producing text, images, videos, and more from simple prompts. This widespread adoption has transformed the tech landscape, propelling OpenAI into the spotlight and prompting major investments from industry giants like Google, Meta, and Microsoft.

In late 2022, OpenAI discreetly launched ChatGPT, which swiftly became the fastest-growing app of its kind by January 2023, offering users access to a formidable neural network. Following suit, Microsoft and Google announced plans to integrate chatbots into their search functionalities, despite initial challenges in functionality.

By 2023, generative AI had surged in popularity, with both companies incorporating chatbot-based assistants into their office software and introducing image-making models that enabled users to create shareable images with unprecedented ease.

However, as the technology becomes more ubiquitous, its initial novelty may be fading, prompting a pressing need for deeper examination of its broader implications. While the accessibility and convenience of AI-driven tools have undoubtedly reshaped our digital landscape, we now face the task of navigating the complexities of this new era and understanding its far-reaching impact on society. We’ll have to speed up, to get ready, that is a given!

Super-efficient solar cells

Solar power is crucial for global carbon emission reduction efforts, yet existing solar panels face challenges in maximizing energy conversion efficiency. Despite widespread deployment, a significant portion of absorbed sunlight isn’t efficiently converted into electricity. Researchers propose enhancing solar panel performance by integrating additional layers of tiny crystals, known as quantum dots.

These nanoparticles have unique optical and electronic properties that enable them to capture a broader spectrum of light compared to conventional materials.

By incorporating quantum dots into solar panel design, researchers aim to improve light absorption and energy conversion rates, potentially revolutionizing solar energy technology. Quantum dots’ ability to address limitations of traditional photovoltaic materials makes them promising for enhancing solar panel efficiency and contributing to a more sustainable future… good news!

Apple Vision Pro

Apple’s Vision Pro introduces a significant leap in mixed reality (MR), promising to transform how we learn, heal, and entertain with its blend of the digital and physical worlds. This venture is notable, given Apple’s history of defining new tech realms. The device’s unparalleled visual quality, courtesy of the highest-resolution display for an MR device, is pivotal for immersive experiences, highlighting Apple’s commitment to innovation.

The integration of the Vision Pro into Apple’s ecosystem could make MR technology more user-friendly and accessible, enhancing its appeal to mainstream consumers. This ecosystem synergy, coupled with Apple’s market influence, sets the stage for the Vision Pro to potentially dominate the MR market. That insane price tag though…

Weight-loss drugs

The World Health Organization has labeled the global increase in obesity rates as an epidemic, highlighting the urgent need for effective solutions to combat this growing health crisis. In this context, medications such as Mounjaro (tirzepatide) and Wegovy (semaglutide) have emerged as significant advancements in the treatment of obesity. These medications work by mimicking the action of hormones that regulate appetite and insulin secretion, thereby reducing hunger and promoting weight loss.

Their effectiveness extends beyond mere weight reduction; recent studies indicate that these drugs also offer protective benefits against major cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks and strokes. This dual benefit is particularly noteworthy as individuals with obesity are at increased risk for these conditions, making such medications a valuable component of a comprehensive obesity management strategy.

Enhanced geothermal systems

Geothermal energy, known for its clean, reliable, and abundant nature, has untapped potential due to historical technological and geological limitations. Traditional methods depend on naturally occurring hot water or steam reservoirs, confining geothermal development to specific regions. However, the advent of enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) is set to change this narrative. EGS technology overcomes these barriers by employing advanced drilling techniques to access the Earth’s heat more efficiently, even in locations previously considered unsuitable for geothermal energy extraction.

By drilling deeper and creating artificial reservoirs in hot rock formations, EGS expands the geothermal energy frontier, enabling the harnessing of the Earth’s internal heat on a much broader scale. This breakthrough not only diversifies the geothermal energy landscape but also promises to significantly bolster the global clean energy supply. As EGS technologies evolve and become more widespread, they have the potential to make geothermal energy a cornerstone of sustainable energy systems worldwide, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and contributing to the fight against climate change.


As the computing industry hits the physical limits of transistor miniaturization, a cornerstone of Moore’s Law, it faces the challenge of continuing the exponential growth in computing power. Shrinking transistors further has become increasingly difficult due to quantum interference, heat dissipation issues, and the sheer complexity of nanoscale manufacturing. These challenges necessitate a shift from traditional approaches to innovative solutions to enhance computer speed and efficiency.

Enter chiplets, a groundbreaking approach that offers a way forward. Unlike traditional monolithic chips, which integrate all components on a single semiconductor wafer, chiplets are small, modular chips designed to perform specific functions. These can be manufactured separately and then interconnected on a package, allowing them to operate as a single unit. This modularity enables the integration of various semiconductor technologies and materials within one package, improving performance and energy efficiency. Chiplets also offer economic benefits by reducing manufacturing costs and complexity, as defective parts can be replaced without discarding the entire chip. Furthermore, the chiplet architecture facilitates quicker development cycles for new technologies, offering a flexible and scalable solution to meet the evolving demands of the computing industry. Through chiplets, the industry can transcend the limitations of traditional transistor scaling, ushering in a new era of computing innovation.

The first gene-editing treatment

New treatments based on CRISPR have been in the works for years. In the final weeks of 2023, one from Vertex became the first to earn regulatory approval in both the UK and the US for its ability to cure sickle-cell disease, a life-threatening condition. It won’t be the last.

Exascale computers

Exascale computers, embodying the next frontier in Moore’s Law’s legacy of exponential growth in computing power, have shattered previous computational limits by achieving speeds over an exaflop — that is, more than a quintillion (1 followed by 18 zeros) calculations per second. This breakthrough not only signifies a monumental step forward in the computational capacity but also redefines the potential for scientific research. With the capability to execute more complex and precise simulations, scientists are empowered to explore new dimensions in studies of climate change, nuclear fission, and fluid dynamics, among others.

The evolution to exascale computing, while pushing the boundaries set by Moore’s Law, ensures continuous advancements in our understanding of the world’s most intricate and critical phenomena, promising an era of accelerated innovation and discovery across diverse scientific fields.

Heat pumps

Heat pumps, efficient electric devices for both heating and cooling, are gaining popularity for their potential to cut emissions significantly. Unlike their name suggests, they work by moving heat into or out of a building, depending on the season. This technology is seeing increased adoption worldwide, notably in the US, where sales have recently overtaken those of gas furnaces, signaling a shift towards more eco-friendly heating solutions. Furthermore, advancements in heat pump technology have led to models capable of operating at higher temperatures, making them suitable for industrial applications. This innovation opens up possibilities for using heat pumps in the decarbonization of industries, contributing to global efforts to combat climate change by offering a cleaner alternative to conventional heating methods.

Twitter killers

Following Elon Musk’s acquisition of what is now known as X in 2022, the platform has undergone radical changes, significantly impacting its user base and advertiser confidence. Key moves included substantial staff layoffs and a relaxed approach to content moderation, leading to concerns over the platform’s direction and a dip in user engagement and advertising revenue. This shift has sparked debates on free speech versus the need for moderation to prevent hate speech and misinformation.

Alternative platforms like Bluesky and Threads are gaining popularity, offering users options that align more closely with their expectations for moderation, community, and user experience. This trend toward diversification is fragmenting the social media landscape, moving away from a singular, centralized forum to a variety of “private rooms” with tailored content and communities. This evolution reflects a broader shift in social media, with users gravitating towards platforms that better meet their needs for safe, engaging online spaces, challenging the dominance of established players like X.

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