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The technologies making waves in 2017 include brain implants and quantum computers. Here is the list of top 5 technologies:
We’ve heard lots about self-driving cars – but trucks? One idea is for these future trucks to drive autonomously on long highway stretches when drivers might not be alert. Broader application is convoys that “platoon” together to cut down on wind drag and save on fuel costs.
Pay by face
A flick of your Apple Watch to pay at Starbucks is already doable in the real world. The next step may be face recognition that is “finally accurate enough to be widely used in financial transactions and other everyday applications.”
Baidu, China’s most popular search engine, is working on a system that lets people buy rail tickets with a face scan.
AI that learns like humans
At the top of the list is behavior-reinforced artificial intelligence. Whether that’s mastering the complex game of Go and beating a champion or learning to merge a self-driving car into traffic.
The technology is based on reinforcement learning, documented more than a 100 years ago by psychologist Edward Thorndike. He showed that cats eventually learned how to escape from a box with a latched door by trial-and-error. That behavior was reinforced with reward (food) and eventually became an established behavior.
360-degree cameras for everyone
People experience the world in 360 degrees now consumer cameras can too.
Until recently, that wasn’t the case: it used to cost thousands of dollars to build a system that that replicated a 360 experience. Today, you can grab a good 360-degree camera for under $500.
The key is using the technology in a way that doesn’t bore your friends and family. Interesting applications include journalists using low-cost 360 cameras to document news, including this New York Times video that can be panned 360 degrees showing the devastation left by ISIS in Palmyra, Syria.
Scientists Figure Out How to Turn Hydrogen into Metal
Harvard University scientists figured out how to turn hydrogen – the lightest of all elements – into a metal, a feat studied by researchers for nearly 100 years.
Experts say this new discovery could revolutionize the modern world. The properties of metallic hydrogen could lead to faster super computers, levitating railways, and advances in energy that could literally power rocket ships deep into our solar system.
“It takes a tremendous amount of energy to make metallic hydrogen,” said Professor Isaac Silvera. “And if you convert it back to molecular hydrogen, all that energy is release, so it would make it the most powerful rocket propellant known to man and could revolutionize rocketry. That would easily allow you to explore the outer planets.”
But don’t get too excited – while scientists say the discovery is a huge step, the sample size they used is extremely small. More tests will determine whether larger quantities of hydrogen can be transformed into a metal.