The news of 2019 on technology, science and innovation that project us into the future
31 December 2019 | Written by La redazione
The present is full of signs of the future: we have selected discoveries, technologies and innovations that are destined to have an impact on our tomorrow
One of the methods to think about possible futures with a more scientific approach is to learn to recognize and identify the so-called weak signals, news, discoveries and events of the present that could suggest important changes in tomorrow.
2019 is at the end of the year and it was a year full of new achievements in the world of science which, in the future, could lead to significant impacts in various sectors.
Here are the news that, according to the editorial team of Impactscool, have marked this 2019.
The first image of a black hole
The incredible effort of the international collaboration EHT produced in April the first image of a supermassive black hole, the one located in the center of the M87 galaxy more than 50 million light years from Earth. Over 200 researchers, scientists and technicians from all over the world have worked to obtain the image: a shot that represented a turning point, not only from a scientific point of view but also from an organizational and global coordination one, the yet another confirmation that the future of large-scale scientific research can only be done by overcoming political and geographical boundaries in order to be able to touch the boundaries of knowledge.
Google’s (alleged) quantum supremacy
In September an announcement shook the world of information technology and more: a new quantum computer developed by IBM with 53 QuBit at its disposal promised to reach computing speeds inaccessible to normal computers. This type of device, in fact, uses QuBits to carry out its calculations, a quantum information unit that can represent a 0 or a 1, like traditional computers, but also both simultaneously thanks to the principle of overlapping. This possibility allows quantum computers to do much more elaborate calculations than traditional computers and much faster.
Even Google, in a short time, presented a system capable of carrying out in just 3 minutes a calculation that a traditional computer would have taken 10 thousand years to solve, announcing that it had achieved quantum supremacy and unleashing a series of blows and responses with IBM.
Neuralink: human-machine interaction is increasingly concrete
After so much mystery, Elon Musk has revealed the plans and results achieved by Neuralink, the startup founded in 2017 that aims to create new connection technologies between the brain and computer. Two years of work and $ 100 million in funding led to the creation of the first prototypes, tested on laboratory animals (rats and a monkey), and presented by Musk himself to the audience at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco in July. It is a DBI (Deep Brain Implant) interface, devices that already exist and that are used for research purposes mainly to allow the control of a mechanical limb through thought. Normally these systems, however, are bulky, difficult to implant surgically and have a limited data transmission band. The results obtained by Neuralink instead show a much less invasive interface that exploits very thin flexible and resistant fibers that are inserted in the brain to collect data and, in the future also send it, at a speed 10 times faster than the DBI systems currently used.
That climate has become a global emergency
The study published on 5 November in the journal BioScience and signed by 11,000 scientists from 153 countries, 250 Italians leaves no room for interpretation: we are facing a climatic emergency. This is the scientific article with the largest number of signatures ever published, an almost unanimous answer to those who in recent months have raised some doubts about the real seriousness of the situation. In the research, based on the analysis of 40 years of scientific data, the experts also suggest six measures to be taken urgently to try to cope with the ongoing emergency.
Advances in medicine are giving us a vaccine for Ebola
The world of healthcare is in great turmoil: accomplices increasingly performing technologies, precision devices and ever more in-depth knowledge of human biology we are going at great speed towards personalized medicine. The news of 2019, however, concerns a virus known for some time and for which, finally, there is a vaccine: Ebola. On 11 November the EMA, the European Medicines Agency, allowed the US pharmaceutical company Merck to market the vaccine. It is not the only vaccine capable of dealing with the virus but it is the only one that has been tested during the epidemic and has proven to be very effective in preventing infection. The drug has already been administered to hundreds of thousands of people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Space: 50 years after the moon landing, the Moon is back
2019 was characterized by great achievements and a renewed media attention for the world of space exploration, which can count on many new protagonists, private and otherwise. In the year in which the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Mission, which brought man to the Moon for the first time, could only be our satellite the protagonist of “our” mission of 2019. On January 3, at 3.26 Italian time, the Chinese Chang’e-4 spacecraft reached a historical result: it landed on the hidden side of the Moon, the one not visible from Earth. To date, no one had succeeded in this endeavor. After achieving this goal, China is increasingly in the running for a leading role in space exploration in the near future, in which the hypotheses of permanent orbiting stations around the Moon and of moon bases are becoming more concrete. Always looking towards Mars.