Lab-grown meat, innovative toilets, AI and others: the MIT 2019 Breakthrough Technology choices

MIT Technology Review sat down with Bill Gates to discuss his picks for the 2019 Breakthrough Technology. The list is pretty interesting, and something about which anyone with an interest in technology should think. Interestingly, the first item he mentions is lab-grown meat, about which I made my first blog post here on Kenga Solutions in the Innovation and entrepreneurship category. The key benefit is reduction in greenhouse gasses, but interestingly he does not bring in a moral dimension, but I guess he moral dimension will benefit whatever the underlying motivator for advancement.

AI and virtual assistants. He believes that we will have executive assistant capability in 5-10 years. I would lean towards the 10 years, but for sure it is coming. The training methods we have today and the technologies they run on are challenging, but a lot is happening in the area of the underlying technology that supports AI type computation.

Interestingly, the third pick discussed was “The reinvented toilet”.  This speaks to the high capital cost of building the infrastructure for human waste processing,  and the fact that in middle to high income countries this is so taken for granted that it is not really thought about as an area for innovation. Here he is talking about the large scale sewer system that used a lot of water and energy. These technologies are still very expensive, but the whole sewer system is ripe for disruption, and bringing human waste processing down to the level of the individual home. Could be another way to become a billionaire. Want to give it a shot?

Watch the video to see more about some of these breakthrough technology choices, and read about them here. The full 10 are: robot dexterity, new-wave nuclear power, predicting preemies, gut probe in a pill, custom cancer vaccines, the cow-free burger, carbon dioxide catcher, carbon dioxide catcher, sanitation without sewers, smooth-talking AI assistants.