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Where is technology heading to?

date: 9 February 2021
reading time: 3 min

Many years ago, the invention of the telegraph was considered a major breakthrough. Right now, not only do inventions get much more sophisticated, but they are mass-produced. Where will technology be in a few years?

Throughout the years, it was scientists who helped us understand the invisible phenomena, like temperature, atoms, etc. The focus of modern studies is similar – to discover as much as possible on those aspects of our universe that are unperceivable to the naked eye.

IBM researchers listed 5 trends that are most likely to change the world as we know it… in 5 years from now. What changes are we likely to experience?

Conversion of CO2 

Because climate change is a real threat now, researchers aim to cut CO2 emissions. Their primary idea is to capture as much CO2 as possible and turn it into useful components. The CO2-based materials are manufactured with a recyclability trait. Researchers make an effort to design both raw materials and polymers with a reuse potential. At IBM, they use AI to test various chemical reactions in large amounts.

With advancements in this technology, we’ll be able to reduce pollution considerably, as harnessing and repurposing CO2 will become viable.

Less harmful manufacturing of nitrogen-based fertilisers

Researchers are looking for a solution for mimicking natural processes of creating nitrates. The current method of manufacturing such fertilisers involves burning fossil fuel. This way of creating fertilisers accounts for up to 1% of global CO2 pollution, and therefore, it’s deemed not very sustainable in the era of global warming.

By using quantum computers and AI to analyse simulations of catalytic processes, we may be able to discover new ways of producing the fertilisers.

The end goal is to scale the process to correspond to our current agricultural requirements.

Battery innovations

Nowadays, we rely on renewable resources more than ever before. For this reason, we need better ways to store energy. While the li-ion batteries we use currently are fairly efficient, they’re produced using materials such as cobalt and nickel, whose disposal is quite harmful to the environment.

The usage of quantum computing and AI can help us speed the discovery process up, and, in turn, let us invent new ways of storing energy.

For now, lithium-sulfur batteries seem like the best option at the time being.

Better sustainability of semiconductors

The usage of semiconductors is the highest in history. All of the chip-powered devices we use contain them. The process of manufacturing them has to be as sustainable as possible because it’s on such a large scale that it becomes harmful for our environment.

While the semiconductors themselves have shrunk, the demand for them has increased.

By analysing data from scientific studies using AI and quantum computers, researchers may be able to come up with solutions for this problem within the next few years.

While this type of research is among the hardest, as it involves material chemistry, there is a good possibility that we’ll see improvement in this field.

AI and data analysis in terms of antivirals

Now that COVID-19 is at large, researchers are using AI and quantum computers to find new medical uses for substances.

As per the IBM website:

Though it’s nothing any of us wants to think about today, scientists estimate there could be over a million viruses in nature with potential to progress in a similar manner as SARS-CoV-2.

Drug repurposing at a scale is what we might need in the future. Right now we have developed a vaccine for COVID-19, although we can’t be certain that such a situation won’t repeat itself. We need to be prepared for it.

Wrap up

With their wide-reaching potential for transformation, these innovations may greatly improve the well-being of humans and the state of our planet. Five years doesn’t seem like a lot of time, yet technology does not stand still and a lot will happen in the next 5 years.

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