For some people, 2016 was a year full of bad news.
There was, however, another side to it. Another side full of technological achievements which advanced humanity in a way never seen before.
Here is a rundown.
7 Tech Wins In 2016
We live in a super-connected world
Today, 3 billion people connected to the internet. In 2010 this number was 1.8 billion and by 2022-2025 this figure rises to 8 billion. The entire planet.
The days of dial-broadband are so far behind us it’s scary. In today’s internet, we have access to anything we need over the internet and fast! Millions of products through Amazon, free access to AI through IBM Watson and the ability get strangers to give you money for your business or idea through crowdfunding.
Here are some stories that highlight the acceleration of tech in 2016.
- Mukesh Ambani announced free internet for the whole of India by 2018 through his mobile network JIO. Read more.
- Googles 5G solar-powered drone internet for all service began testing at Spaceport America in New Mexico. Read more.
- Facebooks solar-powered internet drone has been in testing. This has the wingspan of an airliner and requires the same power as 3 hairdryers. Read more.
- Elon Musk announces 4,425 internet satellite system. The SpaceX founder plans to deliver these into lower earth orbit around the planet to bring the internet to all. Read more.
Solar & Renewables Now Cheaper Than Coal
2016 was a huge step forward towards reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.
We reached a milestone where the cost of solar and renewable energy fell below that of coal in more than 30 countries.
This is, without a doubt, one of the most important developments in our short history and one which is a major milestone for the renewables industry.
Here is some data to back it up.
- 25% of the world’s energy now comes from renewables. Read more.
- Las Vegas now runs entirely on renewable energy sources. Read more.
- Scotland generated 106% of its energy requirements from wind in 2016. Read more.
- Telsa’s Giga factory has started production to become the largest battery factory in the world. Read more.
The War On Cancer Gained Some New Weapons
Although it is hard to imagine, due to some radical advancements in technology and the appropriate regulation catching up, the end of cancer and disease could be near.
Here are some of the biggest wins.
- CRISPR/Cas-9 was used in a human trial in China. Read more.
- American University gained approval to use CRISPR/Cas-9 in a project to modify immune cells in 18 different cancer patients. Read more.
- CRISPR/Cas-9 achieved a 50% success rate in removing the HIV gene from animals. Read more.
- A new HIV treatment caused infected cells to vanish completely! Read more.
- Measles completely eradicated in the US. Read more.
- A new ebola vaccine proved 100% effective. Read more.
The World Met Autonomous Cars
If you are a self-driving car nerd like me then you know that 2016 was ‘the’ year of the autonomous vehicle.
Tesla currently lead the charge with Uber and Google following not so far behind.
This is going to be the defining technology advancements on the decade and one day we’ll look back thinking how crazy it is that we let humans near a steering wheel.
Some big developments include…
- Uber releases the first fleet of self-driving cars in Pittsburgh. Read more.
- After acquiring self-driving truck start up Otto, Uber made its first autonomous delivery of 50,000 beers. Read more.
- Tesla is now shipping all new cars with level 5 autonomy built in. This means the vehicles are able to drive without any input from a human. Read more.
- Self-driving tractors start to hit farms across the world. Read more.
- General Motors announce first fully autonomous car. Read more.
- Car ownership could be killed off as soon as 2025. Read more.
The Rise Of The Drones
In a short period of time drones have gone from the garages of hobbyists to up front and center ready to disrupt the industry as we know it.
From transport to logistics here are a few stories which caught attention in 2016.
- Amazon Prime Air makes its first delivery by drone in the Uk. Expect a bigger roll out in 2017. Read more.
- Mercedes commit $500 million to its drone delivery efforts through a concept called the Vision Van. Read more.
- 7-11 convenience stores delivered 77 deliveries by drone in 2016.
- Amazon wins a patent for a flying warehouse which will be used as a base for drones to deliver packages within minutes. Read more.
- Uber launched its Elevate program. The global transport company plans to enter the flying car arena with on-demand aviation. Read more.
Artificial Intelligence Took All The Prizes
Without a doubt, the most important technology we will ever develop is AI or Artificial Intelligence. The single biggest opportunity bar none.
In brief, AI is the ability for computers to understand human input such as a question and give you back the best more accurate answer.
Most of us have access to an early form of Artifical Intelligence in the form of Siri on our iPhones.
To the more interested, you may have heard of IBM Watson, IBM’s supercomputer.
Here are some big stories that hit in 2016.
- AI can now read your lips. Read more.
- AI predicted the India election better than humans. This was based on 20 million data points. Read more.
- AI saved a women’s life in Japan. IBM Watson correctly identified a rare form of leukaemia. Read more.
- AI beat a human fighter pilot in air combat. Read more.
- A Google-owned company Deep Mind beat the GO world champion 4 games to 1 with its AI ‘Alpha Go’. Read more.
2016 was a massive year for advances in space exploration by the private sector.
Companies such as Space X, Blue Origin, Planetary Resources and various other teams made huge leaps forward.
- Space X landed a reusable rocket booster on a remote control barge at sea in April 2016. Read more.
- Blue Origin an Amazon company announced its ‘New Glenn’ rocket which is a massive reusable rocket is being developed to deliver satellites and humans into space. Read more.
- Four teams sign contracts to fly to the moon in 2017. The teams are competing for the $20 million Google Lunar XPrize to become the first private company to do so. Read more.
- Elon Musk announces plans to go to Mars. The Space X and Tesla founder said that he will put a person on Mars by 2025. Read more.
- Starshot Project backed by theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and Russian billionaire Yuri Milner target interstellar travel with a $100 million fund. Read more.
Watch SpaceX make history here –
If you liked that, check out all of Space X’s landings so far below.
All in all 2016 was a great year for advancements in technology that has the potential to affect humanity in a positive way.
Let’s hope there is more to come in 2017.