10 big global challenges that can be addressed by technology

The impression is that together with the progress of human civilization progress and its problems. The industrial revolution led to climate change: the oceans are clogged with plastic, and the planet is gradually turning into Venus. No matter how much we try to improve our lives, always creates opposition and in reply we receive a new task. Solving problems turns into a vicious circle, but we’re resilient — and again we find new solutions. Let’s see what are the ten largest global problems could be solved with technology.


One reduction of greenhouse gas emissions will be insufficient to prevent a sharp increase in global temperatures. We also need to remove massive amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, not only to be incredibly expensive, but put us facing an acute problem of what to do with all this CO2. More and more startups are exploring ways to recycle carbon dioxide into products like synthetic fuels, polymers, carbon fiber and concrete. It promises so much, but we need a cheap way to store billions of tons of carbon dioxide that we may have to extract from the atmosphere.

Storage of electricity in the network

Renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, become cheaper and are used increasingly, but they do not generate electricity when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing. This limits the amount of energy that can supply these sources, as well as the speed of our failure from sustainable sources, such as coal and natural gas. The cost of creating a sufficient number of batteries for backup power entire networks at a time when renewable sources are unavailable, will be astronomical. Various researchers and startups are working to create cheaper forms of energy storage in the network, including flow batteries or tanks of molten salt. In any case, we desperately need cheaper and more efficient way of storing huge amounts of electricity.

Universal flu vaccine

A flu pandemic is rare, but carries a lot of sacrifice. At least 50 million people died in 1918 from the H1N1 pandemic. Recently about one million people died during the pandemics of 1957-1958 and 1968. In 2009, half a million people have died from the return of H1N1. The death toll in recent time is lower because the virus has shown a softer strain. Maybe next time we get lucky and a particularly powerful strain of the virus will start to multiply too quickly, so we have time to react and to create a vaccine to fight it effectively. Universal flu vaccine that protects not only from the relatively less dangerous version of the flu, but also from the devastating outbreak that happens once in a century, is an important task of medicine.

The treatment of dementia

At least 1 out of 10 elderly over 65 years suffers from Alzheimer’s; 3 of the 10 were older than 85 years. As life expectancy increases, the number of people living with the disease worldwide, may increase dramatically. Alzheimer’s disease remains quite misunderstood: the last diagnosis is only possible after death, and even then the doctors argue about the differences between Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, or senile dementia. However, advances in neuroscience and genetics are beginning to shed more light. This understanding provides the key to how you can slow down or halt the devastating effects of this condition.

Cleaning the oceans

Billions of tiny pieces of plastic — the micro-plastic floating around the ocean, even at the bottom of the Mariana trench. Most of this waste comes from packages or tubes, which decay over time. And they poison birds, fish and people. Scientists fear that the impact on human health and on the environment will be too strong, and can take centuries to clear hundreds of millions of tons of plastic have accumulated over decades. Because the pollution is so diffuse, it is difficult to cut, andthere are prototypes of methods to combat the massive pollution of the oceanic areas, there are no solutions for the coasts, seas and waterways.

Energy efficient desalination

On the Ground about 50 times more salt water than fresh. The growth of the world population and worsening climate, the need for fresh water becomes more acute. Israel has built the world’s largest desalination plant with reverse osmosis and now gets most of the water for their household needs from the sea, but this method is too energy intensive to be applied worldwide. Can help new types of membranes; electrochemical methods can do the salt water applicable for irrigation. With regard to technologies for adaptation to climate change, the creation of drinking water from the ocean should be a top priority.

Safe self-driving car

Autonomous cars have driven millions of miles on public roads. The pilot program for the delivery and taxi are gradually being implemented increasingly. However, the car without driver is not yet ready to seize the roads in General. They have problems on busy roads and in snowy weather. If they could be made reliable and secure, we could review the transportation forever. Traffic jams would stop to exist as a phenomenon, and the cities could be rebuilt, because the more Parking there would be no need. In addition, it is expected that self-driving cars will be able to cut the number of fatal incidents on the roads.

Embodied artificial intelligence

Last fall, in the Internet appeared the video from Boston Dynamics, which was captured Atlas robot in all its glory. There he jumped the stairs as a commando. And it happened just two years after AlphaGo won the world’s best go player. Atlas can not play go (it is embodied in the body of the robot, but not a supercomputer), and AlphaGo not able to run (but he is very smart, though disembodied). What happens if you shove consciousness AlphaGo in the body of the Atlas? Many scientists say that a true General artificial intelligence may depend on the ability to link the internal computational processes with real things in the physical world, and that the AI will gain this ability by learning to interact with the physical world, like humans and animals.

Earthquake prediction

More than 100,000 people died in the earthquake in Haiti in 2010 and tsunami in the Indian ocean in 2004 caused one of the most powerful earthquakes that killed nearly a quarter million people in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and other countries. We are able to predict hurricanes for days and weeks, but the earthquake still pop up unexpectedly. Forecasting earthquakes with some confidence in the medium term would allow planners to find sustainable solutions. Warned even for a few hours people could leave unsafe areas and save millions of lives.

Transcript of the brain

Our brain remains a deep mystery to neuroscientists. All that we think and remember, all our movements should somehow be encoded in billions of neurons in our heads. But what code? In understanding how our brain stores and transmits thoughts, there are many unknowns. Breaking this code can lead to a discovery in how we treat mental disorders such as schizophrenia and autism. This will allow us to improve the interfaces that directly connect our brains with computers or even other people, and it will change the lives of people paralyzed by injury or degenerative diseases.