Here’s what didn’t make the 2023 Top 10 Breakthrough Technologies list
The task of selecting technologies for this list always sparks heated discussions and debates within our team. We have to make tough decisions about what to include and what to omit. Below are a few technologies that staff members nominated this year but ultimately weren’t selected.
Fashion brands and designers are now selling digital clothing and accessories in the metaverse and on gaming platforms like Roblox. And people are buying these clothes to dress up their virtual avatars, in a new form of online self-expression. The digital fashion market is growing rapidly and is already influencing real-world trends. But our editors felt that other technologies had greater potential to affect the lives of more people in meaningful ways.
Next Generation Space Stations
The International Space Station closes in 2030. What happens next? NASA will lease space on a private space station, plans for which are being developed by three separate teams. China has its own space station and Russia says it will launch one too. But since many plans are still preliminary, and it’s unclear what new science might emerge from these next-gen facilities, our editors thought it best to wait.
The dream of a household robot that folds laundry and does the dishes has captivated technologists for decades. Are we getting closer? Amazon has bet big on home robots with its acquisition of iRobot (the maker of Roomba vacuum cleaners) and the release of Astro, now a roving security robot. Home appliance company Dyson recently unveiled prototype “secret” chore robots. However, a true all-purpose chore robot is notoriously difficult to build. We’ll believe it when we see it.
The EV pickup
Electric pickup trucks are starting to hit the US market, including Ford’s F-150 Lightning and Chevy’s Silverado EV, as well as models from Rivian and GMC. Americans buy about as many trucks as cars, so these electric vehicles are an important part of the electrification story. Ultimately, however, this idea seemed too US-centric. Our editors feared he had overlooked significant advances in electric vehicles in China, India, Latin America and Europe. So you’ll see a broader framework of this technology – “The Inevitable EV” – on this year’s list.
Partial cell reprogramming
Several new biotech companies aim to slow or even reverse aging by finding ways to make adult cells behave more like stem cells found in embryos. Venture capitalists poured billions into these startups, which recruited superstar scientists to lead their efforts. But as biomedicine editor Antonio Regalado points out in his recent article, “How Scientists Want to Make You Younger,” these projects have yet to provide the scientific results to back up their claims.