Center for Strategic Assessment and forecasts

Autonomous non-profit organization

Home / Science and Society / Analytical work: the experience of Russian and foreign experts / Articles
The most interesting predictions of futurists that has come to pass in 2016
Material posted: Publication date: 22-12-2016
Another year has passed and we're one step closer to the dreams of the future. Before you is the most futuristic designs of 2016. This year we saw a luxuriant growth of artificial intelligence in all spheres, the green light for genetic research, the development of virtual reality and much more. Go.

Artificial intelligence finally defeated the world champion in Th

The tournament, which challenged the historical significance of the victory of Deep Blue over chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov in a chess match in 1996, AlphaGo from Google have won four of five games played against the world champion Guo Li Sedalia. Before the tournament some experts naively assumed that the machine will not stand a chance against the man in the game, known for its complexity and intractability.

After his loss SEDOL sheepishly admitted: "After my experience with AlphaGo I was a bit skeptical in the classical belief, so I need to do more research." Lose Sedalia was a loud reminder that machines are quickly catching up with men in the level of intelligence and that no one is immune from the forces of AI.

Uber self-driving cars become a reality

We knew that self-driving taxis will inevitably appear, but in October, Uber launched a fleet of Autonomous transportation, it was a shock — and marked the beginning of a new era in transportation. Self-driving cars are still far from perfect and in some countries banned altogether, but it will take some time — and they are everywhere.

Welcomed the world's first baby with three genetic parents

Controversial technique known as mitochondrial transfer kernel, used in order to make the boy using genetic material from three different parents. This therapy does not give to pass problematic features from mother to child — in this case, was exhausting-Fraumeni syndrome, leading to death and affecting the development of the nervous system. In the US, this method has not yet received permission, so Dr. John Zhang of New Hope Fertility Center had the procedure in Mexico, where no such restriction.

The girl won the right to cryogenic freezing

14-year-old girl with brain cancer in terminal stage has made the implementation of his dying wish, when a British court granted her request to be frozen at the factory of cryonics in the United States. The father of a teenager, deprived of parental rights, initially opposed her wishes, but the court decided that the mother better to handle the desires of the girl in her best interests.

A teenager has died and now frozen in the cryonics Institute in Michigan. This precedent has shown that the desire to be saved in a giant VAT of liquid nitrogen cannot be challenged even parents.

Scientists have created an artificial form of life for all of the 473 genes

Scientists from the Institute of synthetic genomics and the Institute of John. Craig designed and built the "minimal" synthetic bacterial genome, which less than any other in nature.

The objective of the experiment was to create a reference genome, which scientists could use to study the life of, and to add new sets of genes. Syn3.0 is a bacterium of the 473 genes, which can be used to create almost any type of cells with pre-defined properties. This will allow scientists to create artificial life forms that can be used for the production of new medicines, biochemistry, biofuels and food.

Genetics used CRISPR to increase human potential

In 2015 a group of Chinese scientists first used the editing tool CRISPR genes for modification of a human embryo by removing the defective gene responsible for a fatal blood disease (after the experiment embrioni was destroyed). In April this year, a second group of Chinese researchers used CRISPR to something more interesting: she gave human embryos enhanced biological abilities.

In particular, the researchers introduced a beneficial mutation that changes the gene of immune cells and does not allow HIV to enter the cells of the human immune system (as in the experiment of 2015, the embryos were later destroyed). A small part of the human population has this built-in immunity, but the experiment showed that CRISPR can be used to make it public.

A research team from the University of Sichuan in China put modified immune cells of a patient suffering from an aggressive form of lung cancer. The scientists used CRISPR-Cas9 to make cells more resistant to the presence of cancer, thus indicating the first use of a powerful tool to edit the genes for the treatment of a living person.

Neural interfaces has advanced considerably

It was a great year for brain-computer interfaces. A group of researchers headed by Miguel Nicolelis from Duke Health have developed a wireless brain-computer interface that allows monkeys to control the movements of a robotic wheelchair using only one power of thought, while the team from the Swiss Federal Institute of technology in Lausanne implanted neural device to restore motor abilities of paralyzed primates.

Scientists from the Netherlands have successfully tested a brain implant that allowed patient with Lou Gehrig's disease at a late stage to say messages at a rate of two characters per minute, and in a similar experiment, monkeys with brain-computer interface was able to print 12 words per minute using the power of thought. Scientists from John Hopkins University have demonstrated a system that allowed a person to move individual fingers of the prosthesis by thought. And the group from Memorial Institute, Battelle has developed a brain implant that allowed a paralyzed man to play Guitar Hero with his hands, making him the first person to restore function of the body, using the brain signals.

Convincing virtual reality finally appeared on the market

After a nauseating level of expectation and deception, fully immersive virtual reality headset is finally available to consumers, albeit with a high price tag. Products such as Oculur Rift and HTC Vive, met even the most inflated expectations. These devices are truly amazing and bring so much pleasure, much like people.

Scientists have completed a plan to create a synthetic genome from scratch

Last may, about hundreds of scientists, lawyers and entrepreneurs held a secret meeting to discuss the possibility of creating a synthetic human genome. The journalists were not invited, and visitors told to keep my mouth shut. A month later, Harvard biologist George Church said it was unnecessary, and the project — Human Genome Project-write the project of writing the human genome — is an attempt to build and deploy a fully artificial genome in human cells for decades.

The researchers hope to develop powerful new technologies that will allow them to connect long chains of artificial human DNA, and then output these synthetic cells in a Petri dish. At least so they say. And it would seem, nothing more to discuss, but research in this area will one day lead to the creation of artificial organisms and even designer babies.

Alternative energy sources are growing faster than any other

In October, the report of the International energy Agency showed that the growth of renewable energy capacity is at a record high, reaching 153 GWh (that's about all the energy production Canada). Much of this growth is attributable to the new facilities of the coastal wind and solar power plants (about half a million solar panels are installed every day around the world last year).

The IEA says that the first "renewable sources account for more than half of the net annual additions to generating capacity and they caught up with coal in total installed capacity in the world." Technically speaking, we have reached this milestone in 2015, but didn't realize it until October 2016.

"Lost" algorithm collapsed the British pound

On 7 October the British pound suffered a "sudden failure", falling 6% against the dollar in six minutes. Experts point to high frequency stock trade as a culprit — and perhaps one algorithm, which responded to comments by French President Francois Hollande, who called for tougher negotiations on Brexit. This case indicates our dependence and the growing power of bots and algorithms that control becomes more difficult.

Found a promising new way to keep the brain after death

Using a chemical compound to turn the brain of a rabbit in the glassy state, and then cooling it to the temperature of liquid nitrogen, scientists from 21CM showed that it is possible to achieve almost perfect long-term structural preservation of the intact mammalian brain.

The new method will allow scientists to study the brain in unprecedented detail, and can also be applied to cryonics, the practice of keeping the person in a cold state, in the hope that one day he will come back to life. This method essentially turns the brain into an inert piece of plastic, destroying all biological components in the process.

We made a big step towards nuclear fusion

In February, the German scientists used an experimental device for nuclear fusion of hydrogen plasma. In the experiment, the 2-megawatt pulse of microwave energy blew a cloud of hydrogen gas, turning it into a hydrogen plasma is extremely low density.

It only lasted a split second, but it has reached the temperature of 80 million degrees, similar to that in the Sun. It will be some time before we get to the safe, stable and retained nuclear fusion, but the experiment was an important step in this direction.

Ilya Hel


RELATED MATERIALS: Science and Society