Stephanie Wehner gives a TED Talk in 2017 on developing an ‘unhackable’ quantum internet. (Source: YouTube)

Unhackable Internet, Hyper-Personalized Medicine Among Top 10

The Computer Science Artificial Intelligence Lab of MIT on March 2 released its list of 10 technology breakthroughs this year that will change the way people “live and work” in its annual list published on

The list includes:

  1. Unhackable internet
  2. Hyper-personalized medicine
  3. Digital money
  4. Anti-aging drugs
  5. AI-discovered molecules
  6. Satellite mega-constellations
  7. Quantum supremacy
  8. Tiny AI
  9. Differential privacy
  10. Climate change attribution

Here is a short summary of  the top five developing technologies by category:

Unhackable Internet

Using quantum technology, researchers at Delft University of Technology, led by Stephanie Wehner, are creating an “unhackable” internet and proving their concept between four cities in the Netherlands. The technology should be available within five years.

“Wehner’s team has demonstrated it can send them more than 1.5 kilometers (0.93 miles), and they are confident they can set up a quantum link between Delft and the Hague by around the end of this year. Ensuring an unbroken connection over greater distances will require quantum repeaters that extend the network.”

Hyper-personalized Medicine

Researchers are creating personalized medication based on gene analysis that can treat rare diseases. A girl with a genetic flaw has been stabilized using a prescription drug created solely for her. The players include A-T Children’s Project, Boston Children’s Hospital, Ionis Pharmaceuticals and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. The players are creating the medications now.

Digital Money

Facebook first proposed digital currency via Libra, which has stalled, but is still a possibility. Since the announcement, the People’s Bank of China took the idea and ran with it, with the expectation of eventually promoting its currency, the renminbi, globally. MIT says China expects to launch it this year.

Anti-Aging Drugs

A San Francisco-based drug company, Unity Biotechnology, launched clinical trials for “senolytic” drugs, which remove “senescent” cells that create low-level inflammation that suppress cellular repair and create a “toxic environment” for nearby cells. It is targeting severe osteoarthritis of the knee and treating age-related diseases of the eye and lungs. The groups project that the drugs will be available within five years. Other drug companies are developing treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, dementia and aging in skin.

AI-Discovered Molecules

AI teams are using similar processes like those used in Alpha Go to compute strategies in creating new molecules for pharmaceutical drug treatments.

“In September, a team of researchers at Hong Kong–based Insilico Medicine and the University of Toronto took a convincing step toward showing that the strategy works by synthesizing several drug candidates found by AI algorithms.”

This would radically speed up drug development. They hope to synthesize and test potential drugs and have some developed within the next three to five years. Key players also include Kebotix, Atomwise, BenevolentAI and Vector Institute.