Bill Gates Predicts Breakthrough Technology

John Lister's picture

Bill Gates has picked 10 technologies he thinks will break through in 2019. Perhaps surprisingly for the Microsoft founder, only one is even partially related to computers.

Gates made the picks after being chosen as the first ever guest editor of the MIT Technology Review annual list. His only real computer-related choice was artificial intelligence-based assistants (which appear on PCs as well as mobile devices and gadgets) doing a better job of understanding human language. That's always tough, because human speech doesn't follow mathematical logical rules and often depends on context. (Source:

Another gadget development Gates forecast is smart watches incorporating electrocardiogram-like sensors. That could not only improve general fitness monitoring, but pick up potentially serious abnormalities.

Health a Big Topic

Health was a common theme in Gates's picks.

He also pointed to tests that can tell whether a pregnant woman has an increased risk of premature birth; a swallowable pill-like device that can screen people for environmental enteric dysfunction (a disease that causes malnutrition and underdevelopment in children); customized cancer vaccines that cause less damage to healthy cells; and toilets that allow sanitation without sewer systems.

Other suggestions included affordable ways to capture carbon dioxide and reduce the greenhouse gas effect; lab-grown and plant-based foods that better resemble meat but without the environmental damage; and more efficient nuclear power generation.

Robots Get a Grip

Gates final selection was robots getting better at figuring out how to manipulate objects and navigate their surroundings by learning certain situations, rather than having to be programmed for a specific task.

The editor of MIT Technology Review noted that Gates's selection fit an overall theme: that technology is now less about extending lifespans and more about making for a better quality of life. (Source:

While not every selection in previous MIT top tens proved on the money, some technologies did certainly catch on, including instant messaging and cloud computing.

What's Your Opinion?

Which of these developments do you think would be most useful? Are there other technological advances you think would be more important? Are you surprised Gates didn't pick anything more closely related to computing or the Internet?

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buzzallnight's picture


software will get even buggier, less secure and cost more!!!!!!!!

Bill Gates is a man whose foundation poured a lot of money into Africa for food and medical care

and then was surprised that a large portion of the now geometrically expanding population of Africa was pouring into our country and other countries.

This man is not very good at predicting anything.

Several of his "predictions" have already happened so they are not predictions.

jomar's picture

I could give a hoot as to what Bill Gates predicts. He has enough money to end world hunger but has not made any significant effort to do so. Why was he chosen? Because he created microsoft?? A company I despise and the OS that has many problems. This man I certainly do NOT respect.