An Internet that’s unhackable, personalized medicine and digital money top the MIT Technology Review’s 2020 list of breakthrough technologies likely to change how people live and work over the next decade. 

The annual list, which is as highly anticipated each February as the Oscars and Groundhog Day, at least among the tech-savvy, also includes satellite mega-constellations which would provide high-speed Internet to every corner of the earth and tiny AI that allows phones and other devices to operate without needing to communicate with the cloud.

“We’ve been doing it for nearly two decades, and we’ve been pretty good at predicting big trends like data mining, natural-­language processing, and microfluidics, but not so great at specific products,” Gideon Lichfield, editor and chief of the MIT Technology Review, wrote. The independent publication owned by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology reminded readers that making predictions is a risky pursuit.

Dutch researchers will complete a quantum Internet that should be unhackable later this year between Delft and the Hague. Meanwhile, in the health sphere, anti-aging and personalized drugs are anticipated. Within five years, there will be drugs treating age-related ailments, while personalized medicine will help patients with rare, incurable diseases, according to the report.

Digital money would both reduce the need for cash and increase the ability to make transactions without an intermediary. Facebook and the People’s Bank of China have announced digital currency projects.

Scientists are using artificial intelligence to discover molecules that can be turned into potentially life-saving drugs. AI recently identified a powerful new antibiotic for the first time, and chemists now have a tool that could cut the cost of developing new drugs and speed the process.

Quantum computers should solve problems that stump other machines. Researchers have been working on quantum computers for several years, but they only outperform conventional computers under certain conditions. Google announced in October a major advance with what it called the first demonstration of “quantum supremacy.”

The 2020 U.S. Census will be a major test of differential privacy. This allows for information to be collected and shared while keeping the identities of respondents private. If the count goes well, other federal agencies and foreign governments are looking to use the technology.

Meanwhile, the World Weather Attribution and other researchers have made advances that allow them to pinpoint climate change’s role in extreme weather.

  • Gartner, a global research and advisory firm, released its list of the top10 strategic technology trends that will drive disruption and opportunity over the next decade in October. The list included hyperautomation, AI security and practical blockchain.
  • Europe is looking to revolutionize healthcare with a massive project called the European Health Data and Evidence Network that aims to standardize 100 million patient records and permit artificial intelligence algorithms to tap them with the goal of improving all aspects of the medical system.