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Other People’s Breakthrough Technologies

Another take on the biggest innovations to pay attention to.

Putting together this publication’s annual 10 Breakthrough Technologies list, which comes out each spring, is a long and involved process. So I’m exceedingly curious about what other people come up with when they take on roughly the same question, which is “what are the most important technologies to watch in the coming years?” One such report is now out from researchers with the McKinsey consulting company who identify 12 technologies that they think will be the most “disruptive” over the next decade.

It’s well done, though it differs from MIT Technology Review’s list because we focus on specific technologies rather than overall trends like the mobile Internet and the cloud, which are both on the McKinsey list. The remaining 10 on their list are the automation of knowledge work; the “Internet of things”; advanced robotics; autonomous vehicles; next-generation genomics; energy storage; 3-D printing; advanced materials; advanced oil and gas recovery; and wind and solar energy.

Perhaps the best part of the McKinsey list actually comes in a sidebar where the researchers hedge their bets and list “other technologies on the radar.” One of them is an obsession of ours: the crucial technology of carbon sequestration.

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