In chaotic times it can be reassuring to see so many people working toward a better world. That’s true for medical professionals fighting a pandemic and for ordinary citizens fighting for social justice. And it’s true for those among us striving to employ technology to address those problems and many others.
The 35 young innovators in these pages aren’t all working to fight a pandemic, though some are: see Omar Abudayyeh and Andreas Puschnik. And they’re not all looking to remedy social injustices, though some are: see Inioluwa Deborah Raji and Mohamed Dhaouafi. But even those who aren’t tackling those specific problems are seeking ways to use technology to help people. They’re trying to solve our climate crisis, find a cure for Parkinson’s, or make drinking water available to those who are desperate for it.
We've been presenting our list of innovators under 35 for the past 20 years. We do it to highlight the things young innovators are working on, to show at least some of the possible directions that technology will take in the coming decade. This contest generates more than 500 nominations each year. The editors then face the task of picking 100 semifinalists to put in front of our 25 judges, who have expertise in artificial intelligence, biotechnology, software, energy, materials, and so on. With the invaluable help of these rankings, the editors pick the final list of 35.