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10 Breakthrough
Technologies 2023

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Every year, we pick the 10 technologies that matter the most right now. You’ll recognize some; others might surprise you.

We look for advances that will have a big impact on our lives and then break down why they matter.

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CRISPR for high cholesterol

Over the past decade, the gene-editing tool CRISPR has rapidly evolved from the lab to the clinic. It started with experimental treatments for rare genetic disorders and has recently expanded into clinical trials for common conditions, including high cholesterol. New forms of CRISPR could take things further still.

Why it matters
A DNA strand

AI that makes images

This is the year of the AI artists. Software models developed by Google, OpenAI, and others can now generate stunning artworks based on just a few text prompts. Type in a short description of pretty much anything, and you get a picture of what you asked for in seconds. Nothing will be the same again.

Why it matters
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Generative AI is changing the way work gets done in many industries. Learn how in our new series of business reports.
A robot painting on a canvas

A chip design that changes everything

The chip industry is undergoing a profound shift. Manufacturers have long licensed chip designs from a few big firms. Now, a popular open standard called RISC-V is upending those power dynamics by making it easier for anyone to create a chip. Many startups are exploring the possibilities.

Why it matters
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Join us at Future Compute ’23 where we focus on leveraging emerging technologies like RISC-V to accelerate better business outcomes.
A chip design that changes everything

Mass-market military drones

Military drones were once out of reach for smaller nations due to their expense and strict export controls. But advances in consumer componentry and communications technology have helped drone manufacturers build complex war machines at much lower prices. The Turkish Bayraktar TB2 and other cheap drones have changed the nature of drone warfare.

Why it matters
A military drone

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Abortion pills via telemedicine

Abortion ceased to be a constitutional right in the US in 2022, and state bans now prevent many people from accessing them. So healthcare providers and startups have turned to telehealth to prescribe and deliver pills that allow people to safely induce abortions at home.

Why it matters
Abortion pills via telemedicine

Organs on demand

Every day, an average of 17 people in the US alone die awaiting an organ transplant. These people could be saved—and many others helped—by a potentially limitless supply of healthy organs. Scientists are genetically engineering pigs whose organs could be transplanted into humans and 3D-printing lungs using a patient’s own cells.

Why it matters
Conveyor belt with pigsScientists creating organsA scientist holding an artificial heart

The inevitable EV

Electric vehicles are finally becoming a realistic option. Batteries are getting cheaper and governments have passed stricter emissions rules or banned gas-powered vehicles altogether. Major automakers have pledged to go all-electric, and consumers everywhere will soon find there are more good reasons to buy an EV than not.

Why it matters
The inevitable EV

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James Webb Space Telescope

The first breathtaking images of the distant cosmos captured by the world’s most powerful space telescope inspired a collective sense of awe and wonder. And this thing’s just getting started. Discoveries will come almost as rapidly as scientists can analyze the data now flooding in. A new era of astronomy has begun.

Why it matters
James Webb Space Telescope

Ancient DNA analysis

Genomic sequencing tools now let us read very old strands of human DNA. Studying traces from humans who lived long ago reveals much about who we are and why the modern world looks the way it does. It also helps scientists understand the lives of regular people living back then—not just those who could afford elaborate burials.

Why it matters
Ancient DNA analysis

Battery recycling

Recycling is vital to prevent today’s growing mountains of discarded batteries from ending up in landfills, and it could also provide a badly needed source of metals for powering tomorrow’s EVs. Companies are building facilities that will reclaim lithium, nickel, and cobalt and feed these metals back to lithium-ion battery manufacturers, helping reduce the cost.

Why it matters
Battery recycling

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ABOUT THE LIST

10 Breakthrough Technologies 2023

10 Breakthrough Technologies is an annual list published by MIT Technology Review recognizing important technological advances in artificial intelligence, biotechnology, climate change, computing, cybersecurity, space science, and more. Every year, our reporters and editors nominate dozens of technologies we think will change the world. Some of the advances you see highlighted here are already widely available, while others will emerge soon. It’s the 22nd year we’ve published this list.

See what made the list last year

Credits

Design & EngineeringLead developer: Andre Vitorio
Design: Vichhika Tep
Product: Allison Chase
CTO: Drake Martinet
EditorialSpecial projects editor: Amy Nordrum
Editing: Allison Arieff, Rachel Courtland, Niall Firth, Mat Honan, Amy Nordrum, David Rotman, and Amanda Silverman
Copy editing: Linda Lowenthal, David Richwine
Engagement: Juliet Beauchamp, Abby Ivory-Ganja
Fact checking: Matt Mahoney
ArtArt direction: Stephanie Arnett, Eric Mongeon
Illustration: David Alabo, Michael Byers, Erik Carter, Nick Little, Amrita Marino
Photography: NASA, Redwood Materials
JWST Model: NASA, Paul (Sketchfab), licensed under Creative Commons