Spoiler alert: Our annual Innovators Under 35 contest isn’t actually about what a small group of smart young people have been up to (although that’s certainly part of it). It’s really about where technology is headed next. As you read about what problems this year’s winners have set out to solve, you’ll also glimpse the near future of AI, biotech, materials, computing, and the fight against climate change. To connect the dots, we asked five experts—all judges or former winners—to write short essays about where they see the most promise, and the biggest potential roadblocks, in their respective fields. We hope the list inspires you and gives you a sense of what to expect in the years ahead.