The task of choosing a technology for this list always sparks lively discussions and debates among our team. We had to make hard decisions about what to include and what not to include. Below are some of the technologies that staff nominated but did not make this year.
Fashion brands and designers are now selling digital clothing and accessories on gaming platforms like Metaverse and Roblox. People are buying these outfits to dress up their virtual avatars in a new form of online self-expression. The digital fashion market is growing rapidly and has influenced real-world trends. But our editors think other technologies have more potential to impact more people’s lives in meaningful ways.
next generation space station
The International Space Station will shut down in 2030. what will happen after that NASA will lease space on a private space station, and plans are currently being drawn up by three separate teams. China has its own space station, and Russia says it will launch one too. But with many plans still in the preliminary stages, and it’s unclear what new science these next-generation facilities might bring, our editors think it’s best to wait.
The dream of a household robot that folds laundry and washes dishes has fascinated techies for decades. Are we getting closer? Amazon made a big bet on home robots by acquiring iRobot (maker of the Roomba vacuum cleaner) and releasing Astro (now a roving security robot). Appliance company Dyson recently teased a “secret” household robot prototype. However, truly general-purpose household robots are notoriously difficult to make. When we see it, we believe it.
Electric pickup trucks are starting to hit the U.S. market, including Ford’s F-150 Lightning and Chevrolet’s Silverado EV, as well as models from Rivian and GMC. Americans are buying about as many trucks as they are cars, so these EVs are a big part of the electrification story. But in the end, the idea felt too American-centric. Our editors worry that it ignores important advances in EVs in China, India, Latin America, and Europe. So you’ll see the broader framework of the technology on this year’s list — “inevitable electric vehicles.”
partial cell reprogramming
Several new biotech companies aim to slow or even reverse aging by finding ways to coax adult cells to behave more like embryonic stem cells. Venture capitalists pour billions of dollars into these startups, which recruit superstar scientists to lead their efforts. But as biomedical senior editor Antonio Regalado noted in his recent story titled “How Scientists Can Make You Young Again,” those programs have yet to provide scientific results to back up their claims.