The task of selecting technologies for this list always sparks lively discussions and debate within our team. We have to make tough calls about what to include and what to leave out. Below are a few technologies that staff nominated this year but didn’t ultimately make the cut.
Fashion brands and designers are now selling digital clothing and accessories in the metaverse and on gaming platforms like Roblox. And people are buying these garments to dress up their virtual avatars, in a new form of online self-expression. The digital fashion market is growing quickly and already influencing real-world trends. But our editors felt other technologies had greater potential to affect more people’s lives in a meaningful way.
Next-generation space stations
The International Space Station closes in 2030. What happens after that? NASA will rent space on a private space station, plans for which are now being developed by three separate teams. China has its own space station, and Russia says it will launch one too. But since many of the plans are still preliminary and it’s not yet clear what new science might emerge from these next-gen facilities, our editors thought it best to wait.
The dream of a home robot that folds laundry and does the dishes has captivated technologists for decades. Are we getting closer? Amazon has been big on home robots with its acquisition of iRobot (the maker of Roomba vacuums) and release of Astro, now a roving security bot. The appliance company Dyson recently teased “secret” chore robot prototypes. However, a true general-purpose chore robot is notoriously hard to build. We’ll believe it when we see it.
The EV pickup
Electric pickup trucks are starting to hit the US market, including Ford’s F-150 Lightning and Chevy’s Silverado EV, along with models from Rivian and GMC. Americans buy about as many trucks as cars, so these EVs are an important part of the electrification story. Ultimately, though, this idea felt too US-centric. Our editors worried it ignored important EV progress in China, India, Latin America, and Europe. So you’ll see a broader framing of this technology—”The inevitable EV”—on this year’s list.
Partial cellular reprogramming
Several new biotech firms aim to slow or even reverse aging by finding ways to coax adult cells to behave more like stem cells found in embryos. Venture capitalists have poured billions into these startups, which have recruited superstar scientists to lead their efforts. But as Antonio Regalado, senior editor for biomedicine, points out in his recent story titled “How do scientists want to make you young again?” These projects haven’t yet delivered the scientific results to back up their claims.