The year 2020 may prove to be a significant one in terms of history thanks to a number of science and engineering breakthroughs, any one of which could be total game-changers going forward.

 

Here is a look at some of the engineering developments that will have wide-reach implications over the next decade.

 

1. An Unhackable Internet Platform

 

The recent cyberattack on the East Coast’s Colonial Pipeline is just a small example of how critically important it is to have secure internet platforms. The ransomware attack disrupted the flow of oil to one-third of the nation resulting in billions of dollars of losses.

 

Now researchers at the Delft University of Technology are test driving what they say will be an internet that cannot be hacked. The system will be tested in four cities of The Netherlands and leverages quantum technology. Information is sent through fiber optic cables using photon pairs. This subatomic information system is 100% immune to outside cyberattacks.

 

2. Anti-Aging Drug Advances

 

Drugs that can stop, slow, or reverse the aging process have long been the Holy Grail of medical research. In 2020, significant advances were made with drugs called “senolytics.” They work by removing specific cells that accumulate as we age and become essentially “dead weight.” Senolytics suppress normal cellular repair mechanisms that can result in a toxic environment for surrounding healthy cells.

 

In short, this would remove one major underlying cause of making the human body age. Drugs like these could add years to our lives while helping us remain more youthful in appearance at the same time.

 

3. AI Discovered Molecules

 

Because we now have gotten very good at genomic sequencing, researchers can get inside the basic building blocks of any kind of cell, including disease cells, and create a blueprint of how these fundamental biological units are built and how they operate.

 

The exciting part about this is that a form of AI called machine learning can be applied to vast databases that are made up of thousands of genomic sequencing results. AI machine learning can constantly massage the data and look for clues and unique configurations that could literally unlock the secrets of what DNA is doing to create the cell it is creating.

 

Gaining this knowledge would give us “a handle” on manipulating cells and diseased cells to allow us to make them do whatever we want. The diseased cells could be “shut off,” and the healthy cells could be improved to superior performance levels.