2019’s sure been a year. For South Africa, that means extreme highs and depressing lows, but one things for sure, the country didn’t stop…
National Geographic and General Electric have teamed up for Breakthrough; a new TV series which explores the latest developments in brain science, longevity, water, energy, pandemics and cyborg technology. The series’ premise is that incredible life-saving technologies have become so part of our everyday lives that we sometimes take them for granted. It therefore aims to shine a light on the most innovative technologies shaping how we live.
Each hour-long episode is directed by a Hollywood visionary – Angela Bassett, Peter Berg, Paul Giamatti, Akiva Goldsman, Ron Howard and Brett Ratner.
The Ebola outbreak which ravaged communities in West Africa in 2014 and early 2015 came with incredible stories of courage and selflessness. But the pandemic also forced scientists to evolve as fast as the virus they were fighting. Making breakthroughs all the time, these scientists and medical practitioners are finding new ways to fight pandemic viruses, from antibiotics and vaccines to computer programs that predict how viruses spread.
More Than Human
Every innovation we’ve ever come up with required thought, originating in the roughly 1.5kgs of flesh that makes up our brain. Up until now, that’s been the best we could hope for, but what happens when we go beyond the capabilities of the biological brain. That’s just one of the questions advancements in technology are allowing us to answer.
Those aren’t the only discoveries we’re making either, with an increasing number of breakthroughs that may shed light on the mystery of consciousness, free thousands from comas and afflictions such as epilepsy, and offer relief to people haunted by severe trauma.
The Age of Aging
Thanks to our ability to fight once deadly diseases and the advancements we’ve made in feeding an increasingly large proportion of the planet’s population, people are living longer than ever. Thing is, now that people are regularly living into their 80s, we’re facing a new problem. People now spend more time sick at the end of our lives than ever before.
Given that many of these diseases are age-related, the logical thing to do is try and prevent, or at the very least slowdown, the aging process itself.
Energy on the Edge
Over the past couple of hundred years we’ve made incredible gains in the energy space. Thing is, those gains largely depended on burning massive amounts of fossil fuels and the costs have been enormous. Fortunately, a new generation of inventors, innovators, and entrepreneurs who are looking to the edge of discovery for new ways to keep these wheels in motion. There is, for instance, enough energy trapped inside a single glass of water to power a major metropolitan city for a day, and experimental physicists believe they’re close to unlocking it.
In some respects, Earth has an abundance of water. After all, it makes up the vast majority of the planet’s surface. In other respects though, it’s incredibly scarce. Saltwater oceans dominate 97% of the water on Earth. Glaciers at our polar caps lock up 2% of our fresh water. Our population of 7 billion people and millions of animal species share just 1% of the water available on our planet.
With climate change savaging weather systems and our population steadily rising, scientists and engineers all over the world are struggling to create local solutions for the growing global water problem.