MIT has built a powerful new search engine that allows one to see the future of technology

future technology concept - handsome man with futuristic glasses
  • MIT has built a powerful new search engine that allows users to note the expected progress in various technological fields in the future
  • This search engine measures the “rate of improvement” or advancement of various technology in terms of percentage by tracking the database of patents made in the US
  • This potential new search engine has found several investors including the United States Air Force for its ability to help predicts future investments in the valuable research and henceforth, the stock markets

With leaps worth of advancements in the field of technology, the most hyped technological marvels of the early 2000’s decade have now become comparable to a new generation smartphone. Technology is becoming obsolete with every passing second as researchers and innovators are coming up regularly with the next “ big thing”. At this pace, how is it possible even for the most devoted technology enthusiast to keep up with the latest and even more importantly, the future possibilities in the field?

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology(MIT), USA have obviously come up with the expected answer.

The researchers at MIT have come up with a search engine, similar to its counterpart Google. This search engine is capable of showing its user the future of technology with predictions regarding upcoming advancements and when to expect them.

Origin of the search engine

The search engine system was developed by a team at MIT that specifically studies the niche of innovation. The research is conducted under the leadership of MIT professor, Christopher Magee. He is a retired engineer and designer from Ford Motor Company. His team also mostly consists of engineers who have previously worked in the automobile industry and are well versed in the field of innovation in technology.

How does the search engine work?

In a basic sense of the term, MIT’s search engine is based on Moore’s Law. Moore’s Law is not exactly a law of physics but rather an example of the relationship between technology and production. It states that the speed and capabilities of a technological device say computers, doubles every two years due to the increase in the number of transistors and microchips that it can fit. Basically, the MIT search engine draws inspiration from the fact that technological advancements in the future can be predicted to a certain extent.

The search engine system is based on a complex Artificial Intelligence model which collects its data from the United States patents database. Then, moving forwards the model takes into account citations of a particular patent from other patents it might be related to belonging to a possibly different field for example any new patent to improve semiconductors will also be related to the improvement in lasers and so on. Thus when one types their search related to a particular technology into the search engine, it will produce results of its innovation rate along with the top 10 most-cited recent patents about it.

What do these percentage innovation rates actually predict?

The MIT search engine essentially measures in percentage the “expected rate of improvement” of a certain technology in each year. Examples include batteries, which are predicted to improve at a 13.3% rate. Similarly, semiconductors found in microchips and processors offer a 42.6% rate.

Let us take the example of batteries. Any improvement in batteries, the information of which is obtained from registered patents, say improvements in regard to watts per square centimetre or the watt-hours stored per dollar of investment, will be directly related to its performance. Hence, with an accurate prediction of the rate of improvement, a user can directly understand the enhancements in performance expected in said technological field in the future.

How useful is MIT’s search engine?

For technology enthusiasts as well as investors, the complex MIT search engine is a gold standard. With this powerful tool at their fingertips, they can expect to know in advance about potential areas of technology expected to become popular in the future. For investors, it acts as a cheat code letting them invest in various research labs and companies working with technology showing a promising rate of improvement. It also enables accurate predictions of the ups and downs in the stock market for said investors. For budding research companies working in the same field, it’s a boon.

Although the search engine might be Magee’s brainchild, he has also launched a company called Technext based on the same research. It allows organizations to understand when to invest in certain technologies and by what time one can expect the same technology to become obsolete. Magee’s company and research have captured the notable attention of the U.S. Air Force.


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