Society as a whole has progressed at an extremely fast rate in the last 100 years. So much so that we've actually made more progress in science and technology in the last 10 years alone. From raising life expectancy and reducing infant mortality, to improving literacy rates and information access, to also decreasing the percentage worldwide in extreme poverty, the world does indeed look like it is getting to a better place.  

Here are some of the emerging trends that are also contributing to more good news than the usual bad we see on mainstream media.

10. 3D printing

It started out as science fiction on Star Trek, but has now become one step closer to revolutionizing how we produce, and unleash inventions and applications. While it’s been around for a while already, 3-D printing has only very recently become more affordable.

The possible applications for it also seem endless for now. From pushing out models and prototypes at a faster pace, it can also, very rudimentary print edible food too. For example, astronauts on the International Space Station may soon be able to eat some 3D printed pizza.

On top of that, scientists are also working on being able to produce living organs from 3D printing, which will no doubt be one of the biggest medical advances in the years to come. Imagine being able to print an organ instead of waiting for one on the donor’s list. This could change the medical landscape for good.

9. Supercomputers will make science and technology progress faster

With every turn of a yearly quarter, we are greeted with some new discovery and invention that could have the possibility of changing our lives. The pace of innovation seems to be speeding up compared to what we’ve seen in the past 20 years and it will only be getting faster from this point onwards.

The effect of such, can be seen with the introduction of supercomputers, crunching and processing more data for a desired result faster than what we could possibly have done in the past. Futurists like Ray Kurzweil even predict that a personal computer may be able to match the human brain capability by 2020.

It’s not surprising that it might be happening already. In very recent news, Google’s AI just beat one of the top players for a game of Go. If supercomputers can calculate thousands of permutations in a game, imagine what more can be done for science! The Go board game champion eventually bested Google’s AI after losing a couple of rounds before that.

For now, science is dishing out more definite research of the things we didn’t know for sure before, and technology is paving the way for it. From gene research to slow down aging to other kinds of incredible medical advances, we’re at the cusp of a better world for sure.

8. We may one day be able to travel without accidents happening

Self driving cars may just be around the corner. Or at least, until Google figures out how not to cause one after their most recent and only crash.

Nevertheless, the idea of self-driving cars would primarily be to reduce the amount of human error. Nothing can be perfect or faultless, which is why the auto industry is still, we’re guessing, hard at work figuring out how to bring this to market and comply with changing laws to accommodate such a paradigm shift in how we travel daily.

Many automakers are already experimenting with introductory features from self-parking to taking control of your vehicle for you on a highway. And as our technology continues to progress, we see companies adding more like collision avoidance to headlights and even tires that are smart enough to communicate road and weather conditions to the car.

Regardless, the tech is here, and we’re probably very close to perfecting it, and with any luck and hope, accidents on the road could be a thing of the past, or reduced to the most minimal of accounts.

7. The Ozone layer is slowly recovering

Thanks to the ban on CFC and the reduction of carbon footprint, the world's efforts are slowly starting to pay off. Over 300 scientists found that the ozone layer is on its track to recovery in the next few decades. Scientists predict that our naturally-made protective layer should recover in a couple of decades. .

The hole that was discovered some 40 years ago has been discovered to be repairing itself. If this keeps up, we could very well see an avoidable decrease in sun-related skin cancers. More importantly, the hole over the arctic is slowly closing up. Still, we face a real risk of rising sea levels as the ice in the arctic continue to melt an alarming rate.

We need the ozone layer. Desperately too. And even as the hole closes up, scientists say that we can expect temperatures to rise by 3 degrees Celsius on average still. The biggest threat is coming from warming seas for now, and even though the global rise has come to a plateau, we shouldn’t be resting on our laurels yet.  

At the very least and as a first step to recovery, we’ll probably see the ozone layer’s hole fully closed by the end of the century.

6. We may be able to one day mine asteroids, thus saving the world. 

Natural resource is finite. And to risk sounding like Superman’s birth planet’s history, many projects are now underway with the idea of mining an asteroid for what’s needed.

The first project of its kind is notably from the company called Planetary Resources. The objective is simple. Land an asteroid-mining robot on one and bring it back home for use on Earth. The idea sounds incredibly ambitious, and it may also answer some of our pressing questions of life elsewhere in the universe.

The idea isn’t far fetched either, as many agencies and companies are being set up to do this. According to its president and chief engineer, space mining could be reality by 2025. The goal is to first transform asteroid water into rocket fuel to further space exploration and then, eventually harvest valuable and useful metals from the space rocks.

But weirdly enough, the race to space mining could potentially set off a Star War. Though, I think we’ll only cross that bridge when we get there. For now, we might have to gamble on its resources to help the rest of humanity. 

5. Bill Gates might actually make his poo-water thing work.

Many of Bill Gates’ interesting feats have been done outside of Microsoft. He’s now more concerned in making the world, literally a better place. One of his highlight projects from 2015 was the showcase technology that turns pee into water.

Clean water is a luxury most of us take for granted. And that’s because we’re not living in an area where it doesn’t exist. For certain parts of the world, this problem isn’t just affecting how dehydrated a person can be, but also, the many other problems that come from bad and dirty water. Chief example of this would be water-borne diseases.

If successfully implemented, Bill Gates’ poo water could do many things, and one of its primary goal is extending human life expectancy for people with no access to clean water. According to news and research, 1-10 suffer and perish from water-borne diseases.

Bill may not have the persona of Tony Stark, but he’s got the will and brains to get it done. He’s also working on multiple ideas on how to make the world a better place. You can check out his blog for more information on other projects.

4. We are very very close to beating HIV

Our battle with HIV seems to be one of the longest ones we’ve had for decades. It almost feels as if we’re not really making any progress since there’s no “cure” per se. However, that could not be any more false, but the answer is more complicated.

From stem cell treatment to new drugs, medical advances have been more effective than before, notably in keeping it at bay and in some instances curing it too. Antiretroviral drugs have shown positive results in certain cases of removing the virus if administered at an extremely early stage.

HIV is incredibly complex and stubborn. It evolves faster than most of the other viruses and for that reason, it’s able to escape total annihilation. Future and experimental treatments target the broad properties of the virus making it harder for HIV to change or escape. If we are able to keep it in its unevolved stage, we might be able to laser in with the kill. 

While the answer isn’t definite for the time being, scientists are working on multiple models to tackle the problem. We’re almost there, and it’s only a matter of time before we unlock its secrets completely.

3. Companies are reducing their carbon footprint

The cost of business can be high, but in this day and age, companies are finding more efficient and cheaper ways to produce the same quality stuff whilst leaving a smaller carbon footprint.

LEGO, is searching for a sustainable material to substitute its plastic bricks to dramatically reduce (LINK 26) its environmental impact seeing in just 2014 the company produce 60 billion of them.  Levi’s is looking to reduce the amount of water that it takes in the manufacturing process of their jeans. Microsoft and Facebook are both using alternative methods to power and cool their datacenters.

Still, the global greenhouse gas emissions are on a high but very much lower compared (LINK 30) to the past decade. As countries like China reduce its coal dependence, we can expect some good changes to happen, albeit at a slow pace.

A more concerted effort in this aspect will have significant positive consequences. One that’s worth looking at from both a business and environmental point of view.

2. Brain signals can control stuff

Imagine being able to use your mind to control your limbs. Scientists are making breakthroughs like this by translating brain signals into commanding lines for prosthetic parts. Its potential stretches beyond helping amputees and the unfortunate. Further progress may open the doors to helping people walk again.

Projects like these aren’t just making life better, but it’ll also help us understand the complexity of our brains and the possibility of discovering all its secrets. If being able to control limbs and exosuits sounds impressive, how about using your brainwaves to control a robot too?

Thought-controlled robotics work by recognizing which brain signals do what, and then telling machines to do just that when these signals are detected. Scientists don’t need to understand how the brain was creating those signals. They only needed to recognize its patterns and make machines do that too.

The applications of this seem endless. From limbs to  machines, to even a car that is controlled by your thoughts.

1. Miracle material stops bleeding fast

A huge percentage of deaths are potentially survivable - if only they did not bleed out. A 17-year-old teenager invented a way to stop all it. The concept of his product is basically a gel that holds the wound together, and a binding agent that repairs the tissue.

Joe Landolina's biotech company may play a role in saving more lives in the future than we possibly could in the past with their product VeTiGel. It works by first creating a mesh around the wound to stitch it up, and uses fibrin to as a bonding agent to clot the blood and heal the wound at the same time.

That’s not all either. A new Israeli bandage is now being used as a treatment to stop a deadly hemorrhage without having the need to apply pressure.

Both approaches can help not just in emergency situations but also during surgery if and when bleeding goes out of control.