In poor countries, we still need better ways to measure the effectiveness of the many government workers providing health services. They are the crucial link bringing tools such as vaccines and education to the people who need them most. How well trained are they? Are they showing up to work?
The nuclear approach I'm involved in is called a traveling-wave reactor, which uses waste uranium for fuel. There's a lot of things that have to go right for that dream to come true - many decades of building demo plants, proving the economics are right. But if it does, you could have cheaper energy with no CO2 emissions.
When Ford sells a car, a dealer isn't allowed to take out the engine and put a different one in. When a newsstand sells the Washington Post, no one can go to the newsstand and pay them to rip out the classified section and put their own classified section in - if they could, they would do so.
The common thread for everything I do is this idea of a Web-services architecture. What does that mean? It means taking components of software and systems and having them be self-describing, so that you can aim them, ask them what their capabilities are, and communicate with them using a standard protocol.
Microsoft Research has a thing called the Sense Cam that, as you walk around, it's taking photos all the time. And the software will filter and find the ones that are interesting without having to think, 'Let's get out the camera and get that shot.' You just have that, and software helps you pick what you want.