28 July 2023

Emerging Technologies 2023

Welcome back. Four years ago, I reviewed the World Economic Forum’s Top 10 Emerging Technologies of 2019 in a blog post Emerging Technologies. Covering 10 topics in one post was a new experience that I’ll try to repeat with the 2023 report.

Authored by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with Frontiers Media and over 90 experts in 20 countries, the new report identifies technologies poised to have the biggest positive impact on society over the next three to five years.

Though space limits this post to a glimpse of the technologies, the report has broadened its scope, adding a qualitative assessment of how each technology will impact people, the planet, prosperity, industry and equity. Also new, the report provides interactive transformation maps that connect each technology to other topics on the global agenda, in addition to highlighting articles on the topic.

The Top 10 Emerging Technologies

World Economic Forum’s Top 10 Emerging Technologies of 2023 (from www.weforum.org/reports/top-10-emerging-technologies-of-2023/in-full).

Artificial Intelligence-Facilitated Healthcare
The COVID-19 pandemic exposed weaknesses of public health systems worldwide, hastening incorporation of artificial intelligence and machine learning. AI-based healthcare solutions are likely to become increasingly prevalent; however, data privacy concerns, public acceptance and patient compliance must be addressed with a carefully crafted ethical framework.

Designer Phages
Phages--viruses that can selectively attack specific types of bacteria--may be strategically deployed to engineer the human microbiome--microbes on and in the body that are crucial for human health. By reprogramming phages, biologists can target bacterial species, inducing them to produce therapeutic molecules or to become sensitive to specific drugs. Such “designer” phages have demonstrated the potential to improve human, animal and plant health.

Flexible Batteries
Flexible batteries now appear in everything from wearable medical devices to flexible displays, smartwatches and textile-based electronics. The market is expected to expand rapidly to meet increased demand for wearable devices, greater miniaturization and elasticity. Companies are developing and commercializing related technology, though there is room for innovation and advances.

Flexible Neural Electronics
Brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) capture electrical signals from the brain to control machines. While BMI-like systems are already used for treating epilepsy and some prosthetic devices, traditional probes can cause discomfort and lack signal accuracy. Recently developed flexible BMIs that conform to the brain could improve our understanding of brain diseases, provide greater control of prosthetics and boost development of brain-monitoring devices and brain stents. Future advances might lead to true human-artificial intelligence interfacing, though ethical issues must first be considered.

Generative Artificial Intelligence
Generative AI can produce new and original content by learning patterns in data through algorithms and methods inspired by the human brain. Used mostly for text, code, images and sound, it will likely be applied for other purposes, including drug design, architecture and engineering. It will also be deployed for educational materials and in the workplace, though ethical issues must be considered to ensure its responsible use. With controls in place, generative AI may have the potential to boost creativity and challenge conventional thinking.

Metaverse for Mental Health
Excessive screen time and social media use can decrease psychological well-being, yet the responsible use of virtual shared spaces in the metaverse may actually aid mental health. This immersive iteration of the internet (e.g., gaming platforms, electrode-containing headsets) has the potential to support multiple aspects of mental healthcare.

Spatial Omics
Spatial omics combines advanced imaging techniques with DNA sequencing to map biological processes at a molecular level. Visualization of previously unobservable cell architecture and biological events can be used to develop molecular-level “cell atlases” of different species and potentially aid therapeutic discovery, characterization of tumors and study of infectious diseases. Though technical challenges remain, spatial omics could ultimately revolutionize our understanding of biological systems.

Sustainable Aviation Fuel
Sustainable aviation fuel, produced from biological and non-biological resources, is one strategy the aviation industry is investigating to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Currently, aviation accounts for 2% to 3% of global carbon emissions, and sustainable aviation fuel accounts for less than 1% of global jet fuel demand. Airlines, manufacturers and fuel companies are working to create hundreds of new sustainable fuel production plants.

Sustainable Computing
Data centers contribute an estimated 1% of global electricity consumption and a worsening environmental crisis. Innovative computing solutions, aided by multiple energy-efficiency techniques, are being developed to promote sustainable energy use. Achieving net-zero-energy data centers will require even more creative approaches to integrate and co-design technologies for electricity generation, storage and management.

Wearable Plant Sensors

Sensor-equipped tractors and satellite data have helped farmers boost efficiency. The next frontier is attaching small devices to crops to continuously monitor temperature, humidity, moisture and nutrients. Though challenges remain, wearable plant sensors may revolutionize crop production and management.

Thanks for stopping by.

World Economic Forum Top 10 Emergency Technologies of 2023 report: www.weforum.org/reports/top-10-emerging-technologies-of-2023/in-full
Article on report on EurekAlert! website: www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/993827

1 comment:

  1. Amazing list of future expectations which all appear to be well on their way to fruition Thanks for the insight!