Tianjin, People’s Republic of China, 23 June 2016 – A diverse range of breakthrough technologies, including batteries capable of providing power to whole villages, “socially aware” artificial intelligence and new generation solar panels, could soon be playing a role in tackling the world’s most pressing challenges, according to a list published today by the World Economic Forum.
The Top 10 Emerging Technologies 2016 list, compiled by the Forum’s Meta-Council on Emerging Technologies and published in collaboration with Scientific American, highlights technological advances its members believe have the power to improve lives, transform industries and safeguard the planet. It also provides an opportunity to debate any human, societal, economic or environmental risks and concerns that the technologies may pose prior to widespread adoption.
The top 10 technologies to make this year’s list are:
1.Nanosensors and the Internet of Nanothings
With the Internet of Things expected to comprise 30 billion connected devices by 2020, one of the most exciting areas of focus today is now on nanosensors capable of circulating in the human body or being embedded in construction materials. Once connected, this Internet of Nanothings could have a huge impact on the future of medicine, architecture, agriculture and drug manufacture.
2. Next Generation Batteries
One of the greatest obstacles holding renewable energy back is matching supply with demand, but recent advances in energy storage using sodium, aluminium and zinc based batteries makes mini-grids feasible that can provide clean, reliable, round the clock energy sources to entire villages.
3. The Blockchain
Much already has been made of the distributed electronic ledger behind the online currency Bitcoin. With related venture investment exceeding $1 billion in 2015 alone, the economic and social impact of blockchain’s potential to fundamentally change the way markets and governments work is only now emerging.
Photo: A robot on display at the World Economic Forum - Annual Meeting of the New Champions in Tianjin, People's Republic of China 2016 (Copyright by World Economic Forum / Greg Beadle / Licence CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
Source: World Economic Forum