World Economic Forum names top ten technologies

Earlier in July, the World Economic Forum named 2019 the year of the Robot Carer.

Naming the top ten technologies that have the greatest potential for a positive impact on our world, the World Economic Forum’s Expert Network highlighted technologies that manufacturers are creating and driving forward.

In addition to robot carers, or social robots as they are otherwise known, the Forum highlighted bioplastics created for circular economy outcomes, tiny lenses for miniature devices, smart fertilisers, advanced food tracking and packaging, and large scale storage of renewable energy.

The technologies had to meet a number of criteria, including not only their benefit but their disruptive nature, attractiveness to investors and researchers, and the scale at which they are expected to achieve within five years.

“From income inequality to climate change, technology will play a critical role in finding solutions to many of the challenges our world faces today. This year’s emerging technologies demonstrate the rapid pace of human innovation and offer a glimpse into what a sustainable, inclusive future will look like,” said Jeremy Jurgens, chief technology officer at the World Economic Forum.

Highlighting how the umbrella of industry 4.0 encompasses many of these terms, Mariette DiChristina, chair of the Emerging Technologies Steering Committee, noted that technology will shape the future of humanity.

“Technologies that are emerging today will soon be shaping the world tomorrow and well into the future – with impacts to economies and to society at large. Now that we are well into the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it’s critical that we discuss and ensure that humanity is served by these new innovations so that we can continue to prosper,” said DiChristina.

The technologies selected are expected to have impacts such as allowing for the miniaturisation of sensors and imaging devices, reducing food waste through smarter packaging, the increased potential of data storage with DNA methods, and the ability of using solar power at night with lithium-ion batteries.