The second decade of the 21st Century has been characterized by accelerated emerging technologies in what is now popularly known as the fourth industrial revolution.
From artificial intelligence to virtual reality and robotics, recent technologies are disruptive across different sectors of the economy.
In its recent report, the World Economic Forum (WEF), captured the top 10 emerging technologies in the global tech ecosystem.
1. Flexible Batteries
In the wake of wearable devices, tech firms have developed batteries that can bend or stretch to meet demand for new technologies such as the electronic devices attached to clothes.
The WEF states that the conventional rigid batteries could soon be a thing of the past as players in the tech ecosystem address changing demand.
Some of the gadgets using such batteries include wearable medical devices and biomedical sensors, flexible displays and smartwatches.
In addition, the WEF notes that there is still “room for innovation in this space, and new players are likely to enter the market as the technology evolves”.
2. Generative Artificial intelligence
The concept of artificial intelligence (AI) is no longer alien in the contemporary business world.
Generative AI, WEF states, is a type of AI that can create new and original content by learning patterns in data, using complex algorithms and methods of learning inspired by the human brain.
Unlike the normal AI, companies can use Generative AI for a range of purposes in normal human life such as drug design, architecture and engineering.
3. Sustainable Aviation Fuel
Amid growing uptake of electric vehicles, tech companies are focusing on ways to achieve zero carbon emissions in the aviation industry.
However, the high cost of replacing aircraft is a major obstacle in this endeavor.
To solve this, players in the tech industry have come up with the sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), from biological and non biological resources.
Moreover, experts have hailed SAF as an ideal way to help boost decarbonization efforts in the airline sector without necessarily changing the existing fleet.
WEF reports that although SAF is among the emerging technologies in the world, it is still a new product with most airlines yet to adopt it.
4. Designer Phages
What’s more, technological advancements allow the engineering of viruses to affect specific bacteria within the human body.
These viruses, (phages), inject genetic information into the bacterium to manipulate it according to the instructions.
One common way of affecting a bacteria through phages is by causing it to produce a therapeutic molecule or to become sensitive to a certain drug.
This way, phages are an integral part of modern healthcare and agriculture and among the emerging technologies to watch in 2023.
5. Metaverse for Mental Health
With the contemporary threats to public health across the globe, tech companies have developed unique inventions to address mental health.
The metaverse is one such solution that seeks to leverage the virtual space to remedy mental health concerns.
Gaming companies, for example, are incorporating mental health games in their mass targeting games as they look to capitalize the power of digital spaces and virtual reality in the fight.
6. Wearable plant sensors
The disruptive tech innovations have also affected the agricultural sector, albeit in a positive way.
One of the innovations touching on agriculture is the wearable plant sensors which enable farmers to record high resolution data about an individual plant.
Plant sensors are non-invasive devices that monitor temperature, humidity, moisture and nutrient levels.
The data helps the farmer in decision-making thus optimizing output and productivity.
According to WEF, tech companies are producing needle plant sensors that allow farmers to track plant progress in real-time.
At the same time, many people see them as as a game-changer in the agriculture sector owing to their ability to make monitoring of crops easy and manageable.
7. Spatial omics
Spatial omics refer to an imaging technology that allows assessment of the ‘what’, ‘where’
and ‘when’ of biological processes at the molecular level.
According to the WEF, Spatial omics make it possible for the previously unobservable cell architecture and biological events to be viewed in unprecedented detail.
The market value for spatial omics, the report states, was at $232.6 million in 2021 and is projected to hit $587.2 million by 2030.
8. Flexible neural electronics
Courtesy of new technologies, it is now possible to control a device using the electrical signals produced in the brain.
The flexible neural electronics are brain-interfacing circuits made of biocompatible materials which when implanted to the brain help to record data about the nervous system.
9. Sustainable computing
Net-zero data centers entail designing of liquid cooling systems that help to manage heat from computers.
The cooling systems use water to dissipate heat while converting the excess heat to serve purposes such as space heating and industrial processes.
In addition, players within the tech industry in the world incorporate the use of AI to analyze and optimize the use of energy in data centers.
AI-powered energy management allows companies to cut off the amount of energy used in their centers hence creating a niche for the development of energy management systems.
10. AI-Facilitated Healthcare
AI-based technologies have also proven effective in healthcare systems.
Through AI, companies and governments have created technologies capable of predicting and managing pandemics.
A case in point was the Covid-19 pandemic which saw governments and private companies endeavor to create AI systems to track and manage the epidemic.
The use of AI to anticipate and manage such major health hazards is poised to significant importance in the developing world which has limited systems in place to detect or manage diseases.
Thus, the survey by the WEF, established that the use of AI in healthcare is one of the emerging technologies poised to show tremendous growth in the next couple of years.