2016 was a good year for technological advancement. We’ve seen batteries that can light whole villages; we’ve seen “socially aware” artificial intelligence and new generation solar panels. These technological breakthroughs have been made to solve world’s most pressing challenges, according to a list published by the World Economic Forum.
The Top Emerging Technologies 2016 list, compiled by the Forum’s Meta Council on Emerging Technologies and published in collaboration with Scientific American, showcases the technologies that have a social impact: in that it improves living, transforms industries and safeguards the planet.
These are the ten top technologies that have made the list of “Top Emerging Technologies 2016”:
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1. Nano-sensors and the Internet of Nano-things
Internet of Things is going to break the world soon. By 2020, it is expected that 30 billion devices will be connected with Internet of Things. With that, the focus today has shifted to Nano-sensors that can circulate the human body or that can be embedded in construction materials. When they are connected, this has a positive (and in large-scale) implication for medicine, drugs, architecture and agriculture.
2. Next Generation Batteries
The challenge of applying renewable energy as a source of energy is the gap between supply and demand, where the supply is obviously less. However, recent advances in energy storage that use sodium, zinc, and aluminum based batteries makes mini-grids feasible, and that can provide non-stop, dependable and clean energy sources to light up entire villages.
3. The Blockchain
A lot has been said of the distributed electronic ledge behind the online currency Bitcoin. In 2015 alone, the related venture investment had exceeded $1 billion. The potential of blockchain has now seen impacting our society and the economy more in that it is changing the way the market and government works.
4. 2D materials
2D materials like Graphene (perhaps the best-known single-atom layer material) have been used to plummet the production costs in the plethora of fields, from air and water filters to new generation of wearables and batteries.
5. Autonomous Vehicles
Self-driving cars have always been in debate and is illegal in most of the countries too. But it is not to say that the technology has the potential to save lives, cut pollution, boost economies and improve the quality of life, mostly for elders.
Organs-on-chips is a revolutionary technology in the field of biotech. Small models of human organs, as small as a memory stick, allows researchers to see the biological behaviors in ways that have not been done ever before.
7. Perovskite Solar Cells
The Perovskite Solar Cells have the great advantage over silicon solar cells. Photovoltaic materials are easier to produce, can be used anywhere, and has an efficient power generating capacity.
8. Open AI Ecosystem
With advances in natural language processing and social awareness algorithms, blended with vast access to and availability of data, the smart assistants can now complete tasks that were difficult to perform before.
Optogenetics is a great breakthrough in the medical world. It was possible to use light to record brain activities, but the breakthrough can now be used to inject light that can delve deeper into brain tissues and it can be used for better treatment.
10. Systems Metabolic Engineering
A series of building block chemicals can now be manufactured in a better way and cheaper by using systems metabolic engineering through plants, rather than using fossil fuels.