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The world’s top emerging technologies

October 3, 2023

A new report released by the World Economic Forum in partnership with Frontiers Media S.A outlines the technologies poised to positively impact society in the next three to five years, bringing together the perspectives of over 90 experts in 20 countries from all world regions. The Top 10 Emerging Technologies of 2023 report updates more than a decade of work that has identified little-known technologies that have gone on to have a global impact.

“New technologies have the power to disrupt industries, grow economies, improve lives and safeguard the planet – if designed, scaled and deployed responsibly. We hope that this year’s report serves as a powerful tool for business leaders and policy-makers to unlock the transformative potential of emerging technologies and shape their inclusive adoption,” said Jeremy Jurgens, WEF’s Managing Director.

The selected ones are:

  1. Flexible batteries

“Several types of flexible batteries are currently available. These batteries are rechargeable and include lithium-ion or zinc-carbon systems placed on conductive polymer current collectors. In some cases, additives enhance conductivity and flexibility.”

  1. Generative artificial intelligence

“In the workplace, the use of AI-based language models like the recently popular ChatGPT or its successors can increase productivity and improve output quality, restructuring human tasks towards idea generation and editing as opposed to rough drafting. Generative AI technologies specifically benefit low-ability workers and can increase job satisfaction and self-efficacy.”

  1. Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF)

“Today, SAF makes up less than 1% of global jet fuel demand, but this must increase to 13-15% by 2040 to put the aviation industry on the path to net zero by 2050. Such an increase will require the creation of 300-400 new SAF plants; and airlines, manufacturers and fuel companies are working around the clock to enable this level of scale.”

  1. Designer phages

“Promising early results of designer phage therapies are attracting significant venture capital that will help to facilitate clinical testing of engineered phages. Potential applications of designer phages are numerous and diverse.”

  1. Metaverse for mental health

“Leveraging the metaverse for the continuum of mental healthcare needs could be a win-win. Not only would patients benefit, but grounding the metaverse in a practical, necessary application could drive the emergence of this advancing virtual space.”

  1. Wearable plant sensors

“Wearable plant sensors promise to improve plant health and increase agricultural productivity. These sensors are small, non-invasive devices that can be attached to crop plants for continuous monitoring of temperature, humidity, moisture and nutrient levels.”

  1. Spatial omics

“Molecular-level mapping of biological processes to unlock life’s mysteries, spatial omics allows previously unobservable cell architecture and biological events to be viewed in unprecedented detail.”

  1. Flexible neural electronics

“Researchers have recently developed brain interfacing circuits on biocompatible materials that are soft and flexible. Flexible circuits can conform to the brain, reducing scarring and sensor drift, and they can be packed with enough sensors to stimulate millions of brain cells at once, vastly outperforming the scale and timeframe of hard probes.”

  1. Sustainable computing

“While there is no single “green data” magic bullet, it is expected that the coming decade will boast substantial strides toward net-zero-energy data centres as emerging technologies are combined and integrated in innovative ways – rapidly making the dream of net-zero-energy data centres an achievable reality.”

  1. AI-facilitated healthcare

“Emergent efforts to enhance the efficacy of national and global healthcare systems in the face of major health crises, and to democratize access to care, are in their initial stages but will rapidly scale up by integrating quality data into the AI and ML models.”

Source: World Economic Forum