These are the top 10 emerging technologies of 2019

technology 19

(Markus Spiske, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Johnny Wood, Senior Writer, Formative Content


Which of today’s technologies will shape tomorrow’s world? A new reportcompiled by the World Economic Forum reveals some of the breakthrough innovations that are expected to radically impact the global social and economic order.

“From income inequality to climate change, technology will play a critical role in finding solutions to all the challenges our world faces today,” says Jeremy Jurgens, Chief Technology Officer at the World Economic Forum. “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.”

Making the list involves more than promising major benefits to the world. The emerging technologies must positively disrupt the existing order, be attractive to investors and researchers, and expect to achieve considerable scale within the coming 5 years.

These are the top 10 emerging technologies for 2019:

Image: World Economic Forum

1. Bioplastics for a circular economy

Less than 15% of the world’s plastic is recycled, with the rest incinerated, abandoned or sent to landfill. Biodegradable plastic offers a solution, but lacks the strength of conventional materials. A breakthrough idea promotes the circular economy by using cellulose or lignin from plant waste, which increases material strength without using crops that could otherwise be used for food.

2. Social robots

Today’s robots can recognise voices, faces and emotions, interpret speech patterns and gestures, and even make eye contact. Droid friends and assistants are becoming part of everyday life, and are being used increasingly to care of the elderly, educate children and undertake all sorts of tasks in between.

3. Metalenses

Making the lenses used by mobile phones, computers and other electronic devices smaller has been beyond the capabilities of traditional glass cutting and glass curving techniques. But advances in physics have led to miniaturised, lighter alternatives to established lenses, called metalenses. These tiny, thin, flat lenses could replace existing bulky glass lenses and allow further miniaturization in sensors and medical imaging devices.

4. Disordered proteins as drug targets

“Intrinsically disordered proteins” are proteins that can cause cancer and other diseases. Unlike conventional proteins, they lack a rigid structure so change shape, making them difficult to treat. Now scientists have found a way to prevent their shape-shifting long enough for treatment to take effect, offering new possibilities for patients.

 

5. Smarter fertilizers

Recent improvements in fertilizers have focused on their ability to slowly release nutrients when needed. However, they still contain ammonia, urea and potash which damage the environment. New fertilizers use more ecologically friendly sources of nitrogen, and microorganisms that improve take-up by plants.

6. Collaborative telepresence

Imagine a video conference where you not only feel like you’re in the same room as the other attendees, you can actually feel one another’s touch. A mix of Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (AR), 5G networks and advanced sensors, mean business people in different locations can physically exchange handshakes, and medical practitioners are able to work remotely with patients as though they are in the same room.

7. Advanced food tracking and packaging

About 600 million people eat contaminated food each year and it’s essential to locate the source of an outbreak immediately. What used to take days or even weeks to trace can now be tracked in minutes, using blockchain technology to monitor every step of a food item’s progress through the supply chain. Meanwhile, sensors in packaging can indicate when food is about to spoil, reducing the need to waste whole batches once an expiry date is reached.

8. Safer nuclear reactors

Although nuclear power emits no carbon dioxide, reactors come with a safety risk that fuel rods can overheat and, when mixed with water, produce hydrogen, which can then explode. But new fuels are emerging that are much less likely to overheat, and if they do, will produce little or no hydrogen. These new configurations can replace existing fuel rods with little modification.

9. DNA data storage

Our data storage systems use a lot of energy and can’t keep up with the vast – and ever-increasing – quantities of data we produce. In less than a century they are set to reach capacity. But breakthrough research is using DNA-based data storage, as a low-energy alternative to computer hard drives, with huge capacity: One estimate suggests all the world’s data for a year could be stored on a cube of DNA measuring just a square metre.

10. Utility-scale storage of renewable energy

But storing energy generated by renewables for when there is no sun or wind has been a barrier to increased take-up. Lithium-ion batteries are set to dominate storage technology over the coming decade, and continuing advances should result in batteries that can store up to eight hours of energy – long enough to allow solar-generated power to meet peak evening demand.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

How technology can help us achieve universal healthcare

Manufacturing reimagined: from improved productivity to profitable growth

Venezuela: MEPs demand free presidential elections and an end to repression

Carbon neutrality and funds for EU programmes are EP priorities for EU summit

International community has achieved unprecedented success fighting offshore tax evasion

ECOFIN: Choosing between the re-unification of Eurozone and a stalemate

Why the way of loving closes doors of health?

“One Belt One Road”: Its relevance to the European Companies

Brussels enraged with Swiss referendum result to keep out EU citizens

Vote at 16 in Malta: next stop Europe

GSMA Mobile 360 Series –Digital Societies, in association with The European Sting

The entire Australian state of New South Wales is in drought

Climate change and health – can medical students be the solution?

Industrial products: Lifting the last impediments in the EU single market

It’s time to end our ‘separate but unequal’ approach to mental health

State aid: Commission refers Greece to Court for failure to recover incompatible State aid from mining company Larco

Cultural diversity can drive economies. Here are lessons from India and South Asia

EU Budget 2020 deal: Investing more in climate action, youth and research

‘All atrocity crimes are preventable’ and can never be justified – UN chief

Trying to cure bank cancer with analgesics

Sassoli: Migration agreement respects fundamental principles of Parliament’s proposal

The invisible L word: the struggles to achieve SRHR, as HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment for lesbian population

Ceasefire holds in Tripoli, but core problems remain, says UN Libya mission chief

UN underscores the need to celebrate indigenous peoples, not confine them

This is how wellbeing drives social change and why cultural leaders need to talk about it

Impact of high debt levels on least developed countries ‘cannot be overstated’, says UN

YouTube stars get creative at UN, to promote tolerance

Gender minority and health sector: promoting mental health with better medical education

EU Parliament raises burning issues over the FTA with the US

Everybody against Japan over yen’s devaluation

LGBTQI+ and medicine, in the Land of the Pure

JADE Spring Conference 2018 is on its way: Young entrepreneurs gather in Brussels to shape Europe

EU: Huge surplus in the trade of services with the rest of the world

The success story of a Chinese investment in the Greek port of Piraeus

Christmas spending: Who can afford not to cut?

The staggering loss of the Arctic Ocean’s oldest sea ice shown in time-lapse

Blockchain is not a magic bullet for security. Can it be trusted?

Capital Markets Union: Commission reports on progress achieved ahead of European Council

Who really cares about the 26.2 million of EU jobless?

Four major resources for new European young entrepreneurs

Why gin made from peas helps the environment

FROM THE FIELD: Argentina Preserving Pristine Forests

Sustainability, peace, security ‘best guarantee against instability’ Guterres to Security Council

Empowering people living with HIV ‘will end the epidemic’, says AIDS agency chief

Malaysia’s last Sumatran rhino died – here are more species on the verge of extinction

Foreign direct investments the success secrete of Eurozone

Migrant workers sent more money to India than any other country last year

What does artificial intelligence do in medicine?

Cameron postpones speech in Holland

Aid funding for Occupied Palestinian Territories at ‘all-time low’

Bias in AI is a real problem. Here’s what we should do about it

EU is officially in recession

UN honours peacekeepers who ‘paid the ultimate price’, for the sake of others

Climate action ‘both a priority and a driver of the decade’: Guterres

EU’s VAT system further equipped to tackle fraud in e-commerce and to help small businesses grow

Minority governments ‘à la mode’ in Europe but can they last long?

5G will change the world – but who will keep it safe?

How ‘savings circles’ empower women in rural Africa

Opening – February plenary session, 27 new seats

Can cybersecurity offer value for money?

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s