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.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the sting Milestone

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

Austria: reforms will be necessary to uphold high well-being levels

This Chinese megacity is building a giant waste-to-energy plant

Mali’s ‘self-defence’ groups must face justice, after deadly intercommunal attacks

Pledging ongoing UN support during visit to cyclone-hit areas, Guterres praises resilience of Mozambicans

4 things ISPs can do to reduce the impact of cybercrime

‘I thought I’d never get out alive’ – the Muslim director who interviewed neo-Nazis

Future EU-UK Partnership: European Commission receives mandate to begin negotiations with the UK

Climate crisis could see ‘collapse’ of some economies without diversification, warns UN trade chief

European Commission and European Investment Fund launch €75 million BlueInvest Fund

Number of migrants now growing faster than world population, new UN figures show

How China Mended My Heart

COP24: A million lives could be saved by 2050 through climate action, UN health agency reveals

New UN rights chief pledges to push back on ‘centuries of prejudice and discrimination’

168 hours left for MEPs – ECOFIN Council to deliver a Banking Union

EU budget: Commission proposes major funding increase for stronger borders and migration

MEPs propose ways to boost plastics recycling

Latin America and Caribbean region deadliest for journalists in 2019

Knowledge management and entrepreneurship: short term vs. long term perspective

More than four in 10 women, live in fear of refusing partner’s sexual demands, new UN global study finds

How well you age depends on what you think of old age

‘We need to stand up now’ for the elderly: urges UN rights expert on World Day

The 2019 European elections: A pro-European – and young – electorate with clear expectations

8 top stories from the week in Davos 2020

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

The deforestation risks lurking in the banking sector

Finland, Switzerland and New Zealand lead the way at teaching skills for the future

Permanent structured cooperation (PESCO) on the table of NATO Defense Ministers amid US concerns

UN experts cite ‘possible exploitation’ of workers hired to clean up toxic Japanese nuclear plant

Future EU-UK Partnership: European Commission takes first step to launch negotiations with the United Kingdom

Strength in unity: Commission makes recommendations for the EU’s next strategic agenda 2019-2024

IMF cuts global growth outlook, but predicts pick up later in 2019

5 ways to be a better humanitarian

Draghi joined Macron in telling Germany how Eurozone must be reformed

More state aid to big firms, no special provisions for the SMEs

June infringements package: key decisions

Bullheaded Madrid authorities confront Catalonia with force

Easing funding woes for UN agency assisting Palestine refugees a ‘wise investment for today and the future’

Commission presents its response to Antisemitism and a survey showing Antisemitism is on the rise in the EU

Fresh airstrikes kill dozens in conflict-ravaged Syria

Mosquitoes kill more people every day than sharks do in a century

Women vital for ‘new paradigm’ in Africa’s Sahel region, Security Council hears

Healthcare for refugees: a necessary symbiosis of medicine and politics

‘Break the cycle’ of disaster-response-recovery, urges top UN official, as death toll mounts from Cyclone Idai

Here’s how blockchain could fight illegal fishing and help tuna stocks recover

South Sudan’s peace process ‘precarious, but progress in being made’, Security Council hears

How regenerative agroforestry could solve the climate crisis

Annual UN women activists’ summit opens with focus on services, infrastructure

Israeli settlements remain ‘flagrant violation’ of international law, UN envoy tells Security Council

Finland should do more to improve job prospects of low-skilled youth

ICC Appeals Chamber acquits former Congolese Vice President Bemba from war crimes charges

The impact of refugees on the European healthcare system

‘We cannot lose momentum’ on the road to peace in Yemen, UN envoy warns

These are the countries that eat the most meat

How India’s new consumers can contribute to a $6 trillion opportunity

EU allocates €50 million to fight Ebola and malnutrition in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Humanitarian aid: EU mobilises over €18 million for the Central African Republic in 2019

Presentation of Juncker’s Investment Plan: Can 315 billion euros save the EU?

Why your next work meeting should be a ‘walk-and-talk’

MARKUP initiative to boost market access to Europe for East African SMEs

How a new approach to meat can help end hunger

More Stings?

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