5 transformative technologies of 2016

date: 16 August 2016
reading time: 3 min

The World Economic Forum’s Meta-Council on Emerging Technologies have compiled a list on the top technologies in 2016 with the power to improve our lives.
Out of the 10 trends on the list, we’ve chosen 5 most interesting ones – in our view – and we’re sharing them with you now.

Internet of Nanothings (IoNT)

Most of us have heard of the Internet of Things (IoT) – a network of devices equipped with sensors and software that enables those devices to collect and send information, making our lives easier and smarter.

We are now getting closer to the Internet of Nanothings (IoNT) with the emergence of nanosensors able to collect, store and report information at the tiniest scale. Nanosensors, already in place, have been created using both biological and non-biological materials and they are so small they can circulate a human body or be mixed into construction materials. While there are many obstacles, including technical, privacy and safety-related ones, the IoNT could help in many sectors such as medicine and drug manufacturing, agriculture and architecture, among others.

Organs on microchips

However sci-fi this may sound, technology has now enabled researchers to grow miniature human organs on chips. Each one includes microfluidic tubes lined with human cells and runs in complex patterns with the microchip. Researchers claim to have succeeded creating such organs as a lung, liver, kidney and heart, among others. This development opens up a whole world of possibilities for medicine, pharmaceutical companies, and other sectors as organs on chips have the ability to simulate the response of a real organ of a potential patient.

Next generation batteries

Lack of electricity is one of the major factors connected to poverty, especially in remote areas of the world. This is why the emergence of a new type of batteries plays a potentially transformative role. New batteries, based on sodium, aluminium or zinc have the capacity to serve whole villages and towns. Apart from serving impoverished areas, they also present the opportunity to cut carbon emissions.

Self-driving vehicles

We have all heard of vehicles capable of driving themselves thanks to technologies that process huge amounts of data from a variety of radars, sensors and cameras. Some of the systems used in autonomous vehicles are already being introduced to regular cars – this includes safety measures that kick in during an accident and self-parking. But the roll-out of completely independent cars is now a question on when, rather than if.

Open AI Ecosystem

The emergence of an open Artificial Intelligence (AI) ecosystem is now making it increasingly possible for many of us to afford a personal assistant. The ecosystem connects messages, contacts, calendars and files on our mobile devices and computers to other smart devices in our homes. The systems are predicted to soon have the ability to interpret contextual information meaning that they will be able to figure out, for example, whether you are interruptible, just like a human assistant would.

Technologies mentioned above, are just a tip of an iceberg in terms of potential of transforming our lives. Researchers are working tirelessly day and night on new developments and many of them we will surely soon hear of.

To find out about the other 5 technologies deemed important this year by the World Economic Forum, we invite you to read the following paper:  www3.weforum.org/docs/GAC16_Top10_Emerging_Technologies_2016_report.pdf

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