Here is our selection of top 10 emerging technologies that will affect your life within the next five years, without a shadow of a doubt.
The world is changing fast. Faster than any time in the human history. For example, it took fifty years for one in four Americans to adopt electricity. Then, it got faster. It took thirty years for the same number to utilise the radio. Then, even faster. Eighteen years to “accept” the colour TV. Thirteen years for mobile phones and only seven for laptops. That’s how fast the world is changing.
We see changes in education, agriculture, energy, banking, health and even in fashion. There is hardly anything that is not changing. But all these changes would not be possible without one “ingredient”. The technology.
Here is our selection of top 10 emerging technologies. Ten technologies that will affect your life – within the next five years – without a shadow of a doubt.
1. Top 10 Emerging Technologies – Big Data
“Big Data” is a term used to describe datasets whose size is beyond the ability of traditional databases. However, the term’s meaning has changed over the last few years. Nowadays, “Big Data” not only refers to the data you create but also the “tools” that capture, store, and analyse this data.
Cisco expects “Big Data” to become a $50 billion industry by 2017 and investments in “Big Data” to reach between $75 to $85 Billion by 2020.
It sounds a lot. But there is a reason behind. The Internet of Things, wearable tech and all related industries are dependent on the “Big Data” in a way or another. All these new “industries” produce data that has to be stored and analysed.
The amount of data generated every day grows at a tremendous rate. On the other half, the cost of data storage has declined, year by year.
To give you a better idea how important “Big Data” is, I have some statistics for you: We generate 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day. That is 2.5 followed by 18 zeros. All that data, properly used can change save lives, eradicate diseases, stop world hunger. That is how important the “Big Data” is.
2. Top 10 Emerging Technologies – Internet of Things
You can imagine IoT as an invisible network, made from the physical objects or “things” around you. Objects you see at work, at home, in the car, etc. These objects will be “embedded” with smart, connected sensors one day. Sensors connected to the internet, capable of collecting and exchanging the data. With you, with other smart objects, with your doctor or your insurance for example.
I already have smart sensors in my home and, in my car. Lights go off when I leave my home and turn back on when I return. I can turn the heating on from my mobile even if I am abroad. My car unlocks the doors on my proximity and when I touch the driving wheel the engine starts. Oh, yes, the fridge. I have a relation with my fridge.
It is true, my fridge messages me more often than my partner but no, it is not that kind of relationship. My fridge lets me know if any of the food expired or if I need to replenish the stock.
We are now in 2015 and there are not many devices connected to the internet. From a Cisco press release, de’ Medici gathered that only 1% of IoT devices are “networked”.
— Laurenti Arnault (@lefashiontech) November 5, 2015
Still, by 2022 Intel believes that there will be a network of 50 billion connected objects. Yes, that’s right. 50 billion IoT devices.
3. Top 10 Emerging Technologies – Robotics and AI
Artificial intelligence (AI) is the most exciting and the most controversial field in robotics. Still, roboticists are nowhere near achieving a human level of artificial intelligence. Saying that, in recent years we have made a lot of progress with the “limited” AI.
The ideal AI would be a replica of the human thought process. Like a man-made machine but with human intellectual abilities. This man-made machine will have the cognitive level to learn anything, just like us. Will have the capacity to reason, the ability to use a language and the power to formulate original ideas. Maybe even fall in love, who knows?
Soon, robots will play a larger role in our daily lives. In the coming decades, robots will “leave” the industrial environment and scientific labs and come into our daily lives. A slow “migration” that will start with utilitarian robots like autonomous vacuum cleaners, kitchen helpers, etc. A gradual process. If you like, just as the computers took over our homes in the 80’s.
4. Top 10 Emerging Technologies – Augmented Reality
The more we decipher the neurochemistry of lived experiences, the more we understand that in fact, we don’t “sample” any objective reality. Sounds confusing? Well, think this way: Your perception creates your reality and the world around you influences your perception. Certain smells, sounds or images can make you see the same “reality” in different ways.
Augmented reality (AR) allows an “enhanced” view of the “real-world.” Reality enhanced by augmented elements, generated by a computer and its sensors such as sound, video, graphics, etc. A “reality” that is digitally manipulable and interactive.
AR is seen as one of the emerging technologies to reshape the way we interact with the physical world and the gaming industry. Companies like Google, Facebook and even META are looking to capitalise on the AR market. We expect the AR consumer products to hit the markets starting with the first quarter of 2016.
5. Top 10 Emerging Technologies – Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMs)
Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems, consist of micro-computers with tiny mechanical devices such as valves, pumps, gears, and actuators. Like a mini robot if you like.
One thing you didn’t know is that MEMs technology is already in your car. It is the “accelerometer” system inside the airbag. Thanks to recent developments in chipsets we expect a big wave of MEMs in healthcare in 2016.
6. Top 10 Emerging Technologies – Biotechnology
In simple terms, biotechnology is tech based on biology. Thanks to biotechnology we now understand biomolecular and cellular processes that help us develop products that improve our planet and our lives. Biotechnology is still at the beginning despite reaching new heights in the recent years. It is true, we now have plants that are drought-resistant, crops with better vitamin content and salinity tolerance.
We can now combat rare diseases, decrease the environmental footprint. We’ll have the power to get rid of the world hunger. And this is just the beginning, imagine the power of harnessing the microbes for example.
7. Top 10 Emerging Technologies – Nanomaterials
Nanomaterials are materials made from particles of nanoscale dimensions, produced by nanotechnology. The components measure below 100 nm. What makes nanomaterials unique are their two key characteristics. Their structure and their quantum effects.
By their structure, nanomaterials have a greater relative surface area than other materials. This attribute can improve certain properties in target objects, such as the strength or the reactivity of that material. Also, the quantum properties of nanomaterials can affect the electrical, magnetic or optical performance of the “target” objects.
Current applications include healthcare (in targeted drug delivery, regenerative medicine, and diagnostics), electronics, cosmetics, textiles, information technology and environmental protection.
8. Top 10 Emerging Technologies – Terahertz Imaging
Terahertz Imaging is a new technology that can detect explosives previously considered invisible. It also “helps” in path-planning for self-driving cars. Terahertz Imaging “extends sensory capabilities by moving beyond the realm of the human body.”
The market for Terahertz devices is predicted to grow by 35% per year annually and to reach more than $1.4 billion by 2020.
9. Top 10 Emerging Technologies – 3D Printing
3D Printing is the process of “making” a three-dimensional object from a digital file on your computer using a special printer. The materials can be anything, from plastic to metal and more recently human cells. The 3D printed objects that we use in healthcare, fashion, auto industry, etc.
The process is simple. The printer is laying down successive layers of material until the entire object is ready. You can see the layers as thin, horizontal, cross-section slices that “put” on the top of each other.
3D printing is already a $3.1 billion industry. An industry that is growing by 35% each year. An industry that will “touch” all future aspects of life. In 2015, we already see 3D printed fashion accessories and 3D printed organs. By 2020, we will have 3D printed houses and internal organs.
10. Top 10 Emerging Technologies – Advanced Energy Storage And Generation
I have left this tech the last for one simple reason. It is not only technology that needs power. The need for advanced energy storage technologies is growing as a direct consequence of new tech developments and population growth.
At the same time, we see significant improvements in battery technology in the last five years. Green products are more incentivised, cold fusion power could become viable by the end of 2020 and solar energy has also developed considerably.
In the 19th century, it took Britain 150 years to double its GDP per capita. In the 20th century, it took the U.S. 50 years. In the 21st century, it will take China and India just 15 years. Yes, the world is changing fast and technology development is the main reason.