In 2023, we’ve truly immersed ourselves in terms like AI, IoT, VR, AR. But what do they really mean? What are Emerging Technologies?


According to the UEN Digital Press, Emerging Technologies denote novel and groundbreaking technologies in development or recently introduced to the market. These hold potential to significantly impact society and the economy.


To bid farewell to 2023 in style, let’s explore some of the most notable Emerging Technologies according to the World Economic Forum, an organization fostering collaboration among global leaders to shape agendas at global, regional, and industry levels.


Flexible batteries

Electronics are embracing flexibility with the rise of wearable devices and bendable displays, driving the need for thin, flexible batteries. Traditional rigid batteries may become obsolete, as various types of flexible batteries, such as lithium-ion and zinc-carbon systems, emerge. Applications span from medical devices and sensors to displays and smart watches. Key players like LG Chem, Samsung SDI, and Apple are actively involved in developing this technology.


Generative artificial intelligence

Generative artificial intelligence (AI) is a powerful technology creating original content through data-pattern learning, currently applied to text, programming, images, and sound. Its potential spans diverse fields like drug design, architecture, and engineering, impacting industries from food to everyday object design. To ensure public trust, ethical standards, transparency in decision-making, and privacy protection is crucial. Addressing biases in the training data is important, and ethical guidelines must be developed to balance technical progress with responsible use. With proper controls, generative AI can foster creativity, challenge conventional thinking, and optimize time usage.


Generative artificial intelligence (AI) is a powerful technology that showcases what we can expect from emerging technologies.


Sustainable aviation fuel

Aviation’s 2-3% CO2 emissions spur urgency. Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) emerges as a solution, requiring minimal changes. Despite the current challenges, SAF adoption is rising globally. Aiming for 13-15% share by 2040, industry efforts involve creating 300-400 new SAF plants. Global initiatives like the World Economic Forum and ASTM approval of nine SAFs drive progress. Challenges include the availability of raw materials and the production of green hydrogen.


Designer phages

Microbiomes, consisting of microbes living on and within organisms, influence health. Engineering microbiomes with designer phages, viruses targeting specific bacteria, offers vast potential for applications. Phages also serve as feed supplements for livestock, combat plant diseases, and enhance food safety. Clinical trials on phage therapies are on the rise, showcasing the growing significance of engineered phages in microbiome engineering for human, animal, and plant well-being.


Metaverse for mental health

The Surgeon General of the United States declares excess screen time a major public health concern but acknowledges responsible use benefits well-being. Virtual shared spaces, part of the evolving metaverse, offer potential solutions to the escalating mental health crisis. The shortage of mental health providers prompts the exploration of technology-based solutions, with gaming platforms and virtual therapies gaining prominence. Innovative interface technologies, like Emerge Wave 1, simulate touch and enhance social experiences. Neurotechnologies, such as Neurable headsets, provide feedback based on emotional states. Leveraging the metaverse for mental health care could be mutually beneficial, fostering its practical application and advancing this virtual space.


Metaverse for mental health is one of the examples of emerging technologies.


Wearable plant sensors

The UN projects a 70% increase in food production by 2050. Technological advancements, including AI, drones, and wearable plant sensors, revolutionize crop monitoring and management. Traditional methods, like soil testing, are being replaced by efficient, high-resolution technologies. Satellite data, sensor-equipped drones, and tractors offer detailed insights into crop conditions. Growvera and Phytech’s micro-sized needle sensors analyze data wirelessly, enabling precise interventions for optimal crop health. Despite hurdles, wearable plant sensors hold the potential to enhance agricultural productivity, reduce waste, and address global food security challenges.


Spatial omics

Spatial omics combines imaging and DNA sequencing, mapping biological processes at a molecular level. It dissects tissues, revealing unprecedented details of cell architecture and events. Researchers used spatial omics to create a 3D cell atlas of fruit fly larvae and unveil organ development in mouse embryos. The technique aids therapeutic discovery, identifying neurons crucial for spinal cord injury recovery. It’s pivotal in characterizing tumor cells, understanding complex diseases like Alzheimer’s, and studying infectious diseases, such as COVID-19 disruptions. Since being named Nature Methods’ method of the year in 2021, spatial omics has evolved into a standardized, revolutionary tool in understanding life.


Flexible neural electronics

Brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) decode electrical signals from the brain, enabling control of machines. Current implants face challenges like scarring and discomfort. Researchers are developing flexible, biocompatible BMIs to overcome these limitations. Flexible circuits conform to the brain, offering better signal accuracy and reducing scarring. In neuroscience research, flexible BMIs enhance understanding of conditions like dementia. Future applications may extend to devices like cardiac pacemakers.


Sustainable computing

Data centers, crucial for our data-driven society, consume 1% of global electricity. Innovations, including liquid cooling and AI-driven energy optimization, are revolutionizing their environmental impact. Efforts to repurpose excess heat for heating and industrial use are under way. AI, exemplified by DeepMind, achieves up to a 40% reduction in energy consumption. Modular infrastructure, like cloud and edge computing, spreads data processing and storage, optimizing energy use. Innovative hardware and software, such as systems on a chip, contribute to energy-efficient data centers. Prefabricated units, like those by Crusoe Energy, enable flexible deployment, expansion, and relocation. The ongoing wave of innovation and investment, for sure, fuels optimism for a sustainable future!


One of the emerging technologies is cloud and edge computing.


AI-facilitated healthcare

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed healthcare system shortcomings globally. AI and ML (machine learning) integration aims to enhance healthcare systems for pandemic preparedness. These efforts, initially nascent, will rapidly scale by incorporating quality data into AI and ML models. Addressing delays in patient care, AI, ML, and data analytics significantly improved access to treatments by aligning patient needs with facility availability. This approach, adopted in Canada, holds promise for replication worldwide. In developing nations, lacking infrastructure and personnel, AI can revolutionize healthcare delivery. Countries like India are leveraging AI to extend medical outreach, overcoming geographical challenges. Anticipated global application of AI and ML in healthcare promises widespread benefits in the next three to five years, especially for underserved populations.


The evolution of emerging technologies continues to redefine the way we live, work, and connect. As these technologies mature, it is imperative for individuals, industries, and societies to adapt, embrace, and navigate the transformative journey ahead. It’s important to remember that this era is not just about innovation – it’s about shaping a smarter and more sustainable world for the future generations. If you want to learn more about the top 10 emerging technologies according to the World Economic Forum, be sure to check out this report! And if this has sparked thoughts about your innovative idea, explore our ABC Silicon Valley summer school where you’ll learn how to stand out in a world full of innovators.

Published On: December 30th, 2023 / Categories: ABC Silicon Valley, Innovation, News / Tags: , , , /