Top 10 Emerging Technologies 2018

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Global Agenda Top 10 Emerging Technologies of 2015 By the World Economic Forum’s Meta-Council on Emerging Technologies March 2015Contents 3 Introduction 4 Fuel cell vehicles 5 Next-generation robotics 6 Recyclable thermoset plastics 7 Precise genetic-engineering techniques 8 Additive manufacturing 9 Emergent artificial intelligence 10 Distributed manufacturing 11 ‘Sense and avoid’ drones 12 Neuromorphic technology 13 Digital genome 14 Acknowledgments World Economic Forum® 2015 - All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system. The views expressed are those of certain participants in the discussion and do not necessarily reflect the views of all participants or of the World Economic Forum. REF 260215 2 Top 10 Emerging Technologies 2015Introduction Technology is perhaps the greatest agent of change in the modern world. While never without risk, technological breakthroughs promise innovative solutions to the most pressing global challenges of our time. From zero-emission cars fuelled by hydrogen to computer chips modelled on the human brain, this year’s 10 emerging technologies offer a vivid glimpse of the power of innovation to improve lives, transform industries and safeguard our planet. Bernard Meyerson To compile this list, the World Economic Forum’s Meta- Chief Innovation Council on Emerging Technologies, a panel of 18 Officer, experts, draws on the collective expertise of the Forum’s IBM Corporation communities to identify the most important recent technological trends. By doing so, the Meta-Council aims to raise awareness of their potential and contribute to closing the gaps in investment, regulation and public understanding that so often thwart progress. Top 10 Emerging Technologies 2015 3Fuel cell vehicles Zero-emission cars that run on hydrogen “Fuel cell” vehicles have been long promised, as they There are a number of ways to produce hydrogen without potentially offer several major advantages over electric and generating carbon emissions. Most obviously, renewable hydrocarbon-powered vehicles. However, the technology sources of electricity from wind and solar sources can has only now begun to reach the stage where automotive be used to electrolyse water – though the overall energy companies are planning to launch them for consumers. efficiency of this process is likely to be quite low. Hydrogen Initial prices are likely to be in the range of 70,000, but can also be split from water in high-temperature nuclear should come down significantly as volumes increase within reactors or generated from fossil fuels such as coal the next couple of years. or natural gas, with the resulting CO2 captured and sequestered rather than released into the atmosphere. Unlike batteries, which must be charged from an external source, fuel cells generate electricity directly, using fuels As well as the production of cheap hydrogen on a large such as hydrogen or natural gas. In practice, fuel cells scale, a significant challenge is the lack of a hydrogen and batteries are combined, with the fuel cell generating distribution infrastructure that would be needed to parallel electricity and the batteries storing this energy until and eventually replace petrol and diesel filling stations. Long demanded by the motors that drive the vehicle. Fuel cell distance transport of hydrogen, even in a compressed vehicles are therefore hybrids, and will likely also deploy state, is not considered economically feasible today. regenerative braking – a key capability for maximizing However, innovative hydrogen storage techniques, such efficiency and range. as organic liquid carriers that do not require high-pressure storage, will soon lower the cost of long-distance transport Unlike battery-powered electric vehicles, fuel cell vehicles and ease the risks associated with gas storage and behave as any conventionally fuelled vehicle. With a long inadvertent release. cruising range – up to 650 km per tank (the fuel is usually compressed hydrogen gas) – a hydrogen fuel refill only Mass-market fuel cell vehicles are an attractive prospect, takes about three minutes. Hydrogen is clean-burning, because they will offer the range and fuelling convenience producing only water vapour as waste, so fuel cell vehicles of today’s diesel and petrol-powered vehicles while burning hydrogen will be zero-emission, an important factor providing the benefits of sustainability in personal given the need to reduce air pollution. transportation. Achieving these benefits will, however, require the reliable and economical production of hydrogen from entirely low-carbon sources, and its distribution to a growing fleet of vehicles (expected to number in the many millions within a decade). 4 Top 10 Emerging Technologies 2015Next-generation robotics Rolling away from the production line The popular imagination has long foreseen a world where out of bed and support stroke victims in regaining control robots take over all manner of everyday tasks. This robotic of their limbs. Smaller and more dextrous robots, such as future has stubbornly refused to materialize, however, Dexter Bot, Baxter and LBR iiwa, are designed to be easily with robots still limited to factory assembly lines and other programmable and to handle manufacturing tasks that are controlled tasks. Although heavily used (in the automotive laborious or uncomfortable for human workers. industry, for instance) these robots are large and dangerous to human co-workers; they have to be separated by safety Indeed, robots are ideal for tasks that are too repetitive cages. or dangerous for humans to undertake, and can work 24 hours a day at a lower cost than human workers. In reality, Advances in robotics technology are making human- new-generation robotic machines are likely to collaborate machine collaboration an everyday reality. Better and with humans rather than replace them. Even considering cheaper sensors make a robot more able to understand advances in design and artificial intelligence, human and respond to its environment. Robot bodies are involvement and oversight will remain essential. becoming more adaptive and flexible, with designers taking inspiration from the extraordinary flexibility and dexterity of There remains the risk that robots may displace human complex biological structures, such as the human hand. workers from jobs, although previous generations of And robots are becoming more connected, benefiting from automation have tended to lead to higher productivity and the cloud-computing revolution by being able to access growth with benefits throughout the economy. Decades- instructions and information remotely, rather than having to old fears of networked robots running out of control may be programmed as a fully autonomous unit. become more salient with next generation robotics linked into the web - but more likely familiarization as people The new age of robotics takes these machines away employ domestic robots to do household chores will reduce from the big manufacturing assembly lines, and into a fears rather than fan them. And new research into social wide variety of tasks. Using GPS technology, just like robots – that know how to collaborate and build working smartphones, robots are beginning to be used in precision alliances with humans – means that a future where robots agriculture for weed control and harvesting. In Japan, and humans work together, each to do what it does best robots are being trialled in nursing roles: they help patients – is a strong likelihood. Nevertheless, however, the next generation of robotics poses novel questions for fields from philosophy to anthropology about the human relationship to machines. Top 10 Emerging Technologies 2015 5Recyclable thermoset plastics A new kind of plastic to cut landfill waste Plastics are divided into thermoplastics and thermoset In 2014 critical advances were made in this area, with the plastics. The former can be heated and shaped many publication of a landmark paper in the journal Science times, and are ubiquitous in the modern world, comprising announcing the discovery of new classes of thermosetting everything from children’s toys to lavatory seats. Because polymers that are recyclable. Called poly(hexahydrotriazine) they can be melted down and reshaped, thermoplastics s, or PHTs, these can be dissolved in strong acid, breaking are generally recyclable. Thermoset plastics however can apart the polymer chains into component monomers that only be heated and shaped once, after which molecular can then be reassembled into new products. Like traditional changes mean that they are “cured”, retaining their shape unrecyclable thermosets, these new structures are rigid, and strength even when subject to intense heat and resistant to heat and tough, with the same potential pressure. applications as their unrecyclable forerunners.   Due to this durability, thermoset plastics are a vital part of Although no recycling is 100% efficient, this innovation – if our modern world, and are used in everything from mobile widely deployed – should speed up the move towards a phones and circuit boards to the aerospace industry. But circular economy with a big reduction in landfill waste from the same characteristics that have made them essential plastics. We expect recyclable thermoset polymers to in modern manufacturing also make them impossible to replace unrecyclable thermosets within five years, and to be recycle. As a result, most thermoset polymers end up as ubiquitous in newly manufactured goods by 2025. landfill. Given the ultimate objective of sustainability, there has long been a pressing need for recyclability in thermoset plastics. 6 Top 10 Emerging Technologies 2015Precise genetic-engineering techniques A breakthrough offers better crops with less controversy Conventional genetic engineering has long caused Another aspect of genetic engineering that appears poised controversy. However, new techniques are emerging that for a major advance is the use of RNA interference (RNAi) allow us to directly “edit” the genetic code of plants to make in crops. RNAi is effective against viruses and fungal them, for example, more nutritious or better able to cope pathogens, and can also protect plants against insect with a changing climate. pests, reducing the need for chemical pesticides. Viral             genes have been used to protect papaya plants against Currently, the genetic engineering of crops relies on the the ringspot virus, for example, with no sign of resistance bacterium agrobacterium tumefaciens to transfer desired evolving in over a decade of use in Hawaii. RNAi may also DNA into the target genome. The technique is proven and benefit major staple-food crops, protecting wheat against reliable, and despite widespread public fears, there is a stem rust, rice against blast, potato against blight and consensus in the scientific community that genetically banana against fusarium wilt. modifying organisms using this technique is no more risky than modifying them using conventional breeding. However, Many of these innovations will be particularly beneficial to while agrobacterium is useful, more precise and varied smaller farmers in developing countries. As such, genetic genome-editing techniques have been developed in recent engineering may become less controversial, as people years. recognize its effectiveness at boosting the incomes and improving the diets of millions of people. In addition, more These include ZFNs, TALENS and, more recently, the precise genome editing may allay public fears, especially if CRISPR-Cas9 system, which evolved in bacteria as a the resulting plant or animal is not considered transgenic defence mechanism against viruses. CRISPR-Cas9 system because no foreign genetic material is introduced. uses an RNA molecule to target DNA, cutting to a known, user-selected sequence in the target genome. This can Taken together, these techniques promise to advance disable an unwanted gene or modify it in a way that is agricultural sustainability by reducing input use in multiple functionally indistinguishable from a natural mutation. Using areas, from water and land to fertilizer, while also helping “homologous recombination”, CRISPR can also be used to crops to adapt to climate change. insert new DNA sequences, or even whole genes, into the genome in a precise way. Top 10 Emerging Technologies 2015 7Additive manufacturing The future of making things, from printable organs to intelligent clothes An important next stage in additive manufacturing would As the name suggests, additive manufacturing is the be the 3D printing of integrated electronic components, opposite of subtractive manufacturing. The latter is how such as circuit boards. Nano-scale computer parts, like manufacturing has traditionally been done: starting with processors, are difficult to manufacture this way because a larger piece of material (wood, metal, stone, etc), layers of the challenges of combining electronic components with are removed, or subtracted, to leave the desired shape. others made from multiple different materials. 4D printing Additive manufacturing instead starts with loose material, now promises to bring in a new generation of products that either liquid or powder, and then builds it into a three- can alter themselves in response to environmental changes, dimensional shape using a digital template. such as heat and humidity. This could be useful in clothes or footwear, for example, as well as in healthcare products, 3D products can be highly customized to the end user, such as implants designed to change in the human body. unlike mass-produced manufactured goods. An example is the company Invisalign, which uses computer imaging Like distributed manufacturing, additive manufacturing is of customers’ teeth to make near-invisible braces tailored potentially highly disruptive to conventional processes and to their mouths. Other medical applications are taking 3D supply chains. But it remains a nascent technology today, printing in a more biological direction: by directly printing with applications mainly in the automotive, aerospace and human cells, it is now possible to create living tissues that medical sectors. Rapid growth is expected over the next may find potential application in drug safety screening and, decade as more opportunities emerge and innovation in this ultimately, tissue repair and regeneration. An early example technology brings it closer to the mass market. of this bioprinting is Organovo’s printed liver-cell layers, which are aimed at drug testing, and may eventually be used to create transplant organs. Bioprinting has already been used to generate skin and bone, as well as heart and vascular tissue, which offer huge potential in future personalized medicine. 8 Top 10 Emerging Technologies 2015Emergent artic fi ial intelligence What happens when a computer can learn on the job? Artificial intelligence (AI) is, in simple terms, the science of store of information, and able to respond without human doing by computer the things that people can do. Over emotional biases, might also perform better than medical recent years, AI has advanced significantly: most of us professionals in diagnosing diseases. The Watson system is now use smartphones that can recognize human speech, now being deployed in oncology to assist in diagnosis and or have travelled through an airport immigration queue personalized, evidence-based treatment options for cancer using image-recognition technology. Self-driving cars and patients. automated flying drones are now in the testing stage before anticipated widespread use, while for certain learning and Long the stuff of dystopian sci-fi nightmares, AI clearly memory tasks, machines now outperform humans. Watson, comes with risks – the most obvious being that super- an artificially intelligent computer system, beat the best intelligent machines might one day overcome and enslave human candidates at the quiz game Jeopardy. humans. This risk, while still decades away, is taken increasingly seriously by experts, many of whom signed Artificial intelligence, in contrast to normal hardware and an open letter coordinated by the Future of Life Institute in software, enables a machine to perceive and respond to January 2015 to direct the future of AI away from potential its changing environment. Emergent AI takes this a step pitfalls. More prosaically, economic changes prompted further, with progress arising from machines that learn by intelligent computers replacing human workers may automatically by assimilating large volumes of information. exacerbate social inequalities and threaten existing jobs. An example is NELL, the Never-Ending Language Learning For example, automated drones may replace most human project from Carnegie Mellon University, a computer system delivery drivers, and self-driven short-hire vehicles could that not only reads facts by crawling through hundreds of make taxis increasingly redundant. millions of web pages, but attempts to improve its reading and understanding competence in the process in order to On the other hand, emergent AI may make attributes perform better in the future. that are still exclusively human – creativity, emotions, interpersonal relationships – more clearly valued. As Like next-generation robotics, improved AI will lead to machines grow in human intelligence, this technology significant productivity advances as machines take over - will increasingly challenge our view of what it means to and even perform better - at certain tasks than humans. be human, as well as the risks and benefits posed by the There is substantial evidence that self-driving cars will rapidly closing gap between man and machine. reduce collisions, and resulting deaths and injuries, from road transport, as machines avoid human errors, lapses in concentration and defects in sight, among other problems. Intelligent machines, having faster access to a much larger Top 10 Emerging Technologies 2015 9Distributed manufacturing The factory of the future is online – and on your doorstep Distributed manufacturing turns on its head the way we Distributed manufacturing is expected to enable a more make and distribute products. In traditional manufacturing, efficient use of resources, with less wasted capacity in raw materials are brought together, assembled and centralized factories. It also lowers the barriers to market fabricated in large centralized factories into identical finished entry by reducing the amount of capital required to build the products that are then distributed to the customer. In first prototypes and products. Importantly, it should reduce distributed manufacturing, the raw materials and methods the overall environmental impact of manufacturing: digital of fabrication are decentralized, and the final product is information is shipped over the web rather than physical manufactured very close to the final customer. products over roads or rails, or on ships; and raw materials are sourced locally, further reducing the amount of energy In essence, the idea of distributed manufacturing is to required for transportation. replace as much of the material supply chain as possible with digital information. To manufacture a chair, for example, If it becomes more widespread, distributed manufacturing rather than sourcing wood and fabricating it into chairs will disrupt traditional labour markets and the economics in a central factory, digital plans for cutting the parts of of traditional manufacturing. It does pose risks: it may be a chair can be distributed to local manufacturing hubs more difficult to regulate and control remotely manufactured using computerized cutting tools known as CNC routers. medical devices, for example, while products such as Parts can then be assembled by the consumer or by local weapons may be illegal or dangerous. Not everything can fabrication workshops that can turn them into finished be made via distributed manufacturing, and traditional products. One company already using this model is the US manufacturing and supply chains will still have to be furniture company AtFAB. maintained for many of the most important and complex consumer goods. Current uses of distributed manufacturing rely heavily on the DIY “maker movement”, in which enthusiasts use their own Distributed manufacturing may encourage broader local 3D printers and make products out of local materials. diversity in objects that are today standardized, such as There are elements of open-source thinking here, in that smartphones and automobiles. Scale is no object: one UK consumers can customize products to their own needs and company, Facit Homes, uses personalized designs and 3D preferences. Instead of being centrally driven, the creative printing to create customized houses to suit the consumer. design element can be more crowdsourced; products Product features will evolve to serve different markets and may take on an evolutionary character as more people get geographies, and there will be a rapid proliferation of goods involved in visualizing and producing them. and services to regions of the world not currently well served by traditional manufacturing. 10 Top 10 Emerging Technologies 2015‘Sense and avoid’ drones Flying robots to check power lines or deliver emergency aid Unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, have become an In January 2014, Intel and Ascending Technologies important and controversial part of military capacity in showcased prototype multi-copter drones that could recent years. They are also used in agriculture, for filming navigate an on-stage obstacle course and automatically and multiple other applications that require cheap and avoid people who walked into their path. The machines use extensive aerial surveillance. But so far all these drones Intel’s RealSense camera module, which weighs just 8g have had human pilots; the difference is that their pilots are and is less than 4mm thick. This level of collision avoidance on the ground and fly the aircraft remotely. will usher in a future of shared airspace, with many drones flying in proximity to humans and operating in and near The next step with drone technology is to develop machines the built environment to perform a multitude of tasks. that fly themselves, opening them up to a wider range of Drones are essentially robots operating in three, rather than applications. For this to happen, drones must be able to two, dimensions; advances in next-generation robotics sense and respond to their local environment, altering their technology will accelerate this trend. height and flying trajectory in order to avoid colliding with other objects in their path. In nature, birds, fish and insects Flying vehicles will never be risk-free, whether operated can all congregate in swarms, each animal responding to its by humans or as intelligent machines. For widespread neighbour almost instantaneously to allow the swarm to fly adoption, sense and avoid drones must be able to operate or swim as a single unit. Drones can emulate this. reliably in the most difficult conditions: at night, in blizzards or dust storms. Unlike our current digital mobile devices With reliable autonomy and collision avoidance, drones can (which are actually immobile, since we have to carry begin to take on tasks too dangerous or remote for humans them around), drones will be transformational as they are to carry out: checking electric power lines, for example, self-mobile and have the capacity of flying in the three- or delivering medical supplies in an emergency. Drone dimensional world that is beyond our direct human reach. delivery machines will be able to find the best route to their Once ubiquitous, they will vastly expand our presence, destination, and take into account other flying vehicles and productivity and human experience. obstacles. In agriculture, autonomous drones can collect and process vast amounts of visual data from the air, allowing precise and efficient use of inputs such as fertilizer and irrigation. Top 10 Emerging Technologies 2015 11Neuromorphic technology Computer chips that mimic the human brain Even today’s best supercomputers cannot rival the Neuromorphic technology will be the next stage in powerful sophistication of the human brain. Computers are linear, computing, enabling vastly more rapid processing of data moving data back and forth between memory chips and and a better capacity for machine learning. IBM’s million- a central processor over a high-speed backbone. The neuron TrueNorth chip, revealed in prototype in August brain, on the other hand, is fully interconnected, with 2014, has a power efficiency for certain tasks that is logic and memory intimately cross-linked at billions of hundreds of times superior to a conventional CPU (Central times the density and diversity of that found in a modern Processing Unit), and more comparable for the first time computer. Neuromorphic chips aim to process information to the human cortex. With vastly more compute power in a fundamentally different way from traditional hardware, available for far less energy and volume, neuromorphic mimicking the brain’s architecture to deliver a huge increase chips should allow more intelligent small-scale machines in a computer’s thinking and responding power. to drive the next stage in miniaturization and artificial intelligence. Miniaturization has delivered massive increases in conventional computing power over the years, but the Potential applications include: drones better able to process bottleneck of shifting data constantly between stored and respond to visual cues, much more powerful and memory and central processors uses large amounts intelligent cameras and smartphones, and data-crunching of energy and creates unwanted heat, limiting further on a scale that may help unlock the secrets of financial improvements. In contrast, neuromorphic chips can be markets or climate forecasting. Computers will be able to more energy efficient and powerful, combining data- anticipate and learn, rather than merely respond in pre- storage and data-processing components into the same programmed ways. interconnected modules. In this sense, the system copies the networked neurons that, in their billions, make up the human brain. 12 Top 10 Emerging Technologies 2015Digital genome Healthcare for an age when your genetic code is on a USB stick While the first sequencing of the 3.2 billion base pairs of Like all personal information, a person’s digital genome DNA that make up the human genome took many years will need to be safeguarded for privacy reasons. Personal and cost tens of millions of dollars, today your genome can genomic profiling has already raised challenges, with be sequenced and digitized in minutes and at the cost of regard to how people respond to a clearer understanding only a few hundred dollars. The results can be delivered of their risk of genetic disease, and how others – such as to your laptop on a USB stick and easily shared via the employers or insurance companies – might want to access internet. This ability to rapidly and cheaply determine our and use the information. However, the benefits are likely to individual unique genetic make-up promises a revolution in outweigh the risks, because individualized treatments and more personalized and effective healthcare. targeted therapies can be developed with the potential to be applied across all the many diseases that are driven or Many of our most intractable health challenges, from heart assisted by changes in DNA. disease to cancer, have a genetic component. Indeed, cancer is best described as a disease of the genome. With digitization, doctors will be able to make decisions about a patient’s cancer treatment informed by a tumour’s genetic make-up. This new knowledge is also making precision medicine a reality by enabling the development of highly targeted therapies that offer the potential for improved treatment outcomes, especially for patients battling cancer. Top 10 Emerging Technologies 2015 13Acknowledgments Meta-Council on Emerging Technologies Bernard Meyerson (Chair) Chief Innovation officer, IBM Mariette DiChristina (Vice-Chair) Editor-in-Chief, Scientific American Noubar Afeyan Managing Partner and Chief Executive Officer, Flagship Ventures Nayef Al-Rodhan Honorary Fellow, St Antony's College, University of Oxford Jeffrey Carbeck Specialist Leader, Advanced Materials and Manufacturing, DC Innovations, Deloitte George Chen Guoqiang Professor, School of Life Sciences, Tsinghua University Liam Condon Chief Executive Officer, Bayer CropScience Lee Sang Yup Distinguished Professor, Director and Dean, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) Geoffrey Ling Director, Biological Technologies Office, DARPA Mark Lynas Visiting Fellow, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, Cornell University Henry Markram Professor, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) Kiyoshi Matsuda Chief Innovation Officer, Corporate Strategy Office, Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation Andrew D. Maynard NSF International Chair of Environmental Health Sciences and Director, Risk Science Center, University of Michigan Apurv Mishra Founder, Glavio Wearable Computing Robert Pepper Vice-President, Global Technology Policy, Cisco Françoise Roure Senior National Adviser, National Advisory Board on Industry, Energy and Technologies, Ministry of Finances and Public Accounts of France Leila Takayama Senior Researcher, Google Zhang Dongxiao Dean and Chair Professor, College of Engineering, Peking University 14 Top 10 Emerging Technologies 2015Report Team (World Economic Forum) Martina Larkin Senior Director, Head of the Global Knowledge Networks Andrew Hagan Director, Head of Chemicals Industry, Basic and Infrastructure Industries Rigas Hadzilacos Meta-Council Manager, Senior Associate, Science and Technology, Global Knowledge Networks Production Team (World Economic Forum) Mike Hanley Senior Director, Communications, Digital Content Oliver Cann Director, Media Relations Ceri Parker Associate Director, Commissioning Editor, Forum Blog, Digital Content and Editing Henry Taylor Social Media Producer, Digital Content and Editing Ruslan Gaynutdinov Junior Graphic Designer Special Thanks to: Justine Cassell Professor, Human-Computer Interaction, Carnegie Mellon University Global Agenda Council on Artificial Intelligence & Robotics Paolo Dario Director, the BioRobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa Global Agenda Council on Artificial Intelligence & Robotics Julia Greer Professor of Materials Science and Mechanics, California Institute of Technology (Caltech) Global Agenda Council on Nanotechnology Jennifer Lewis Hansjorg Wyss Professor at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Global Agenda Council on the Future of Chemistry, Advanced Materials & Biotechnology Michael Pellini President and Chief Executive Officer, Foundation Medicine Inc Technology Pioneers William “Red” Whittaker Professor at Carnegie Mellon University Top 10 Emerging Technologies 2015 15The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. Incorporated as a not-for-profit foundation in 1971 and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the Forum is tied to no political, partisan or national interests. World Economic Forum 91–93 route de la Capite CH-1223 Cologny/Geneva Switzerland Tel.: +41 (0) 22 869 1212 Fax: +41 (0) 22 786 2744

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