Emerging technologies are crucial to continuing global prosperity. As technologies age, they are replaced by newer ones that offer greater performance, efficiency, or other important advantages. Recently, the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Emerging Technologies conducted a survey of their network to discover which technology trends would have the greatest short term impact on the world.
Informatics to add value to information took the top spot. This is hardly a surprising result. We’re bombarded with information these days and filtering signal from noise is important. The process is not unlike mining and refining, only the raw material is data, not mineral ore.
Synthetic biology and metabolic engineering made number two on the list. This result reflects a growing appreciation for biology and how intrinsic it is to our lives. It’s been my view that understanding biology as a technology, one that can provide benefits beyond raw materials, is an important step to creating human infrastructure that can be sustainable in the long term.
Other technologies include green technology, nanoscale design, systems biology, carbon, wireless energy, personalized medicine, and enhanced education technology. Why is it that education always ends up near the bottom of such lists, when we know that people are the most powerful force for changing the world? If I had input on this list, it would be number one.
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