The Top Ten Emerging Technologies of 2016 — from by Irving Wladawsky-Berger


Here are the ten technologies comprising the 2016 list, along with the reason cited by the WEF for their selection:

  • Nanosensors and the Internet of Nanothings — “With the Internet of Things expected to comprise 30 billion connected devices by 2020, one of the most exciting areas of focus today is now on nanosensors capable of circulating in the human body or being embedded in construction materials.”
  • Next-generation batteries— “One of the greatest obstacles holding renewable energy back is matching supply with demand, but recent advances in energy storage using sodium, aluminum, and zinc based batteries makes mini-grids feasible that can provide clean, reliable, around-the-clock energy sources to entire villages.”
  • The Blockchain — “With venture investment related to the online currency bitcoin exceeding $1 billion in 2015 alone, the economic and social impact of blockchain’s potential to fundamentally change the way markets and governments work is only now emerging.”
  • 2-D materials — “Plummeting production costs mean that 2D materials like graphene are emerging in a wide range of applications, from air and water filters to new generations of wearables and batteries.”
  • Autonomous vehicles — “The potential of self-driving vehicles for saving lives, cutting pollution, boosting economies, and improving quality of life for the elderly and other segments of society has led to rapid deployment of key technology forerunners along the way to full autonomy.”
  • Organs-on-chips — “Miniature models of human organs could revolutionize medical research and drug discovery by allowing researchers to see biological mechanism behaviors in ways never before possible.”
  • Perovskite solar cells — “This new photovoltaic material offers three improvements over the classic silicon solar cell: it is easier to make, can be used virtually anywhere and, to date, keeps on generating power more efficiently.”
  • Open AI ecosystem — “Shared advances in natural language processing and social awareness algorithms, coupled with an unprecedented availability of data, will soon allow smart digital assistants to help with a vast range of tasks, from keeping track of one’s finances and health to advising on wardrobe choice.”
  • Optogenetics— “Recent developments mean light can now be delivered deeper into brain tissue, something that could lead to better treatment for people with brain disorders.”
  • Systems metabolic engineering — “Advances in synthetic biology, systems biology, and evolutionary engineering mean that the list of building block chemicals that can be manufactured better and more cheaply by using plants rather than fossil fuels is growing every year.”



Also see:

34 Most Disruptive Technologies of the Next Decade — from by Tess Townsend
Smart dust? 4-D printing? Gartner’s annual hype cycle report offers insight into new directions in technology.



Here are all the technologies in the report:

  • Smart Dust
  • 4-D Printing
  • General-Purpose Machine Intelligence
  • 802.11ax
  • Context Brokering
  • Neuromorphic Hardware
  • Data Broker PaaS (dbrPaaS)
  • Quantum Computing
  • Human Augmentation
  • Personal Analytics
  • Smart Workspace
  • Volumetric Displays
  • Conversational User Interfaces
  • Brain-Computer Interface
  • Virtual Personal Assistants
  • Smart Data Discovery
  • Affective Computing
  • Commercial UAVs (Drones)
  • IoT Platform
  • Gesture Control Devices
  • Micro Data Centers
  • Smart Robots
  • Blockchain
  • Connected Home
  • Cognitive Expert Advisors
  • Machine Learning
  • Software-Defined Security
  • Autonomous Vehicles
  • Nanotube Electronics
  • Software-Defined Anything (SDx)
  • Natural-Language Question Answering
  • Enterprise Taxonomy and Ontology Management
  • Augmented Reality
  • Virtual Reality