Global Agenda Council on Emerging Technologies 2012-2014

 

The challenge

New technology is arriving faster than ever and holds the promise of solving many of the world’s most pressing challenges, such as food and water security, energy sustainability and personalized medicine. In the past year alone, 3D printing has been used for medical purposes; lighter, cheaper and flexible electronics made from organic materials have found practical applications; and drugs that use nanotechnology and can be delivered at the molecular level have been developed in medical labs. Uninformed public opinion, outdated government and intergovernmental regulations, and inadequate existing funding models for research and development are the greatest challenges in effectively moving new technologies from the research lab to people’s lives.

What the Council is doing about it

To positively influence the public perception on emerging technologies, the Council publishes a list of 10 technologies that currently appear to hold the most promise for addressing global challenges. “The Top 10 Emerging Technologies for 2013” became the most popular blog post in the history of the World Economic Forum, attracting more than 40,000 readers within a week of its publication. It was picked up by mainstream media publications (The Washington Post, MIT Technology Review and El Mundo) and was popular on social media. The Council was also a major contributor to the Forum’s “New Energy Harnessing” project, which aims to identify new technologies that can efficiently harness and store energy. Finally, the Council has been putting effort into creating a Centre for Emerging Technology Intelligence under the auspices of neutral hub organizations in the Americas, Europe and Asia to produce a coherent, informed prospectus on the development and use of emerging technologies and their implications for society.

“In the past year alone, 3D printing has been used for medical purposes; lighter, cheaper and flexible electronics made from organic materials have found practical applications; and drugs that use nanotechnology and can be delivered at the molecular level have been developed in medical labs.

For the remainder of this term, the Council will aim to:

  • Raise awareness on the promise of certain technologies in order to highlight the importance of dealing with the challenges
  • Better inform regulators and business leaders about what must be done to overcome the challenges
  • Identify and advocate for new funding models that will enable technological innovation to address the world’s most pressing challenges, such as the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change and water/food/energy scarcity

To get involved please contact

Council Manager: Rigas Hadzilacos, Associate, Research Analyst, Global Agenda Councils, rigas.hadzilacos@weforum.org 
Forum Lead: Andrew Hagan, Director, Head, Chemicals Industry, andrew.hagan@weforum.org 

What we're working on:

"Energy, Transport & the Environment", Sir David King, Oliver Inderwildi

"The Atlas of Ideas: How Asian innovation can benefit us all", James Wilsdon, C. Leadbeater Demos

“Biotemplated Synthesis of Perovskite Nanomaterials for Solar Energy Conversion”, Angela Belcher, Nurxat Nuraje, Xiangnan Dang, Jifa Qi, Mark A. Allen, Yu Lei

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