Global Agenda Council on Emerging Technologies 2012-2014
New technology is arriving faster than ever and holds the promise of solving many of the world’s most pressing challenges related issues such as food and water security, energy sustainability and personalized medicine. In the past year alone, 3D printing has been used for medical purposes; vehicles running on energy provided wirelessly by sensors in the ground were tested in South Korea; and drugs that use nanotechnology and can be delivered at the molecular level have been developed in medical labs. However, certain new technologies, such as genetically modified crops, have been greeted with scepticism by the public and media. The Council on Emerging Technologies has proposed that public perception, government regulations and investment flows play the greatest roles 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 of emerging technologies, the Council published 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, El Mundo) and was very 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; vehicles running on energy provided wirelessly by sensors in the ground were tested in South Korea; and drugs that use nanotechnology and can be delivered at the molecular level have been developed in medical labs.”
In the next term, the Council will attempt influence investment flows to these new technologies. To do that, it is planning to examine the impact of the 10 identified technologies on existing industries and their potential to form new ones, as well as their impact on society in general. It will then make recommendations that will be shared with key business players within the industries and communicated to the broader Forum community. The Council will also continue to shape public perception by gathering science and technology experts from across the Network of Global Agenda Councils and other Forum communities to identify and highlight the most promising new technologies in 2014 that could have an impact on global challenges.
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