Invisibility Cloaks Step out of the Shadows as one of 2018’s Top Emerging Technologies

Published
14 Sep 2018
2018
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Oliver Cann, Public Engagement, World Economic Forum, Tel.: +41 79 799 3405; Email: oliver.cann@weforum.org

· The World Economic Forum’s annual list of top ten emerging technologies seeks to highlight scientific breakthroughs with the greatest potential to change the world in the next five years

· Among this year’s list are materials for fighting cancer that one day could be used to make invisibility cloaks, lab-grown meat and argumentative robots

· View the full list here. For more information about the Annual Meeting of the New Champions click here

Geneva, Switzerland 14 September 2018 – The World Economic Forum today releases its annual list of top ten emerging technologies that have the most potential to deliver transformational changes to societies and economies in the next three to five years.

The list was compiled by members of the World Economic Forum’s Expert Network in collaboration with Scientific American. Its purpose is to draw attention to the fact that many technologies that once would have belonged firmly in the realm of science fiction are now on the cusp of entering everyday usage.

This year’s top ten emerging technologies are:

- Augmented Reality Everywhere: Will transform the work of surgeons, architects and factory workers, not to mention making visits to the museum more compelling than ever

- Advanced Diagnostics for Personalized Medicine: Genome sequencing and machine learning have revolutionized our understanding of cancer, brain disorders and other diseases

- AI for Molecular Design: Researching new materials, whether for drugs, energy generation or crop improvement purposes, has never been faster, or more efficient

- AI Systems to Argue and Instruct: Alexa and Siri’s successors will give you advice – and even argue with you

- Implantable Drug-Making Cells: By making cellular implants ‘invisible’ to the immune system, we can use them to fight cancer, heart failure and other diseases

- Gene Drive: Altering species through gene editing could help us defeat malaria or protect our coral reefs; but questions remain about its potential misuse

- Algorithms for Quantum Computers: Quantum computing has struggled to live up to its hype match: new algorithms could be about to change that

- Plasmonic Materials: Plasmonics are light sensitive materials that make great sensors. New developments in nanomaterials could soon see them helping us harvest energy, fight cancer and make ourselves invisible

- Lab-grown meat: eating tasty and affordable beef, chicken and fish grown from stem cells could help eliminate one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions

- Electroceuticals: electrical impulses are already used to treat epilepsy and depression. New breakthroughs could see it used to tackle obesity, opioid withdrawal, autoimmune disorders and other conditions.

The emerging technologies will be discussed during a number of panel discussions and working sessions at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of the New Champions, which is taking place in Tianjin, People’s Republic of China on 18-20 September. The purpose of the meeting, which is focused on science and technology in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, is to focus leaders’ efforts on ensuring that emerging technologies are used to benefit society and that they remain human-centred.

“As societies grapple with the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it is crucial to stay ahead of the curve of new technological breakthroughs that may radically transform our lives. The wide range of experts contributing to this effort provides a unique perspective on the potential benefits and risks associated with these technologies,” said Stephan Mergenthaler, Head of Knowledge Networks and Analysis, World Economic Forum.

“Scientific American, which since 1845 has chronicled the innovations that shape the world, is pleased to partner again with the World Economic Forum in identifying the Top Tech Emerging Technologies of 2018,” says Mariette DiChristina, Editor in Chief and Chair of the Steering Committee for the 2018 list. “Understanding rapidly emerging technologies, and the opportunities and challenges they raise, helps us in working together to ensure that society ultimately benefits.”

The 12th Annual Meeting of the New convenes under the theme, Shaping Innovative Societies in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. More than 2,000 business leaders, policy-makers and experts from over 80 countries will participate and explore more than 200 sessions over the three days of the meeting.

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All opinions expressed are those of the author. The World Economic Forum Blog is an independent and neutral platform dedicated to generating debate around the key topics that shape global, regional and industry agendas.