World Economic Forum Identifies Top 10 Emerging Technologies to Address Global Challenges

Published
25 Jun 2024
2024
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World Economic Forum, public.affairs@weforum.org

  • AI-powered scientific discovery, carbon-capturing microbes, elastocalorics are among the 10 listed technologies.
  • Top 10 emerging technologies focus on applications in health, communication, infrastructure and sustainability.
  • This year’s Top 10 Emerging Technologies report identifies breakthroughs impacting societies and economies within 3-5 years.
  • Explore the full report here. For more information on the Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2024, visit wef.ch/amnc24 and share on social media using the hashtag #amnc24, or #2024夏季达沃# on Weibo and WeChat

Dalian, People’s Republic of China, 25 June 2024 – The World Economic Forum announces today the publication of its annual Top 10 Emerging Technologies Report featuring technologies with the greatest potential to make a positive impact in the world in the next three to five years.

“Organizations make better choices when they understand the factors shaping the future. The report identifies technologies poised to significantly influence societies and economies,” said Jeremy Jurgens, Managing Director, World Economic Forum and Head of the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. “It also spotlights technologies with immense potential for revolutionizing connectivity, addressing the urgent challenges of climate change and driving innovation across various fields.”

“Drawing on the expertise of Frontiers’ Chief Field Editors worldwide brings our shared commitment to transformative science into clear focus, bringing insight and clarity to breakthrough technology that has the ability to change societies, economies, and lives for the better,” said Frederick Fenter, Chief Executive Editor, Frontiers. “This is open science in action and we are delighted to partner with the World Economic Forum in bringing these technologies to the attention of business, science and political leaders across the globe.”

The Top 10 Emerging Technologies of 2024 are:

  • 1. AI for scientific discovery: While artificial intelligence (AI) has been used in research for many years, advances in deep learning, generative AI and foundation models are revolutionizing the scientific discovery process. AI will enable researchers to make unprecedented connections and advancements in understanding diseases, proposing new materials, and enhancing knowledge of the human body and mind​​.
  • 2. Privacy-enhancing technologies: Protecting personal privacy while providing new opportunities for global data sharing and collaboration, “synthetic data” is set to transform how information is handled with powerful applications in health-related research.
  • 3. Reconfigurable intelligent surfaces: These innovative surfaces turn ordinary walls and surfaces into intelligent components for wireless communication while enhancing energy efficiency in wireless networks. They hold promise for numerous applications, from smart factories to vehicular networks​​.
  • 4. High-altitude platform stations: Using aircraft, blimps and balloons, these systems can extend mobile network access to remote regions, helping bridge the digital divide for over 2.6 billion people worldwide​​.
  • 5. Integrated sensing and communication: The advent of 6G networks facilitates simultaneous data collection (sensing) and transmission (communication). This enables environmental monitoring systems that help in smart agriculture, environmental conservation and urban planning. Integrated sensing and communication devices also promise to reduce energy and silicon consumption.
  • 6. Immersive technology for the built world: Combining computing power with virtual and augmented reality, these technologies promise rapid improvements in infrastructure and daily systems​. This technology allows designers and construction professionals to check for correspondence between physical and digital models, ensuring accuracy and safety and advancing sustainability.
  • 7. Elastocalorics: As global temperatures rise, the need for cooling solutions is set to soar. Offering higher efficiency and lower energy use, elastocalorics release and absorb heat under mechanical stress, presenting a sustainable alternative to current technologies.
  • 8. Carbon-capturing microbes: Engineered organisms convert emissions into valuable products like biofuels, providing a promising approach to mitigating climate change.
  • 9. Alternative livestock feeds: protein feeds for livestock sourced from single-cell proteins, algae and food waste could offer a sustainable solution for the agricultural industry.
  • 10. Genomics for transplants: The successful implantation of genetically engineered organs into a human marks a significant advancement in healthcare, offering hope to millions awaiting transplants​​.

About the Top 10 Emerging Technologies Report

The Top 10 Emerging Technologies Report, now in its 12th edition, serves as a vital source of strategic intelligence for professionals. Drawing on insights from scientists, researchers and futurists, the report identifies 10 technologies poised to significantly influence societies and economies.

In addition to promising major benefits to societies and economies, these emerging technologies must also be disruptive, attractive to investors and researchers, and expected to achieve considerable scale within five years.

This year’s edition introduced an innovative trend analysis methodology, incorporating academic literature, funding trends and patent filings, to ensure the accuracy and relevance of the selected technologies. The technologies featured in the report, produced in collaboration with Frontiers, were identified through a rigorous selection process involving over 300 world-leading academics and experts from the Forum’s Global Future Councils, the University and Research Network, the Frontiers network comprising over 2,000 chief editors worldwide from top institutions, and Mariette di Christina and Bernard Meyerson, Co-Chairs of the Emerging Technologies Steering Group.

About the Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2024

The 15th Annual Meeting of the New Champions will take place on 25-27 June 2024 in Dalian, People’s Republic of China, under the theme, “Next Frontiers for Growth”. The meeting will gather around 1,600 high-level leaders from business, government, civil society and international organizations to generate collective insights and deployable solutions that can spur and maintain positive economic momentum globally.

Notes to editors
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