Full report
Published: 26 June 2023

Top 10 Emerging Technologies of 2023


Choosing the top 10 list for 2023

Technologies for consideration for the 2023 list were collected via a survey distributed to the steering group and wider expert network, as well as the World Economic Forum’s Innovator Communities from December 2022 to January 2023. Survey respondents were asked to complete the following fields:

– Technology name

– Description of the technology

– Fields impacted by the technology

– Description of the impact of the technology on these fields, including benefits and risks to society

– Justification for why the technology should be on the 2023 list.

The 95 valid technology nominations were reviewed, debated and ranked by the steering group over the course of three meetings between January and February 2023, eventually whittling the list down to the final 10 based on the judging criteria:

Novelty: the technology is emerging and at an early stage of incipient development, not already widely used.

Applicability: has the potential to be of significant use and benefit to societies and economies in the future; is not of only marginal concern.

Depth: is being developed by more than one company and is the focus of increasing investment interest and excitement within the expert community; likely to have a significant impact in the next 3-5 years.

Power: is potentially powerful and disruptive in altering established ways and industries.

Members of the steering group volunteered to author the articles in the report, consulting specialists in their networks for added input. All articles were fact-checked and edited by Frontiers.

“Impact fingerprint”

The content of the Top 10 Emerging Technologies of 2023 report is built upon the contributions of experts from academia and industry. The methodology of this edition is based on the previous 10 editions but incorporates “impact fingerprint” survey data for the first time.

To achieve this, expert groups of academics and industry leaders were curated for each of the 10 technologies listed in the 2023 report. They were then asked to predict the future impact of their respective technology, rating the projected influence on a scale from 1 to 10, should these technologies achieve widespread adoption in the next 3-5 years. The survey aimed to assess the potential effect of these technologies across five distinct metrics:

A. People
Participants rated their expectations regarding each technology’s potential to enhance security and dignity—spanning areas such as food security, access to clean water, and improvements in healthcare outcomes—over the next decade.

B. Planet
Participants gauged the extent to which they envisage the technologies could help protect and restore our planet. This included considerations such as restoring biodiversity, minimizing waste, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

C. Prosperity
Survey respondents were asked to evaluate the potential of each technology to improve the quality of life for individuals worldwide. Factors considered included job creation, enhanced connectivity, and increased leisure time.

D. Industry
Participants assessed the potential of these technologies to disrupt existing industries and generate new markets over the next decade.

E. Equity
Finally, the survey asked participants to rate the potential for these technologies to promote global societal equity. This involved estimating their capacity to democratize access to essential resources and services like healthcare, energy, materials, and the internet.

Academics were mainly selected from Frontiers’ network of scientific journal editors, while industry leaders were selected from the Forum’s Innovator Communities.

Of the 100+ experts invited to contribute to one of the 10 technology surveys, 69 respondents from 18 countries contributed their assessment. Scores were averaged for each dimension of the impact fingerprint for each technology, with optional comments collated for additional context to scores.

The results have been visualized using radar charts (see Figure 1) and are present in each section.

FIGURE 1 | “Impact fingerprint” radar chart

Methodological limitations

This methodology was designed to be rigorous within a range of constraints.

First, given that some of the technologies on the list are truly emerging, there were limitations to how many academics and industry leaders in the Forum and Frontiers extended networks could be considered experts on these topics for participation in the impact fingerprint survey.

Second, response rates varied across the technologies, with different ratios of respondents from industry and academia.

Third, qualitative scores varied within technologies, partly due to different interpretations of the impact dimensions and partly due to different vantage points.

On balance, the impact fingerprint data visualizations provide a complementary qualitative dimension to the articles for each technology in this year’s report and prompt further analysis and debate about how emerging technologies are likely to shape the collective future in the years ahead.

Strategic Intelligence transformation maps

Another ambition for the 11th edition of the report was to facilitate deeper reader engagement with each of the technologies beyond the short articles included. To achieve this, Frontiers co-curated transformation maps for each technology, housed on the Forum’s Strategic Intelligence Platform, where readers can learn more about the key issues of each technology and how it connects to other topics on the global agenda as well as find the latest articles on the topic from trusted sources.

The descriptions were predominantly based on the articles in this report. Key issues were determined based on guidance from the steering group authors and the input of Frontiers’ editors. Key issue descriptions were researched and written by Frontiers’ editors.

FIGURE 2 | Example Strategic Intelligence transformation map

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