For more than a decade, the Forum has been surveying academics, industry leaders and futurists on the emerging technologies set to transform economies and societies. In doing so, the Top 10 Emerging Technologies of 2023 report seeks to help professionals across sectors and industries anticipate exponential technologies, interpret their implications and champion industry-shaping and society-serving applications.
Since the first edition in 2011, the annual report has identified little-known technologies that have gone on to have global impact. For example, the precise genetic-engineering tool, CRISPR-Cas9, featured in 2015, went on to become Nobel Prize-winning science five years later and is now being used to create insect and drought-resistant crops in harsh growing conditions around the world. Messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccines, which earned their place in the 2017 report, became the technology underpinning the majority of COVID-19 vaccines protecting lives worldwide. In the few years since AI-led molecular design made it onto the 2018 list, Deepmind’s AlphaFold has predicted the structure of 200 million proteins, and the first AI-discovered drugs have entered clinical trials.
Now in its 11th year, the Top 10 Emerging Technologies of 2023 report outlines the technologies poised to positively impact society in the next three to five years. The report broadens its scope beyond describing the top 10 technologies and associated risks and opportunities to include a qualitative assessment of how each technology is set to impact people, the planet, prosperity, industry and equity. Unique for each technology, these “impact fingerprints” are meant to stimulate further analysis and debate about how emerging technologies – some of which you might never have heard of – can and will shape our collective future in the years ahead. Also new for the 2023 edition is a collection of transformation maps from the Forum’s Strategic Intelligence Platform, which provide deeper insights and context on each technology by showcasing how they connect to other topics on the global agenda and surfacing the latest trusted publications for further reading.
This year’s report brings together the perspectives of over 90 experts in 20 countries from all world regions. This report would not be possible without their openness to contributing their insights, and we sincerely thank them all. We greatly appreciate, too, the leadership of our Top 10 Emerging Technologies Steering Group Co-Chairs, Mariette DiChristina and Bernard Meyerson, who, along with many members, have been loyal collaborators since the inception of the Top 10 Emerging Technologies report series. We would additionally like to thank our knowledge partner for this year’s edition, Frontiers, for the deep expertise and scientific rigour of their journal editors – across the articles, impact fingerprints and transformation maps. Our thanks also to the project team: Greta Keenan, Saemoon Yoon, Minji Sung and Sebastian Buckup, as well as the wider team at the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution for their input.
New technologies have the power to disrupt industries, grow economies, improve lives and safeguard the planet – if designed, scaled and deployed responsibly. We hope that this year’s report serves as a powerful tool for business leaders and policy-makers to unlock the transformative potential of emerging technologies and shape their inclusive adoption.