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Emerging technologies are disrupting economies and industries and changing how people live and work. They are causing a lot of change in social, economic, cultural and political spheres of society. These technologies are growing in popularity and solving the challenges we face in the world such as enabling effective renewable energy sources, hunger, water and sanitation, among others.
What are Emerging Technologies?
Emerging technologies are innovations in the early stages of development and deployment. These technologies are expected to have a significant impact on society and the economy. They are highly transformative and will radically change how we interact with the world and each other.
Wikipedia notes that new technological fields may result from technological convergence of different systems evolving towards similar goals. And that this convergence brings separate technologies together so they share resources and interact with each other creating new efficiencies. An example is combining voice, data, and video together.
Examples of emerging technologies are artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT), augmented/virtual reality, blockchain, 3D printing, etc. These are just a few examples of emerging technologies and the list will increase as new innovations are developed.
People have questions and concerns about emerging technologies, for example, privacy, security or ethics and want to know how safe they are to use. Information on these technologies is available online, and with a bit of research, you can learn about each technology before using it.
Different Categories of Emerging Technologies
Emerging technologies are in three general categories: digital, physical, and biological. We will look at the individual technologies in subsequent blog posts.
The digital technologies include the internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), 5th Generation Wireless Technology (5G), cloud computing, platform/gig/sharing/on-demand economy, blockchain, quantum computing and metaverse. Digital technologies include electronic tools, systems, devices and resources that generate, store or process data.
Physical technologies are tangible and exist physically, and people use them to perform tasks. They improve productivity in the workplace and reduce the amount of physical work people do. These technologies include robotics, autonomous (self-driving or driverless) vehicles, 3D printing, virtual/augmented reality, and nanotechnology.
The Biotechnology Innovation Organization says biotechnology is a technology based on biology and harnesses cellular and biomolecular processes to develop products that help improve our lives and the health of our planet. The biological technologies include gene sequencing, gene editing/engineering, synthetic biology, bioprinting, and neurotechnology.
How Can We Use Emerging Technologies in Our Businesses?
According to PWC, tech innovation moves quickly, but companies are not always equipped to take advantage of it. That could be because of competing priorities, stretched budgets or lack of resources. Emerging technologies offer businesses many opportunities to improve efficiency and productivity.
Business owners can leverage cloud computing to store and share data and information. They can explore AI and machine learning to automate routine tasks and data analysis. They can use robotics and automation to streamline manufacturing and other processes. Businesses can use augmented and virtual reality technologies to create immersive experiences for customers and create more efficient training programs for employees.
How can we use emerging technologies in our personal lives?
Emerging technologies bring the opportunity to make our personal lives efficient and enjoyable. They help us automate mundane tasks and stay connected to family and friends around the world. These technologies also enable us to control our home appliances and smart home systems, and help us explore new places and activities. They also improve our gaming experience. Emerging technologies help us communicate, entertain, and manage our daily activities.
These technologies have many benefits but also have some challenges such as security risks, overuse and addiction. We can reap the benefits of these technologies if we understand their potential risks and use them appropriately.
Are emerging technologies a threat to employment?
Emerging technologies have both benefits and challenges to employment. On one hand, they create new jobs and industries that did not exist before. They also increase productivity and reduce costs of operation. On the other hand, they can displace workers as jobs become automated. To mitigate the potential risks of emerging technologies, ensure workers are equipped with skills to succeed in new jobs.
An article on the McKinsey website says that automation, digital platforms, and other innovations are changing the fundamental nature of work. Governments and businesses can work together to ensure workers transition well to technology based jobs.
Technology has redefined how we work and this calls for reskilling of the workforce to keep up with the changing environment. Many new jobs have come up because of the new roles created by technological innovations.
In their report, Paul Schulte and John Howard say that the impact of technology on work and workers should be considered as a process that occurs over time. That the speed at which technology is modifying work is increasing and will not happen everywhere at the same time. This means that people have time to ensure a smooth transition to new jobs created by technology.
Emerging technologies will transform the way we live and work. They will change our lives in all sectors – social, cultural, political, and economic. Companies can use these technologies strategically to increase productivity and compete on a global scale. In subsequent blog posts, we will cover individual technologies to show you what they are and how to use them effectively.
If you would like to know more about emerging technologies, get in touch with us today.