To write this article, we consulted several reliable sources within the world of technology and science, all of which had individual views on the global trends in science and technology. It was noticeable that these diverse organizations all shared a common list of technologies.
Nanotechnology is working with atomic size structures. The application of NanoTechnology crosses a wide variety of applications in lots of different industries.
If you want to understand exactly how small we are talking about, you should consider that a sheet of newspaper is more than 100,000 NanoMeters thick.
NanoTechnology depends on being able to see and control individual atoms.
With this ability to manipulate atoms, NanoTechnologists have gained the ability to create items with enhanced features. NanoTechnology is going to be increasingly important when combined with other technologies on this list.
Scientists expect that Computers will continue to become smarter and that by 2025 they will overtake humans in their intelligence. This point is where humans have to step back and think about the implications.
There have been many dystopian stories of how machines took over. How does society ensure this does not happen?
We then have to consider what would happen if Computing, Robotics, and NanoTechnology converge to produce self-replicating machines.
Quantum computing is still a growing technology. Companies that have access to real quantum computers will have a considerable advantage over the competition.
It is one thing for a computer to have massive computational power, but if a computer has real artificial intelligence as well, the situation becomes so much more an issue. A computer will follow predetermined calculations. Artificial intelligence can learn and grow and is no longer under the direct control of humans.
By creating technology that can work without boundaries, learn and make decisions, we are effectively creating a new form of life. This move requires humanity to consider in-depth what controls must be put in place. Science fiction writer Isaac Asimov anticipated this when he wrote the “Three Laws of Robotics”.
Internet of Things.
It is no longer just humans sitting at computers that connect to the Internet. Increasingly, appliances, machines and systems are connecting and even communicating among themselves.
An example would be a logistics facility that has automated collection of items from a warehouse could connect to trucks and coordinate the scheduling and movement of stock from the warehouse to the customer without human management.
The race is on now to develop new systems that can connect to the Internet and exploit new business opportunities. There is a lot of money to be made in this field.
You will have already seen how advances in computers, artificial intelligence, and even NanoTechnology have reached the level of development where they are becoming independent of rigid human control.
An extreme version of this are automated weapons systems that are being developed, or perhaps robotic surgeons which are also being developed. We are handing machines the power of life and death in both cases, what rules and safeguards should exist to control their decision making.
Scientists are increasingly investigating and debating the implications and ethics of these developments. It will be an increasingly significant factor in how technology develops.
There has been a great deal of debate about 5G networks. Some people contend that health risks posed by 5G. Social Media has been full of horror stories about this network. However, many years of studies have found no clear link between cell phones and cancers. Experts believe that 5G does not pose a threat. Real Science does not exist that supports claims of health dangers.
What we need to remember is that 5G is not just for telephones. It is a way of exchanging data over wireless connections at speeds ten times greater than existing technology. Without 5G, many of the other technologies in this list could not happen. A fast network is essential.
RFID (Radio-frequency identification devices). RFID is a way of quickly recognizing packages, components, people and animals. Using our automated warehouse as an example, RFID can be used for tracking where the few remaining staff are in the warehouse.
It can help robotic picking machines identify boxes and place them on conveyor belts. It can then follow the box as it is directed towards the correct truck, monitoring and adjusting stock figures as it goes.
There are already stores that are automated and where each product has an RFID label. Once the trolley reaches the exit, the system records all the products in the cart, without any need to unload them and scan them. The system then charges it to a credit card and then unlocks the door, so the customer can leave.
Many more applications for RFID are being considered, and this could become a profitable business to be in.
With changes in a climate no longer being a prediction for the future, but a reality today, many scientists have finally stepped up the research and development of ways to negate the damage we are doing. Over the next few years, increasing amounts of investment and activity will be directed towards this issue.
Many companies hold extensive inventories of numerous spare parts that are ordered individually or in minimal quantities. If these parts could be digitized and stored in a database, so that centers around the world could 3D print them to order.
This would save on the cost of stockholding, transport, and play a part in reducing the carbon footprint by not carrying spares around the world by air. There are numerous business models for utilizing this technology. All that is needed are ways of using different materials in the printing process.
Scientific research follows the money in most cases. And where there is a perceived opportunity to build a new business, there will be research.
So many technologies are now reaching a point where they can change society radically, and where new companies can be developed using that technology. It is an exciting time for science, and some significant developments are two, one or three years away.
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