10 promising innovations that will change our world

From monitoring human emotions to destroying cancer cells

The world has seen a quantum leap in technology over the past decade. From the boom of smartphones and tablets to 3D printing, artificial intelligence and the blockchain. As the saying goes, these technologies are here to stay and have not only generated a hype or two, but have permanently changed our everyday lives and the way we work. These 10 innovations have the potential to shape our future.

The world has seen a quantum leap in technology over the last decade. Innovations like smartphones and tablets to 3D printing to artificial intelligence and the blockchain have been with us. As the saying goes, these technologies are here to stay and have not only generated the odd hype, but have permanently changed our everyday lives and the way we work.

Will the speed of this development decrease? I hardly think so, rather the opposite. In the next decade, we can also expect breakthroughs that we can’t even imagine today.

Here are 10 innovations that have the potential to shape our future:

1. Emotional Artificial Intelligence

The real idea behind artificial intelligence (AI) is to emulate human-like capabilities. From Google Maps to social media to vacuum cleaner robots. We encounter AI everywhere. Emotional Artificial Intelligence (or Affective AI) goes a step further, collecting data from faces, voices, and body languages to measure human emotions. For example, the MIT Media Lab is developing a wearable device to determine a person’s mood by monitoring their heartbeat. The device then emits different scents depending on the user’s mood. If the user is anxious or stressed, the increase in heartbeats will cause the device to emit a scent such as lavender to reduce anxiety.

2. Self driving cars

Self-driving cars are nothing new and have been on our roads for some time. But future advancements will enable fully autonomous cars and may lead to one of the most significant changes in our daily lives. Tesla already has a complex autopilot mode that can take over some control functions, but one day automakers hope to let us drive completely hands-free.

3. New mobility innovations such as hyperfast trains

Hyperloop, a company backed by Elon Musk, is already working on an underground high-speed transport system that is currently being tested in America. The route from New York to Washington D.C. is expected to take just 29 minutes instead of 2 hours 56 minutes.

Hyperfast trains could thus revolutionize not only local public transport but also international travel. Flying cars are another possibility. There are already many interesting designs of flying cars that show that this future is a realistic possibility.

4. Smart Homes

For me personally, electronic devices and lights have already been controlled intelligently and by voice for some time. Assistants like Alexa are already making life easier for many households. But in the future, smart home technologies will take on much more advanced and multifunctional forms. For example, researchers are working on a program that detects when you wake up and helps you with your morning routine, such as adjusting the room temperature and automatically activating the coffee maker. Technologies that work simultaneously can be more helpful than systems that do only one of these things at a time.

5. Gene predictions

Today, genetics and genomics are rapidly evolving. Genetic predictions can revolutionize the way medicine works. In the future, health predictions can be made depending on a person’s genome. Diseases such as heart disease or diabetes can be predicted, allowing for faster treatment. This development can pave the way for personalized medicine.

6. Microchips and Human Augmentation

With tiny chips, biology and technology are merging. Several thousand Germans already wear a microchip under their skin to make everyday life more convenient, for example. Medical or personal data, for example, can be stored on such implants.

The role-playing game “Cyberpunk 2077” takes players into a world in which advances in medicine and robotics have led to people augmenting as a matter of course to become more than human.

Even though we still live far from such normality, the use of biotonic limbs is nothing new with us today either. In addition, researchers are also looking at how backs or eyes can be augmented in the future. One example would be eSight, which gives blind people the chance to see again.

Robotic exoskeletons are already being used by the military to give soldiers additional strength and abilities to make their jobs easier. In the future, such capabilities may also help disabled people move around more easily.

7. Nanorobotics

A robot, of minimal size in the micro and nanometer range, used in medicine is nanorobotics. They will be used, among other things, to place drugs in the right place in the eye in the future or to be used to destroy and detect cancer cells and toxins. They can also be used to repair busy organs or perform complicated surgical procedures, which would mean less time in the hospital, shorter recovery times and also fewer scars.

8. Robotics

The progress in the field of robotics is enormous. NASA is already sending robots of various shapes and sizes into space, and robots are also taking over more and more tedious, annoying and dangerous tasks in the workplace or at home doing chores. Boston Dynamics is constantly working on machines to assist the military and just a few months ago put its new robotic dog up for sale, which caused quite a stir.

9. Printed food

Technology is revolutionizing food, too. As 3D printing technology advances, companies are already experimenting with printing food. Meat is being grown in the lab with no added antibiotics or growth hormones and could be available as early as 2021.

10. Green technology

In the face of global warming, environmental and resource problems, green tech could be the solution. Electricity can be generated from wastewater or waste materials, and new technologies could convert discarded plastic into material for paving roads and sidewalks.

Many countries intend to focus on green technology, with countries such as Denmark, Israel and Sweden leading the way.

Britta Daffner ist seit über einem Jahrzehnt in der Technologie- und Daten-Industrie zu Hause. Ihr Credo: Innovation und Digitalisierung von Unternehmen vorantreiben – durch Technologie und moderne Führung. Dafür befähigt sie als Practice Leader Data & Technology Transformation in IBM Firmen dabei, das volle Potential aus Daten zu nutzen und unterstützt als Coach Macher*innen, die in der Konzern- und Wirtschaftswelt etwas verändern wollen. 2021 erschien zudem ihr Buch „Die Disruptions-DNA“ (www.disruptionsdna.de), das dazu inspiriert, die Digitale Transformation aktiv mitzugestalten.

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