10 promising innovations that will change our world

From monitoring human emotions to destroying cancer cells

The world has witnessed a huge technological leap in the last decade. From the rise of smartphones and tablets to 3D printing, artificial intelligence and blockchain. As the saying goes, these technologies are here to stay and have not only generated the occasional stir, but have permanently changed our daily lives and the way we work. These 10 innovations have the potential to shape our future.

The world has witnessed a great technological leap in the last decade. Innovations such as smartphones and tablets, 3D printing, artificial intelligence and blockchain have been with us. As the saying goes, these technologies are here to stay and have not only generated the occasional stir, but have permanently changed our daily lives and the way we work.

Will the speed of this development slow down? I don’t think so – quite the contrary. In the next decade, we can also expect advances that we cannot 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 networks to robot vacuum cleaners. We find AI everywhere. Emotional Artificial Intelligence (or Affective AI) goes one 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 that determines a person’s mood by monitoring their heartbeat. The device then emits different smells depending on the wearer’s mood. If the wearer is anxious or stressed, the increased heartbeat will cause the device to emit a lavender-like scent to reduce anxiety.

2. Self driving cars

Self-driving cars are nothing new and have been on our roads for some time. But future developments 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 someday 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 a high-speed subway transportation system that is currently being tested in the United States. The journey from New York to Washington D.C. is expected to take just 29 minutes instead of 2 hours and 56 minutes.

Thus, hyper-fast trains could revolutionize not only local public transportation, but also international travel. Flying cars are another possibility. There are already many interesting designs for flying cars that demonstrate that this future is a realistic possibility.

4. Smart Homes

Personally, electronic devices and lights have long since been controlled intelligently and by voice. 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 may be more useful than systems that only do one of these things at a time.

5. Gene predictions

Today, genetics and genomics are evolving rapidly. Genetic predictions can revolutionize the way medicine works. In the future, it will be possible to make health predictions based on a person’s genome. Diseases such as heart disease or diabetes can be predicted, allowing faster treatment. This advance could 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 their daily lives more comfortable, for example. Medical or personal data can be stored in these implants, for example.

The role-playing game “Cyberpunk 2077” transports players to a world in which advances in medicine and robotics have led people to augment themselves as normal to become more than human.

Although we still live far from that normalcy, the use of biotonic limbs is also nothing new among us today. In addition, researchers are also studying how backs or eyes can be augmented in the future. One example would be eSight, which gives blind people the ability to see again.

The military already uses robotic exoskeletons to give soldiers additional strength and capabilities to facilitate their work. In the future, these capabilities could also help disabled people get around more easily.

7. Nanorobotics

A robot, of minimal size in the micro- and nanometer range, used in medicine is nanorobotics. In the future they will be used, among other things, to place drugs in the right place in the eye or to destroy and detect cancer cells and toxins. They can also be used for repairing occupied organs or performing complicated surgical interventions, which would mean less time in the hospital, shorter recovery times and also less scarring.

8. Robotics

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

9. Printed food

Technology is also revolutionizing food. As 3D printing technology advances, companies are already experimenting with food printing. Meat is being grown in the lab without added antibiotics or growth hormones, and could be available as early as 2021.

10. Green technology

In the face of global warming and environmental and resource problems, green technology could be the solution. Electricity can be generated from wastewater or waste materials, and new technologies could turn 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.

As the "Head of Data Strategy & Data Culture" at O2 Telefónica, Britta champions data-driven business transformation. She is also the founder of "dy.no," a platform dedicated to empowering change-makers in the corporate and business sectors. Before her current role, Britta established an Artificial Intelligence department at IBM, where she spearheaded the implementation of AI programs for various corporations. She is the author of "The Disruption DNA" (2021), a book that motivates individuals to take an active role in digital transformation.

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