There’s an impressive number of new technologies shaping the future of tech, culture, digital transformation initiatives and geopolitics.
This article takes a look at some of the most popular emerging technologies, including 3D printing, mixed reality, IoT (internet of things), machine learning and blockchain.
Read on to learn more about what these technologies are, the intersections and relationships between them, and how they affect the socio-economic landscape.
1. 3D Printing
3D printing is fast becoming one of the most lucrative innovations of this time, and it’s easy to see how crucial it will be for the future of manufacturing.
The technology allows you to print everything from novelty objects to spacecraft engines, prosthetic limbs and much more.
Although the technology has been around for decades, it has only lately been readily accessible. Now, companies can manufacture at scale. They can enjoy faster builds at less expensive prices. There’s less waste and more customizability. The benefits are truly endless.
Thalita Ferraz from popular fashion blog HerBones.com explains, “One of the biggest problems I had when I started my own ecommerce brand was getting products I had envisioned into production. After diving deep into understanding 3D printing, I now use it to create bracelets, earrings, rings and more that I sell directly to my social media followers”.
There are even smaller 3D printers available at a fraction of the cost of industrial-sized alternatives. They are great for smaller do-it-yourself projects or individuals looking to design and build their own 3D-printed works of art.
Better yet, it’s never been easier for beginners to get started in the world of 3D printing. There are countless tutorials and lessons and the world’s leading online course platforms. Just create an account and find the course that’s right for you. Many are tailored around specific 3D printers or niche design groups.
2. Mixed Reality
Mixed reality blends elements of both virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to give you a unique experience in which digital content is overlaid onto a real or computerized environment.
It’s worth noting that this is different from a pure metaverse like Meta or Decentraland.
Where a metaverse is a fully VR universe, mixed reality does not create a new reality for the user to enter. Instead, virtual elements are overlaid on top of the real world to augment it in a way that helps the viewer interact with the real world in a way that would otherwise have been impossible.
The main applications of this type of technology lies in architecture, engineering and gaming. For example, mixed reality technology allows products to be previewed and customized, thereby improving productivity for those in the business sector.
It also offers new market possibilities by allowing creators to see their products before they are built.
Mixed reality tech can also help those in the health sector. For instance, surgeons can use AR to get additional information when operating on patients, including the patient’s heartbeat, blood pressure and virtual x-rays.
But perhaps most importantly, mixed reality can be used to provide students with a framework to help them develop skills such as flight simulation, medical and military training, etc. without real-world consequences that come with failure in these fields.
3. IoT (Internet of Things)
The IoT is an expansive network of devices that are all connected to the internet to facilitate the devices’ intercommunication. This technology is changing many aspects of our lives, ranging from work to play and everywhere in between.
It helps to bridge the gap between physical and digital spheres, and with billions of IoT devices deployed right now, it’s easy to see why this technology is so important for the future.
For example, you might have a situation where your alarm goes off in the morning, prompting your coffee maker to start a fresh brew before your self-driving car gets to your door to pick you up and deliver you to the office, where the smart thermostat on your phone controls the temperature so that it’s perfectly suited to you when you get there.
This type of technology will not only make things easier by connecting more things to other things, but it will also create stronger relationships between things and people, as well as people and other people, making our lives so much more efficient and effective.
Take a look at the image below which showcases the possibilities of connected devices:
Although many of these things are still a long way off, here are a few examples of applications of IoT technology to improve different aspects of our lives:
- When closed, smart buildings will turn utilities off and turn them back on whenever needed.
- Smart street lights will turn off when there’s no traffic coming through.
- Smart infrastructure will let you detect faults or deterioration in buildings.
- Driverless cars will connect to smart traffic sensors to find the most efficient routes.
- Smart grids will efficiently use and distribute energy throughout the city.
This technology is great for businesses of all shapes and sizes. From large enterprises looking to integrate IoT into the multi-national workflow or even small cleaning businesses looking to integrate IoT cleaning devices into their daily routine to spend up cleaning processes and increase ROI.
4. Blockchain Technology
Blockchain refers to the application of distributed ledger technology. This smart innovation has taken over the world and caused major disruption in all industries worldwide.
First developed through its initial application, Bitcoin, which disrupted the banking industry on a wide scale, blockchain served to establish a trustless economy through its cryptographic components that were also decentralized.
It also removed the need for traditional third-party financial transactions through features such as decentralization, transparency and security.
Thanks to blockchain technology, financial transactions can be a lot more secure while reducing expensive fees charged by banks. Users can now enjoy faster transactions free from the control and risks of a single point of authority.
In fact, many industry-leading website builders are now integrated to accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as payment. Others allow Web-3 integrations, NFTs marketplace hosting and access to blockchain-based social media, gaming, gambling and more.
But, this technology does so much more than just benefit financial services. It also improves deficits and inefficiencies in a wide range of other industries by allowing you to place physical and intangible assets, including copyrights, commodities, land ownership rights, etc. onto the blockchain for easier transferability and secure proof of ownership.
5. Machine Learning
Machine learning is all about the technologies and algorithms that allow systems to identify patterns and make decisions so they can improve themselves through experience.
According to some experts, machine learning will soon allow AI systems to outperform humans in the majority of menial tasks.
Whether or not this means that machine learning will lead to a loss of jobs is yet to be seen. But, what’s clear is that this technology will help users in a wide range of ways, including the following:
- Self-driving cars and automated transportation
- Intelligent gaming where systems analyze the moves of the best players.
- Taking over dangerous jobs, such as bomb disposal
- Home security and smart homes
- Streamlined logistics and distribution
There you have it: five of the most disruptive technologies that are shaping the future. Some of these innovations may be almost imperceptible, but others are making huge waves that we can’t help but notice. You can expect both good and bad outcomes, depending on their application.
Are you already using any of these innovative technologies in your business? Let us know!