A list of The 2012 Top Ten Most Important Technologies was released by the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Emerging Technologies. It highlights technology trends most likely to impact on the state of the world in the near future.
The list was deveopled by a panel of experts from science, businesses and public policy, led by Council Chair Professor Sang Yup Lee, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), and Editor-in-Chief of the Biotechnology Journal. Lee explained that “accelerating progress in science and technology has stimulated a new age of discovery, and many of the technologies identified by the council are critical to building a sustainable and resilient future.”
Regarding job creation through emerging technologies, Council Vice-Chair Javier Garcia Martinez, University of Alicante, Spain, said, “There are no generally applicable shortcuts in the path that goes from emerging technologies to new industries and job creation. This path includes sufficient and sustained funding leaving enough incentive to the founders and real focus on scale, reliability, and safety.”
- Informatics for Adding Value to Information
The organization, mining and processing of information holds the key to identifying only relevant information and enabling the growing wealth of global information to be used to address emerging challenges.
- Synthetic Biology and Metabolic Engineering
Enabling the development of new biological processes and organisms that are designed to serve specific purposes such as converting biomass to chemicals, fuels and materials, or producing new therapeutic drugs.
- Green Revolution 2.0 – Technologies for Increased Food and Biomass
Artificial fertilizers hold the promise of further increasing crop production yields, minimizing environmental impact, reducing energy and water dependence, and decreasing the carbon footprint.
- Nanoscale Design of Materials
Nanostructured materials with tailored properties are already showing novel and unique features that will usher in the next clean energy revolution, reduce our dependence on depleting natural resources, and increase atom-efficiency manufacturing and processing.
- Systems Biology and Computational Modeling/Simulation of Chemical and Biological Systems
This is playing an increasingly important role in designing therapeutics, materials and processes that are highly efficient in achieving their design goals, while minimally impacting on human health and the environment.
- Utilization of Carbon Dioxide as a Resource
Novel catalysts, based on nanostructured materials, can potentially transform carbon dioxide to high value hydrocarbons and other carbon-containing molecules, that could be used as new building blocks for the chemical industry as cleaner and more sustainable alternatives to petrochemicals.
- Wireless Power
Emerging approaches to wireless power transmission will free electrical devices from having to be physically plugged in, and are poised to have as significant an impact on personal electronics as Wi-Fi had on Internet use.
- High Energy Density Power Systems
A number of emerging technologies are coming together to lay the foundation for advanced electrical energy storage and use, including the development of nanostructured electrodes, solid electrolysis, and rapid-power delivery from novel supercapacitors based on carbon-based nanomaterials.
- Personalized Medicine, Nutrition and Disease Prevention
Advances in areas such as genomics, proteomics and metabolomics are now opening up the possibility of tailoring medicine nutrition and disease prevention to the individual.
- Enhanced Education Technology
Personalized IT-based approaches to education are emerging that allow learner-centred education, critical thinking development and creativity. Rapid developments in social media, open courseware and ubiquitous access to the Internet are facilitating outside classroom and continuous education.
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