The top three cutting-edge technologies with the potential to change the world over the coming decade are autonomous vehicles, natural language processing, and plastic recycling, the tech advisory firm Lux Research said in a recent report.
The Boston-based firm’s annual list of 12 key transformational technologies spans five industries: chemicals and materials, automotive, food and agriculture, electronics and information technology (IT), and energy. This year’s version, “Foresight 2021: Top Emerging Technologies to Watch,” begins with self-driving cars, pointing to improvements in safety and efficiency that will benefit both consumers and commercial operations by removing the need for a driver behind the wheel of Level 4 and Level 5 autonomous vehicles.
Lux’ analysts picked natural language processing (NLP) as the second top tech, saying that it powers devices like voice assistants, machine translation, and chatbots. And the number three entry was plastic recycling, which shows an increasing ability to convert waste into higher-value products, spurring innovative products from 155 startups in the past decade alone.
The list also had some notable absences, with fully half of last year’s entries missing from this year’s list. That shows how the innovation landscape has seen dynamic changes over the past year, such as the huge impact of the coronavirus pandemic and companies’ quick adoption of trends like 5G wireless networks, which have swiftly graduated from being seen as an “emerging” idea to an established concept, Lex said.
The fight against Covid-19 also pushed several new entries to rise up the list. “Technologies from our lists like digital biomarkers and AI-enabled sensors can help bring businesses back to work,” Michael Holman, Lux’ vice president of research and lead author of the report, said in a release. “But for all the changes that the pandemic has brought, the key megatrends shaping the future are still in force. Technologies that support these transitions, such as autonomous vehicles, alternative proteins, and green hydrogen, will maintain their momentum as a result.”
After the top three, the remainder of the list included: artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled sensors, bioinformatics, green hydrogen, shared mobility, alternative proteins, three-dimensional (3D) printing, materials informatics, precision agriculture, and synthetic biology.
Our new report, “Foresight 2021: Top Emerging Technologies to Watch,” identifies and ranks 12 key technologies that will reshape the world. Read our latest press release to learn more: https://t.co/LhPByKM9SY #LuxTake #innovation #news pic.twitter.com/NkeR8hOZou— Lux Research Inc. (@LuxResearch) November 19, 2020