Top Emerging Technologies in 2024: We live in a digital era today, and embracing digitalisation is no longer a choice; it’s a necessity. With the advent of new digital trends and technologies and their rapid advancements, we are evolving at an unprecedented pace, heralding a new era of development. These emerging technologies are poised to transform industries, address global challenges, and improve lives worldwide.

The World Economic Forum, in collaboration with Frontiers, has unveiled 10 groundbreaking technologies that have the “potential impact of addressing multiple global challenges, from advancements in materials science to transformative technologies in healthcare,” as noted in a WEF press release.

“It also spotlights technologies with immense potential for revolutionizing connectivity, addressing the urgent challenges of climate change and driving innovation across various fields,” Jeremy Jurgens, managing director, of the World Economic Forum and head of the Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, stated in the release.

From enhancing scientific discovery to protecting data privacy, improving communication infrastructure, and delivering more sustainable and effective solutions, here are the top 10 emerging technologies of 2024 that have the potential to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges and shape our future.

1. AI for scientific discovery:

Source: WEF

While artificial intelligence (AI) has been used in research for many years, recent advances in deep learning, generative AI, and foundation models are transforming the scientific discovery process. It will enable researchers to establish unprecedented connections and advances in understanding diseases, proposing new materials, and enhancing knowledge of the human body and mind. This leap in AI capability is expected to accelerate scientific discoveries, making research processes more efficient and far-reaching.

2. Privacy-enhancing technologies:

Source: WEF

Festive offer

As data becomes increasingly integral to research and business, ‘synthetic data’ is set to transform how information is handled. It is artificially generated based on algorithms and can mimic real-world data. By facilitating new opportunities for global data sharing and collaboration and protecting personal privacy. It can drive significant advancements in medical research and other fields requiring sensitive data.

3. Reconfigurable intelligent surfaces:

Source: WEF

Ordinary walls and surfaces are being transformed into intelligent components for wireless communication through reconfigurable intelligent surfaces (RIS). These surfaces can enhance signal strength and energy efficiency in wireless networks, offering substantial benefits, from smart factories, where RIS can improve communication between machines, leading to more efficient manufacturing processes, to vehicular networks, where they can enhance connectivity and safety, thereby making wireless communication infrastructure more adaptable and efficient.

4. High-altitude platform stations:


High-altitude platform stations (HAPS) can offer a promising solution for expanding mobile network access in remote and underserved regions. It can be deployed in aircraft, blimps, or balloons, potentially providing internet connectivity and communication services in remote and underserved areas. By leveraging HAPS technology, bridging the digital divide and connecting the estimated 2.6 billion people globally is possible.

5. Integrated sensing and communication:


The advent of 6G networks has enabled simultaneous data collection (sensing) and transmission (communication), enabling environmental monitoring systems in smart agriculture, environmental conservation, and urban planning, with a promise to reduce energy consumption and silicon use, making them more sustainable.

6. Immersive technology for the built world:


Virtual and augmented reality, combined with enhanced computing power, are revolutionizing the infrastructure and daily systems. Immersive technology allows designers and construction professionals to visualize, and ensure physical model corresponds with digital blueprints correspond with each other precisely, in addition to ensuring accuracy and safety and advancing sustainability.

7. Elastocalorics:


As global temperatures rise, the demand for efficient cooling solutions becomes increasingly urgent. Elastocalorics, a sustainable alternative to traditional cooling technologies, release and absorb heat under mechanical stress. It has higher efficiency and lower energy use.

8. Carbon-capturing microbes:


Carbon-capturing organisms are engineered microbes that can convert carbon or industrial emissions into useful substances like biofuels, which will reduce greenhouse gas levels, thereby representing a breakthrough in mitigating climate change.

9. Alternative livestock feeds:


The agricultural industry faces significant sustainability challenges, particularly in livestock farming. Alternative livestock feeds, sourced from single-cell proteins, algae, and food waste, could offer a sustainable solution for the agricultural industry. By adopting it, the industry can move towards more sustainable practices, ensuring food security while minimizing ecological footprints.

10. Genomics for transplants:


The successful implantation of genetically engineered organs into humans marks a significant advancement in healthcare, potentially increasing the availability of viable organs and improving outcomes for transplant recipients. This breakthrough offers hope to millions of patients awaiting transplants and can be tailored to reduce the risk of rejection and improve compatibility.