An emerging technology (as distinguished from a conventional technology) is a field of technology which broaches new territory in some significant way, with new technological developments. Examples of currently emerging technologies comprise educational technology, nanotechnology, information technology, biotechnology, cognitive science, robotics and artificial intelligence.
New technological fields may result from technological convergence of unlike systems evolving towards similar goals. Convergence brings earlier separate technologies like data (and productivity applications), voice (and telephony features) and video together so that they share resources and interact with each other, creating new efficiencies.
Emerging technologies are those technical innovations which signify progressive developments within a field for competitive advantage; converging technologies signify previously distinct fields which are in some way moving towards stronger inter-connection and similar goals. Nevertheless, opinion on degree of impact, status as well as economic viability of several emerging and converging technologies varies.
History of emerging technologies:
In the history of technology, emerging technologies are contemporary advances in addition to innovation in various fields of technology. Over centuries, new technologies and innovative methods are developed and opened up. Several of these technologies are due to theoretical research plus others from commercial research and development.
Technological growth comprises incremental developments and disruptive technologies. An example of former was gradual roll-out of DVD as a development intended to follow on from previous optical technology Compact Disc. By contrast, disruptive technologies are those where a new method replaces previous technology also make it redundant for example: substitute of horse-drawn carriages by automobiles. This change continues into contemporary day.
Security, ethics and emerging technologies:
Scientific research has for decades travelled from lab to battlefield. During Cold War, United States and Soviet Union invested huge shares of their respective state budgets in research and development of new technologies for military, space and ocean exploration. Cold War may be over, but security - whether personal, national or cyber - continues to rely on developments from several industries and emerging technologies.
Emerging technologies like wearable electronics, nanotechnology, brain-computer interfaces, 3D printing and others, benefit from multidisciplinary approaches and cross-fertilization among disciplines. They are often prompted by partnerships between private and public sectors.
Governments as well as non-state actors are taking potential of emerging technologies seriously, especially as most of se technologies can be developed or transferred to military applications. Among these, I consider predictive analytics - practice of extracting information from existing data sets to determine patterns and predict future outcomes and trends - to become particularly relevant for security in near future.
Predictive analytics, typically used by financial services industry, is an area of data mining which captures relations between explanatory variables and predicted variables from past to predict outcomes and determine future forecasts and patterns. Even Smartphone's can be used for this purpose as y record immense data and indicators of our activities. With input of data and specialized machine learning algorithms, military could use predictive analytics to predict various security and military-related issues.
While desire to innovate leads emerging technologies to develop at a galloping pace, it is important to remember that y can lead to catastrophic results in absence of clear regulations, laws and ethical guidelines in relevant industries. This risk is increased by fact that, unlike in past, new technologies can be used by private individuals or non-state actors more easily.
For example, while brain-computer interfaces - possibility to interact with computers through thought alone - could benefit many patients, especially those paralysed by spinal cord injuries or neurodegenerative diseases, se technologies can have damaging repercussions in field of cyber security as hackers could easily find ways to access sensitive and critical data, hijack systems or manipulate devices.
There are or pressing ethical issues. Emerging technologies propose states more instruments also means for control and surveillance, often infringing on civil liberties. Balance between need to collect information and respect for privacy must be pursued more fervently.
Furthermore, possibilities laid out by emerging technologies - notably cognitive enhancement, biomedicine or synthetic biology - pose likely danger of trans-humanism, or radical physical and cognitive transformation. This threatens to alter very foundations of human nature, survival instincts that have been pivotal to our evolution and our social norms.
Although innovation has clearly changed also benefited our societies, it must be balanced with a real concern for human dignity, sustainability and security. Civil-society and Policy-makers institutions require to take this challenge seriously also articulate benchmarks for production and use of emerging technologies.