Top 10 emerging technologies 2020: What opportunities will they unlock, what risks will they potentially pose

An international steering group of experts convened by Scientific American and the World Economic Forum examined more than 75 nominated technologies to choose the top 10 emerging technologies in 2020. The group looks at technologies that have the potential to stimulate progress in societies and economies by outperforming established ways of doing things. Such technologies should further be novel and not currently in wide use, yet they should also be likely to have a major impact within the next three to five years. The group pinpointed the ten technologies for their potential to positively transform society and industry, namely: microneedles for painless injections and tests, sun-powered chemistry, virtual patients, spatial computing, digital medicine, electric aviation, lower-carbon cement, quantum sensing, green hydrogen, and whole-genome synthesis. According to the report, while ‘virtual clinical trials could be a reality for testing new vaccines and therapies, other technologies on the list could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by electrifying air travel and enabling sunlight to directly power the production of industrial chemicals.’