Technological progress is nothing new. It has indeed taken place at every level of society. But which are the top trends that drive change?
Technological progress is nothing new. It has indeed taken place at virtually every level of society and throughout the economies of the world. But which are the top trends that drive change in the European Union? The European Parliamentary Research Service set out to explore the top technological trends that could change the lives of European citizens. Here is what they found:
1. Autonomous Vehicles
The term “autonomous vehicle” (Avs) refers to a range of vehicles, which operate either on the ground or in the air and the sea. The technology for creating autonomous vehicles is so developed now that the EU is working on the infrastructure required to facilitate its further deployment.
In particular, the “V-Charge Consortium” collaborates with the EU on exploring the ways in which autonomous vehicle technology can be integrated with existing parting infrastructure to produce “driverless parking systems”. The latter should be accessible via existing personal electronic devices like smartphones.
Graphene is the first 2D nano-material produced by scientists. One of its applications includes the creation of potentially ultra-light and resistant composite materials that may eventually replace steel. As the European Parliamentary Research Service explained, the material is also extremely electrically and thermally conductive, and highly elastic.
“There is significant potential for graphene to be used in high-speed electronics and optic circuits, photo-voltaic cells, biosensors, and in developing more sophisticated catalyzing and filtering solutions for the chemical industry.“, as the research stated.
3. 3D printing
Perhaps, 3D printing is one of the technologies that may spark a new industrial revolution. It is an additive manufacturing technology for making three-dimensional objects of almost any shape using a digital model. The technology has already been used in a number of sectors like prototyping, jewelry manufacturing, as well as the aerospace industries.
4. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)
The emergence of MOOCs is expected to change the way we deliver and perceive education nowadays. MOOC is being associated with educational courses accessed by participants online by using personal computers.
While MOOCs is not a technology in itself, it combines existing forms of highly innovative communication technologies such as social media, among others.
“A clear impact of MOOCs has been significant cost reductions for education, widening access to sections of the population who might not have previously availed of higher education.“, according to the study.
In addition, MOOC could probably increase the employability of students and work professional, who have increased access to free education.
5. Virtual Currencies
Virtual currencies could possibly give rise to a new form of economy. Virtual currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum rely on records of transactions noted in an anonymous online ledger called “blockchain”. In this way, there is no need for third-party verification of transactions, a function performed by traditional banks.
Assessing the impacts of virtual currencies, the EU Research services says that transaction costs of making payments for goods and services should decrease dramatically if virtual currencies are more widely used.
However, the issue of security should also be considered by policy-makers. For instance, the use of Bitcoins could create the possibility of fraud and other criminal activities.
“This is because users can only be identified by unique numbers in comparison to existing bank customers who are typically identified through fixed details such as names, dates of birth, addresses, etc.”, as the analysis pointed out.
The list of life-changing technologies continues with 6) wearable technologies, 7) drones, 8) aquaponic systems, 9) smart home technologies, and 10) electricity storage (hydrogen).
The full report is available here.