top of page
  • Robert Stines

Emerging Disruptive Technologies

Are you curious about possible types of emerging technology? Imperial Tech Forsight (which is affiliated with Imperial College London) has created a periodic table of future technology.

As reported by Jake Kanter at Business Insider, the table above was the brain child of Richard Watson and Anna Cupani.

  • The green elements represent technology that already exists for every day use such as Cryptocurrency (Cr) and Autonomous Vehicles (Av).

  • The ones in yellow are possible in the very near future - Smart Energy Grids (Se) and Internet of DNA (Me).

  • The technology in red are possible in the distant future, but maybe as soon as 20 years. This future technology includes Implantable Phones (Ip) and Smart Glassess & Contact Lenses (Sg).

Watson and Cupani also provide examples of organizations active in each area. Of course, the usual suspects are developing many of the listed items.

Google/Alphabet is involved in technologies such as Balloon Powered Internet (Bi), Computerized Shoes & Clothing (Cc), Airborne Wind Turbines (Wt), Delivery Robots & Passenger Drones (Ro), and Self Writing Software (Sw).

Amazon is involved in similar technology, including Conversational Machine Interfaces (Ci) and Internet of DNA (Me).

Surprisingly, the table did not name any companies involved in Life-expectancy Algorithms (Le). For obvious reasons, I expected life insurance companies to fund the development of this kind of technology. Sure enough, after a quick search on Google, there are reports of a company beta-testing life expectancy prediction through the use of artificial intelligence to track the “age” of our body systems to derive a more meaningful prediction of our biological age, and thus our lifespan.

As expected, much of future tech relies on the Internet. It will be interesting to see how regulation of the Internet develops when scientist upload all human DNA to cyberspace, and smart glasses use facial recognition software to instantly download social media posts, job history, criminal background, and the credit score of people we meet.

Watson and Cupani caution that the table is a mixture of prediction and provocation intended to stimulate debate, and we should consider the wider psychological and regulatory landscape in which technologies exist. Ethics and legal scholars need to enter this debate in the early development stages of emerging technology rather than react to the inevitable impact.

To see the entire table, click here.


bottom of page