5 Emerging Technologies Redefining the Future As We Know It

You could make the case that the old saying, “Time waits for no man” is even more true when it comes to technology. 

The technological advances people take for granted today were the stuff of fantasy as recently as 20 years ago. With that in mind, here are five technologies redefining the future as we know it.

Localized 3D-Printing Logistics Networks

Amazon pioneered the idea of two-day shipping. But imagine buying something and receiving it almost instantly. The global logistics industry is worth trillions, but it’s also slowly killing our earth. Transporting trinkets across the globe results also creates massively inefficient bottlenecks. Minor mishaps can create months-long delays for people to receive their goods. 

3D printing has been slowly revolutioning the manufacturing industry, but what about logistics? 3DOS is a startup utilizing its network of tens of thousands of 3D printers globally to create a localized logistics network. Meaning rather than having your products produced in China, then shipped to the U.S., you could receive them in minutes. If you have a 3D printer, you could simply print your own product, or a local manufacturer with access to the 3DOS network could print it a few miles away, then deliver the product to you within hours. 

Data Transmission Compaction & Bioinformatics

From satellites to the millions of computers around the world, data transmission is a massive global bottleneck. It might take researchers days to decompress millions to be able to analyze them for cancer or drug research. The Oxford University Press notes the “sequencing of patient genomes [produces] one quintillion bytes of data annually” and much of this will derive from studies of patients with cancer. Thus a large bottleneck is cancer research is the transfer and ability to analyze this data. 

Further, there are over 5 billion gigabytes of data stored on the internet, and data transmission is a part of every electronic on the market. How fast that data is transferred can be the difference between medical breakthroughs in years vs. decades.

Advancements in artificial intelligence are making these goals of data compaction a reality. Companies like AtomBeam claim to be able to compact data by up to 75% on ‘virtually any machine’ with their patented. The startup's customers include the United States Air Force and Saab, and partnerships with Lockheed Martin Corp, Inmarsat, Intel Corporation, and Cribl.

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Automated Restaurants

The self-ordering kiosks popping up at fast food restaurants are just the beginning. McDonald’s Corp. recently opened a completely automated restaurant in Texas, where customers pay and order through machines and get their meals prepared by robots. This is in addition to the sushi robots that are popping up all over Japan. 

The age of automated food service is upon us. Robot chefs, waiters and cashiers don’t call in sick, don’t have bad days and don’t try to sneak food out the back door. More importantly for restaurant owners, they don’t require payroll taxes or unemployment contributions. 

It’s only natural that restaurant owners and food service purveyors would jump at the chance to eliminate the human element. Blendid is a startup that aims to help restaurants do exactly that. Based in Sunnyvale, California, Blendid uses artificial intelligence (AI) to create fully-automated kiosks preparing fresh foods for some of the biggest brands in the world. With over $26 million raised from retail investors and 100,000 smoothies served, it’s clear this trend is here to stay. 

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Artificial intelligence, LLMs & Generative AI

As a technology already impacting the work lives of nearly every major corporation, no list would be complete without AI. The technology has already been mentioned, and continues to become an increasingly prominent part of people's everyday lives.

Automated trucks and other vehicles also are under development. Companies like Boston Dynamics have robotic dogs capable of performing police duties and human-like robots that can turn backflips.

AI already has hints of understanding emotion, and your marketing and ads are being run by AI. Platforms like RAD AI already built the world's first AI marketing platform built to understand emotion, and it’s being used by some of the largest companies in the world. Large Language Models (LLM) and Generative AI are continually shaping the way we interact with the world.

The impact AI can have on people’s lives is nearly limitless. Police departments are incorporating AI into facial recognition software at the same time that meteorologists are using it for more advanced weather modeling than anyone ever imagined possible. From cancer research to flipping burgers, AI is quickly changing everyones lives.

Meatless Meat 

The environmental fallout from large-scale cattle, poultry and pork farming is significant. Farming is not a pretty business and even when done responsibly, it creates potential hazards, including:

  • The transfer of zoonotic pathogens (bird flu and swine flu) from large poultry or pork farms
  • The intense amount of water required by large cattle farms
  • Methane production from cows on cattle farms

Beyond Meat Inc’s burgers and other meatless meats have made huge inroads to bridging the taste gap between the real thing and its more environmentally friendly substitutes, but they are only the beginning. 

Large-scale commercial fishing poses its own environmental problems, not the least of which is overfishing. Recently, the federal government canceled salmon season in California and Oregon in a move that comes on the heels of canceling Alaska’s snow crab season. This means there will soon be a market for high-quality meatless seafood, too. 

One startup, Current Foods, is making waves in this department. Its goal is not to make just a vegan seafood alternative but to make one of such high quality that it can replace seafood as we know it. Its current product line includes sushi-grade vegan tuna and smoked salmon. The tuna is being served at some of America’s highest-end sushi bars. 

As technology advances and production methods improve, makers of meat substitutes will come closer and closer to the real thing until perhaps one day, the difference between the two will be indistinguishable. The meat substitutes market will continue to grow as commercial farming and fishing become more expensive. That has the potential to change everything about the way food is put food on the table. 

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