Every day, technology appears to advance at a faster rate. Some of these advancements are almost undetectable. Some technologies, on the other hand, are causing such profound alterations that we can’t help but notice them.
Emerging Disruptive Technologies
The five most disruptive technologies are listed below. From work to leisure, they are altering every part of our life.
We’ve all seen sci-fi movies about AIs threatening to overthrow humanity and take control after growing their own minds, but that’s not the case in reality. Artificial intelligence (AI) has been around for decades. It’s now employed in a variety of applications, including video games, fraud detection, and email spam detection.
AI has a self-executing and practical use. It’s now evolving at a faster rate than ever before, thanks to a slew of new applications that help people live better lives and businesses run more smoothly. These AI need to collect data from search history, things purchased, or even overheard conversations in order to learn more about you in order to create better, more accurate choices for you. Autonomous vehicles (AVs) have been in development for a long time, especially in terms of larger advances. Google, for example, is already developing an algorithm that will allow an AI to learn to drive via experience, just like humans.
There are several options for incorporating AI into existing healthcare systems. Connecting an AI to an amputee’s brain to improve communication and control of the associated prosthesis is one of the most profound applications of AI in healthcare. While future AI applications are expected to make our lives easier and more efficient, others are concerned about not only our dependency on technology but also the number of jobs that will be lost to people. However, not everyone sees the future of this business as “people versus. AI,” but rather as “humans and AI working together to create a better us and a better planet.”
Blockchain is a distributed ledger technological application that has taken the globe by storm in recent years. It has the potential to disrupt almost every industry on the planet. Blockchain was created as a strategy to disrupt the banking system, where ledgers are by definition extremely centralised within a single bank or consortium of banks, through its first application, Bitcoin.
Because of its cryptographic and decentralised components, blockchain was able to develop a trustless economy, eliminating the requirement for third parties in traditional financial transactions. The three main characteristics of blockchain are:
These three elements were designed to increase the security of financial transactions while lowering the fees paid by greedy institutions. The idea was to enable speedier transactions that were free of control and the hazards associated with having a single point of authority.
However, Blockchain technology has evolved into much more than a financial services solution. The same qualities that are reducing financial services industry deficits have the potential to reduce inefficiencies in a variety of other industries. Not only has blockchain-enabled us to digitise money, which isn’t a new concept, but it has also enabled us to deposit both physical and intangible assets like copyrights, commodities, and land ownership rights into the blockchain for safe proof of ownership and quicker transferability.
3D printing technology is swiftly solidifying its place in the future of the industry, from producing novelty products to hearing aids, prosthetic limbs, and even spaceship engines. Since the 1980s, 3D printing has been around. It has, nevertheless, become increasingly available in recent years. It’s now transforming the way we make things on a large scale. Faster, cheaper, and less wasteful builds are among the many advantages of this technology. It is also very customizable.
Prosthetics are an example of a 3D printing application that has previously proven to be successful. The ability to print prostheses not only lowers the cost by thousands of dollars but also allows the prosthesis to be customised to fit the individual user with extreme precision. The aviation sector, particularly Singapore Airlines Engineering Company, which has worked with Stratasys, is looking into the future benefits of manufacturing utilising 3D printers. Singapore Airlines is considering establishing a facility to investigate the advantages of producing aeroplane parts.
By 2024, the combined VR/AR market is estimated to reach $300 billion. Within the entertainment sector, these technologies are becoming increasingly prevalent. They’re assisting in the blurring of the actual and digital worlds. AR/VR has allowed for substantially more interactivity in the video game industry. The massive popularity of Pokemon Go, possibly the most well-known AR application, has shown that regular people are willing and ready to use it.
While VR and AR are most known for their ability to take the entertainment business to new heights, they also have applications in healthcare, tourism, education, architectural design, sports, and other industries. The development of VR, AR, and MR (mixed reality), combined with existing technologies, is projected to cause a shift in the construction sector, allowing architects and 3D designers to better comprehend and design their projects while exhibiting them to customers and shareholders in real-time. Construction will become more efficient as a result of combining VR with software such as BIM and big data practices, which will allow for more precise evaluations of the build by modelling behaviours.
Internet of Things
The internet of things (IoT) is a vast network of “things” or gadgets connected to the internet, allowing them to communicate with one another. Another technology that will help to bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds is the Internet of Things (IoT). By the end of 2021, there were roughly 31 billion IoT devices in use, and that figure is likely to continue to rise. Although the ability to link gadgets to the internet isn’t new, we’re now connecting more “things” than ever before.
New relationships will emerge between things and other things, things and people, and people and other people as a result of the Internet of Things, all with the goal of making our lives easier, more efficient, and effective. On a larger scale, IoT will play a vital role in transforming us into smart cities. IoT will make our cities more efficient, cost-effective, and safer places to live with the help of sensors.
Our Digital Future
Emerging disruptive technologies (EDTs) are projected to revolutionise military capabilities, strategy, and operations in the future. General M. M. Naravane, the head of the Indian Army, urged the country’s armed services to “pay enough attention to the available disruptive technologies that have dual-use and are driven by commercial entities and innovations,” emphasising the necessity for their adaptation to the “Indian context.” As part of this effort, India’s major defence technology supplier, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), is said to have established a commission tasked with improving its efficiency by reappraising its 57 laboratories and decreasing technological overlap.
Disruptive Technologies, Militaria and NATO
Artificial intelligence (AI), autonomous weapons systems, big data, biotechnologies, and quantum technologies are transforming the globe including NATO’s operations. For NATO and the Allies, these and other emerging and disruptive technologies (EDT) pose both hazards and opportunities. As a result, NATO is collaborating with public and private sector partners, academia, and civil society to develop and deploy new technologies, build the Allied industrial base, and retain NATO’s technological edge.
- Innovative technologies are giving NATO military new options, allowing them to become more effective, resilient, cost-effective, and long-lasting. These technologies, on the other hand, pose new military and civilian risks from both state and non-state actors.
- NATO is working with Allies to build innovative and agile EDT policies that can be implemented through actual, meaningful activities in order to take advantage of these opportunities while also countering these dangers. NATO intends to preserve its technological edge and military dominance by collaborating more closely with relevant partners in academia and the commercial sector, assisting in the deterrence of aggression and the defence of Allied countries.
- Emerging and disruptive technologies are also a crucial component of the NATO 2030 project, which aims to enhance NATO militarily, politically, and take a more global perspective. NATO 2030 aims to ensure that the Alliance is prepared to tackle the challenges of the future. A crucial component of that activity is promoting transatlantic cooperation on critical technologies.
NATO Leaders agreed on an Emerging and Disruptive Technology Implementation Roadmap at their December 2019 meeting in London. The goal of this roadmap is to assist NATO in organising its work across important technology domains, allowing Allies to think about the implications of these technologies for deterrence and defence, as well as capabilities development.
NATO Defense Ministers approved the “Foster and Protect NATO’s Coherent Implementation Strategy on Emerging and Disruptive Technologies” in February 2021. This strategy directs NATO’s adoption and adaptation of EDTs, with two main goals: fostering the development of dual-use technologies (i.e., technologies that can be used in both civilian and military contexts) that will strengthen the Alliance’s edge, and providing a forum for Allies to share best practices for defending against threats.
NATO’s innovation activities currently focus on seven key areas, which were identified as priorities in the Coherent Implementation Strategy:
- artificial intelligence (AI),
- data and computing,
- quantum-enabled technologies,
- biotechnology and human enhancements,
- hypersonic technologies, and
Starting with AI and data, the Alliance is formulating concrete strategies for each of these sectors, which will be implemented by Allies and NATO’s Innovation Board. NATO Defense Ministers approved the first of these policies, the NATO Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy, in October 2021. The AI Strategy focuses on the concepts of responsible AI use in defence and how to put them into practice. It also lays out how the Alliance would implement AI capabilities and safeguard Allied citizens from their misuse.
NATO Leaders agreed to establish a civil-military Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA) at the Brussels Summit in 2021 to foster transatlantic cooperation on critical technologies, promote interoperability, and harness civilian innovation by engaging academia and the private sector, including start-ups. DIANA will oversee a database of reliable financial sources, as well as an accelerator programme and test centres around the Alliance.
NATO leaders also agreed to create a NATO Innovation Fund, to which allies can opt-in to contribute. The fund will invest in start-ups developing dual-use emerging and disruptive technologies in sectors where Allied security is vital. 17 Allies launched this multinational endeavour at a meeting of NATO Defense Ministers in October 2021, and it will be operational by the 2022 NATO Summit in Madrid.
NATO Advisory Group on Emerging and Disruptive Technologies
The NATO Advisory Group on Emerging and Disruptive Technologies is an independent body that advises NATO on ways to improve its innovation initiatives from the outside. The Group, which was formed in July 2020, is made up of 12 specialists from the corporate industry and academia who have led cutting-edge research, formulated EDT policy, and managed innovation programmes across the Alliance. The NATO Innovation Board receives proposals from these specialists.
NATO’s Innovation Board
The Deputy Secretary-General chairs NATO’s Innovation Board, which brings together high-level civilian and military leadership from across the Alliance. The Board’s mission is to examine innovative ideas from outside NATO, spark debate, encourage the adoption of best practices, and secure cross-NATO support for measures that will help NATO innovate. The NATO Advisory Group on Emerging and Disruptive Technologies has made recommendations in this regard.
NATO’s focus on EDTs is inextricably tied to collaboration with public and private sector partners, as well as academia and civil society. Given that many EDT defence applications are developed by or in collaboration with the private sector, engaging with businesses – particularly start-ups – is critical.
Emerging Disruptive Technologies in the Chinese Realm
China is determined to build a new generation of military technology that will outperform those of the US and transform the dynamics of conflict in China’s favour. While Beijing’s innovation policy includes absorbing Western technology, it also emphasises artificial intelligence, unmanned weapons systems, and directed-energy weaponry as areas of disruption. China’s expertise in quantum technology will offer it an advantage in offensive intelligence operations and encryption. China’s geopolitical and combat options will be enhanced by advanced weaponry systems.
China could be ready to seize the technological innovation initiative in the military. Beijing is pursuing an innovation-driven development strategy to restructure its economy and modernise its military. Xi Jinping emphasised the country’s aim to become a “science and technology giant” during the 19th Party Congress in October 2017. He has recently urged for breakthroughs in artificial intelligence (AI) and highlighted quick, revolutionary discoveries in AI and quantum research in recent statements.
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) clearly sees such strategic technologies as critical to the country’s future economic and military capacities. Beijing is actively pursuing military innovation, with the goal of enhancing the country’s future fighting capacity by exploiting emerging technologies. The PLA has prioritised breakthroughs in unmanned (i.e., uninhabited) systems, directed-energy weapons, artificial intelligence (AI), and quantum technologies, and it intends to use a series of scientific and technology plans as well as a national policy of military-civil fusion to achieve these goals.
Our understanding of Chinese defence science and technology is challenged by the PRC’s approach to early breakthroughs in military innovation in emerging technologies. Beijing’s “deliberate, state-sponsored” industrial espionage campaign, which uses both legal and illegal tactics to acquire foreign technologies, has been essential in the country’s recent military modernization. In this area, the PRC’s innovation has remained highly reliant on the “absorption” of foreign innovations. Although it would be reductionist to label China a mere copycat, it has long been evident that the Chinese approach to “indigenous innovation” has been oxymoronic, with a strategy centred on “introduction, digestion, absorption, and re-invention.”
This paradigm, on the other hand, does not adequately explain the PRC’s current military breakthroughs in the context of certain developing technologies, which indicate that Chinese military innovation has reached a key crossroads.
While we can only speculate on what our future may entail, we can see that the options appear to be limitless. And we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of what’s possible. With so much of our lives relying on developing technology, we must be conscious of the risks posed by so much of our data being housed in opaque, private company databases, in which non-transparent AI algorithms are trained. A digital, networked society increases the likelihood of a single attack having far-reaching consequences. There are many different perspectives on technology’s future and how it will affect our lives. Some claim technology will propel us into the future, increasing production, allowing us to live longer, and increasing efficiencies. Others see these technologies’ rise as a destructive trigger that will shatter civilization as we know it.