Is it a buzzword or a legitimate industry term? Let’s dive in.
What’s Emerging Tech?
Emerging means “newly formed”. Technology is the use of science in an industry to solve problems.
Wikipedia said, “Emerging technologies are technologies whose development, practical applications, or both are still largely unrealized, such that they are figuratively emerging into prominence from a background of nonexistence or obscurity.”
This gives us a rubric for analyzing what makes technology “emerging”, per se.
Meaning “still largely unrealized”. With that broad metric, almost any tech tools from the 21st century could be brought into this definition.
Within 5-20 years of being invented could be another such loosely applied rubric although, that would eliminate some of the niches covered on the site.
(Editor’s Note: We include large niches guiding the future that have been around a while.)
But, why use it? (Tech that is.)
And what do we do with it exactly?
Examples of “Emerging Technology” niches
- Cloud, Edge and Fog Computing and Internet of Technology (IoT) – It’s not just someone else’s computer anymore, it is now something else’s. This means every day objects like your appliances or even a streetlight will have elements of computing physically built-in.
- VR, AR, Mixed Reality and The Metaverse – “The medium is the message” as Marshall McLuhan would say. These new media tools, produce rich visceral content experiences that transcend our plane. These new worlds, now called the “Metaverse”, were called Mixed Reality (XR) prior.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) – What logic would Skynet run on? Meaning the code, software and tools for this. This begins to answer the question of what exactly allows computers to operate in scarily independent ways.
- The Maker Movement – So much of Technology is digital and software, but what about the chance to own and operate technology that makes other physical things? This is the promise of the maker movement which covers things like 3D Printing, CNC, Laser Cutting, and even Water Jets.
- Cryptocurrency and The Blockchain – These open-source, financial and social consensus technologies stretch far beyond money. Like the ability to “program” this Internet of money (through smart contracts) with values like truth, freedom, and open-access for all. Sure, sky’s the limit but this might even go beyond that.
Why Emerging Tech Matters
This isn’t asked nearly enough not just in the tech space but in general in life “out there”. This is a great pre-cursor question before taking action on your interests.
Consider these questions about the future:
- What will happen when information becomes connected and infinitely replicate-able? (Think: The Internet and World Wide Web (WWW)
- What will happen when 6+ billion people in the world begin to access this infinite web of data? (Think: Web 2 with Social Media)
- What will happen when those 6+ billion people begin to reclaim their freedom and liberties and collectively own this next generation of Technology? (Think: Web 3 with Cryptocurrencies and Blockchains)
One answer is almost for certain: massive exponential change for all of us.
5 Steps to Start Your Emerging Tech journey
- Consider niches and technology you like and note them down
- Make a list of common activities you do personally and/or professionally
- Ask yourself, Are there any problems to solve from that list? Write down your answers
- Consider what technology you already use and add these to the list above
- Research technology that can augment the activities you wrote down (e.g. Instructables, YouTube Videos)
When in doubt look at what technology use by others around you.
Excited to continue your learning? Great.
Here are some next steps to learn about Emerging Tech Mastery:
Check out our Emerging Technology Terms of the Trade Glossary (Coming Soon)