As we move further into the 2020s, it feels as though our sights are set firmly on the future. Technology and human innovation are reaching such a high point that it is growing increasingly easy for us to envisage a world far removed from the one we know so well – so here are just a few of those breakthrough innovations that promise to usher in a new, transformed world in the coming years.
The first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, was introduced to the world wide web more than a decade ago, way back in 2009. At that point, it was greeted by widespread scepticism from internet users, but managed to create for itself a growing niche in which to evolve.
Now, the internet is awash with cryptocurrencies, and millions of users around the world are utilising these decentralised currencies. Recent fluctuations in market value have seen an outpouring of renewed interest in Bitcoin – even from those who, just a few years ago, considered cryptocurrency to represent an impenetrable and complex world.
2. Artificial Intelligence
We are growing increasingly accustomed to encountering AI in our daily lives – to the point where, much of the time, we hardly even notice we are interacting with it. From the Smart devices in our homes to the mechanics behind social media algorithms – not to mention in the world of business – AI is sure to be one of the driving forces behind innovation and change in the coming years.
3. The Self-Retaining Surgical Retractor
Surgeons have been utilising retractors – devices which hold back the edges of an incision to ensure better access and visibility – since the earliest days of surgery, but they have always posed a number of problems of their own. Most notably, positioning and adjusting these devices has proven difficult, particularly when the surgeon’s hands are full, and often require the help of additional personnel – something which is, in an ideal world, avoided during surgery.
Now, the surgical retractor has been reinvented by the team at June Medical, who have redesigned it to hold itself in position, and enable minute adjustments that require only one of the surgeon’s hands – thus eliminating the need for an assistant to make adjustments on their behalf.
This is already changing the face of surgery around the world, and enabling surgeons to perform safer procedures with fewer personnel in attendance.
4. Non-Fungible Tokens
If you thought cryptocurrency was a tricky subject, wait until you hear more about the new wave of interest pouring into the concept of non-fungible tokens.
NFTs are, in essence, unique and irreplaceable tokens – like digital artwork or music. Of course, the first question on everyone’s minds is how these tokens are considered unique, when digital reproductions can be made faster than the blink of an eye.
The wave on interest driving NFTs is the concept of original ownership – like the difference between owning a print of the Mona Lisa, and owning the real thing.
Already, it is making waves online, with musician Grimes selling around $6 million worth of NFTs so far. Time will tell how much this filters into our day to day internet usage, but itsclear that this technology will continue to develop in the future.
5. The Fifth Generation Mobile Network
5G is gradually making its way into cities around the world, and although the roll out is slower than many of us would like, it is clear that we are getting ever closer to a time when high speed, low latency mobile connectivity is available, and ready to transform the ways in which we lead our day to day lives.
There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the next few years will see considerable changes that will, inevitably, ripple out into the future and change life for good.