A decade into the future may not seem too far into the future but with modern technology, technological advances are accelerating more rapidly than ever, incomparable to the rate of technological advancement of the past. In just a few years in the future new innovations may emerge, perhaps so much so that we are unable to adjust quickly enough to adapt to these changes.

This article will bring you 5 technologies that are currently being developed, which are hoped to create a new foundation for the world in the future, and is of interest to investors around the world. They are as follows:

1) Bioplastic

Around the world, more than 300 million tons of plastics are used worldwide each year, but less than 15% of that is recycled. The remainder will be disposed of by combustion (burning) or buried under mounds of landfill trash, which takes hundreds of years to decompose. The future that holds for this planet, if this trend is continued, is a world full of plastic waste.

However, fortunately, now people are becoming increasingly aware of the impact of plastic on the planet, hence changes have be made to usual modes of life. For example, supermarkets are making an effort to reduce plastic usage by no longer providing plastic bags. Although this is ideal for the environment, this has resulted in an inconvenience for consumers, hence why focus has been switched to the manufacturing of an environmentally-friendly alternative to plastic.

Bioplastic is a technology that synthesises plant-based components to make plastic substitutes that are either bio-based (derived from biomass, e.g. plants), biodegradable (able to be decomposed by naturally occurring bacteria), or features both properties. Its strength and durability are not comparable to traditional plastics, but it can be degraded much more quickly, and most importantly, it does not adversely affect the environment.

The impact of plastics on the world has reached a critical point. Once a new era where people pay more attention to nature has arrived, bioplastic will gradually become an integral part of reducing the creation of environmental pollution - truly a technology of the future world.

2) Artificial intelligence (AI) that better understands humans

The arrival of the smartphone has allowed our world to excel rapidly into the technological era of artificial intelligence (AI). Various functions such as facial recognition, fingerprint scanning, gesture and voice recognition has contributed greatly to the mass collection and storage of information in ‘Big Data’, which is a big driving force of the rapid development of AI.

In the present, AI is constantly evolving to the point where it develops and portrays abilities and skills that are very similar to humans, including the ability to process thoughts in order to solve a problem, and the ability to interact and communicate with humans.

Over the past 3-4 years, AI technology has experienced a huge leap forward, hence its increased usage in many fields. For example, it has been used in medicine for diagnosis; in engineering to develop autonomous vehicle systems; in industry to conduct industrial automation or even to create ‘Social Robots’ which are robots that have been especially designed to play the role of a human friend. They have been developed in a way by which have the ability to interact with humans and express emotions in a similar way that humans can.

Even though AI today has ample capabilities to perform well in many areas and fields, the development of AI still remains highly competitive, and constantly continues to develop. Who knows, perhaps in the future even higher order AI, that is as equally as capable and efficient as humans, may be introduced into this world, and when that time comes perhaps, they are able to perform tasks as efficiently as human colleagues and work partners.

3) Metalens

Metalens is a new lens technology that deals with lenses at a small scale, of only one micron thickness. It is an innovation designed to enhance the quality of lens-based electronic devices such as cameras, mobile phones, image sensors along with endoscopes used in medicine.

Typically, conventional, modern day lenses utilise the curvature of convex lenses in order to focus light onto a single point, hence its large size. On the other hand, Metalens, although they are of a smaller scale, are able to focus light onto a single point as effectively as an ordinary lens. This innovation could therefore be a revolution in various technical fields that depend on cameras.

Metalens is still in development, but in the future, this lens will surely play a very important role, especially in the medical field - the smaller an endoscope can be, the easier it can be used for treatment as more areas of the human body can be explored and diagnosis and treatment will also be much easier.

4) Synthetic meat

The United Nations has predicted that by 2050 the human population will increase to 9.8 billion people, and of course, the demand for food will also be greatly increased. Without an effective method of providing enough food for the world’s population, the world will be at risk of a food shortage crisis. Meat being a staple food, all around the world, it is expected that by 2050, it will be more than 70% more in demand than it is today.

Therefore, to prevent food shortage crises scientists are interested in creating ‘cultured meat’ which is synthesised by taking stem cells of the prototype animal and adding essential nutrients, before cultivating it in a bioreactor and allowing the meat to develop and grow.

The idea of this synthetic meat was first proposed in 2013 by a team of scientists from Maastricht University in the Netherlands. At that time, the cost of producing 1 kg of meat was US $478,993.

Despite receiving worldwide attention its high production cost meant that it was unable to be officially released as a product for sale.

This had been the case, until within these recent years, there have been a large number of technological startups regarding food; the area with greatest competition being synthetic meat production. Since 2013, the evolved methods of synthetic meat production meant that the cost of production has reduced. Most recently, the cost of production lies only at US $11 per 1 kg.

This has become a technology of hope for the future that may help tackle the global food shortage problem.

5) Safer nuclear reactors

Nuclear reactors are great sources of energy that generate several times more energy than an electric power plant. Furthermore, it produces relatively low pollution, but it carries a relatively high risk, as a slight accident can cause radioactive radiation to be emitted into the atmosphere and spread across a large area, causing damage the ecosystem.

In hope to reduce this risk, a new type of reactor was built. This type of reactor, known as a Small Modular Reactor (SMR), has a near zero chance of an accident occurring, and in the case of an emergency, the amount of radiation leaked can be suppressed thanks to a new installed security system that uses physics principles to control radiation leakage. The SMR is smaller than ordinary reactors; so small, in fact, that it can be transported by a truck. This is therefore convenient since the reactor can now be transported to remote areas where there is power shortage, improving the wellbeing of those living there.