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DNV GL PUBLISHES LATEST TECHNOLOGY FORECAST

Tuesday, December 3, 2019 

A new report from DNV GL, the global risk management and quality assurance company, has identified the ten technology trends, and their associated risks, that will shape industry and society in the coming decade. The rapid advancement of digitalization is behind many of the trends, profoundly challenging our personal and societal assumptions.

The relationship between humans and technology is switching, with humans increasingly augmenting the decisions of artificial intelligence, rather than the other way around.  For example, in the next decade there will be a greater proliferation of autonomous vehicles, whilst energy production and transmission will increasingly become the domain of algorithms rather than people.

The next ten years will also be defined as an era of precision, particularly in healthcare, food, and materials science.  Agriculture and aquaculture will look toward robotics in combination with IoT-based and machine learning technologies to optimize crops and seafood at reduced cost.  Additionally, increasingly precise sensor data will help the food industry meet expectations from consumers for insight into the entire value chain for individual products. 

Traditional business models will be disrupted. Space, which was once reserved for state players, will continue to be transformed by private enterprises, who are driving down costs, for example through reusable launchers, enabled by advances in computing and manufacturing.  The scope of Big Tech will widen as data becomes an increasingly important commodity, putting it toe-to-toe (and sometimes in partnership) with Big Pharma, for example. 

Remi Eriksen, Group President and CEO of DNV GL, said, “In an era where unicorns and mega-tech companies already seemingly appear overnight, what does the next decade hold for us? That technology development is accelerating is a given, but its digitalized, non-linear trajectory and global scale is hard for individuals to comprehend.

"DNV GL’s Technology Outlook 2030 is focusing on five technology trends that are transformative in key industries: transport and logistics, energy, health care, and food. The industry that is possibly seeing the biggest change in the coming decade is health care. The human body is being analysed and described at levels of detail never previously possible and the rate of growth in data over the next five years is faster than in any other industry. Precision medicine and personalized treatments could vastly reduce nations’ cost of health care and improve the health of patients, who should also have control over their data.”

As digital technologies transform multiple industries, the risk picture is changing. Current assurance methods focus on physical and business process risks, but there is an urgent need for industries to properly identify, understand and manage emerging digital risks.

Underperforming sensors, communication and algorithms, unintentionally (cyber safety) or deliberately manipulated (cyber security), are the principal sources of the new risks.  In addition, there is the increasing complexity of software systems, multiplied in uncertainty by machine learning and AI-based systems. 

The digital transformation also opens new trust gaps in industries like food, health and manufacturing, in which a previously entirely physical-based business is augmented and eventually replaced by a digital business. Data on food nutrients and allergens, data on patients’ health conditions, and data on products to be additively manufactured need to be verified and secured.

Despite holding the potential to deliver a ‘technological bliss’, the Technology Outlook 2030 says that the next decade is in danger of being characterized by missed opportunities, particularly our inability to address climate change and inequality.  However, the keys are in ours hands to prevent negative outcomes, and with the correct regulatory framework, technology can greatly help to address humanity’s fundamental challenges.

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