Emerging technologies are technologies that are perceived as capable of changing the status quo. These technologies are generally new but include older technologies that are still controversial and relatively undeveloped in potential, such as 3D printing, preimplantation genetic diagnosis and gene therapy which date to 1981, 1989 and 1990 respectively.
Emerging technologies are characterized by radical novelty, relatively fast growth, coherence, prominent impact, and uncertainty and ambiguity. In other words, an emerging technology can be defined as “a radically novel and relatively fast growing technology characterised by a certain degree of coherence persisting over time and with the potential to exert a considerable impact on the socio-economic domain(s) which is observed in terms of the composition of actors, institutions and patterns of interactions among those, along with the associated knowledge production processes.
Its most prominent impact, however, lies in the future and so in the emergence phase is still somewhat uncertain and ambiguous.”. Emerging technologies include a variety of technologies such as educational technology, information technology, nanotechnology, biotechnology, cognitive science, psychotechnology, robotics, and artificial intelligence.
New technological fields may result from the technological convergence of different systems evolving towards similar goals. Convergence brings previously separate technologies such as voice (and telephony features), data (and productivity applications) and video together so that they share resources and interact with each other, creating new efficiencies.
Emerging technologies are those technical innovations which represent progressive developments within a field for competitive advantage; converging technologies represent previously distinct fields which are in some way moving towards stronger inter-connection and similar goals. However, the opinion on the degree of the impact, status and economic viability of several emerging and converging technologies vary.
Over centuries, innovative methods and new technologies are developed and opened up. Some of these technologies are due to theoretical research, and others from commercial research and development.
Technological growth includes incremental developments and disruptive technologies. An example of the former was the gradual roll-out of DVD (digital video disc) as a development intended to follow on from the previous optical technology compact disc. By contrast, disruptive technologies are those where a new method replaces the previous technology and makes it redundant, for example, the replacement of horse-drawn carriages by automobiles.