Nowadays, emerging technologies are part of our daily lives and they are gaining more and more importance. But what does it really mean to be an “emergent” technology? Often referred to as those new digital technologies which are being developed and their potential is being discovered, emerging technologies are characterised by fast growth, a prominent impact on the society and the economy, and they are a centrepiece of fostering innovation.
Given their novelty, emerging technologies present great benefits such as increasing productivity and work efficiency or enhancing citizens’ well-being through the opportunities brought by digital transformation, such as accessing digital public services or robust digital infrastructures. However, there is also a side-effect of emerging technologies, represented by their potential disruptive impact, in the case of human rights infringements or security breaches.
Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic that has marked recent years, the impact of new technologies in contributing to the redress of the economy and society has been decisive. In particular, young people and youth workers were already ready to embrace digital transition and to quickly adapt to the new reality of using technology to conduct their daily activities and usual work processes.
But what are some concrete types of emerging technologies and what is their involvement in people’s lives?
Internet of Things – IoT
Digital devices are now widely used and oftentimes they are interconnected – smartphones, smartwatches, fitness applications or tracking and monitoring systems create a strongly interlinked digital ecosystem, which is increasingly used by young people.
AI and algorithms
Through the interaction of Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms, young people receive personalised content on their social media feeds, they get ranked for job applications or they get assessed for credit worthiness.
Industrial robots in both physical and virtual form are being used in work processes and the next generation of young people who are entering the labour market need to stay connected to the actual job opportunities, to focus on creative and intellectually stimulating tasks and to be prepared for the future of work.
Virtual Reality (VR)
The immersive and increasingly realistic type of emerging technology is not only used in the gaming industry, but the advancement of VR makes it possible to be used in areas such as education, tourism or healthcare.
Smart Cities & Communities
For the better delivery of digital public services, communities and young people could benefit from the advantages of using digital transformation applications and tools within smart cities.
Internet connections offer a whole range of opportunities to young people and youth workers, from being actively engaged in the community, to disseminating information and resources, to accessing training, exchange or learning programs.