2020 vision: 3 things that could change the world

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As we embark on a brand new decade, attention has shifted towards predictions of what will change in this era. What technological advancements could really change the world and the way we live and work? We have pulled together this list of the three most important technologies to transform the world in 2020 and beyond.

1. A revolution for our roads

There’s a revolution taking place on our roads, with both electric cars and self-driving vehicles growing at a remarkable rate. The quest to reduce emissions has accelerated manufacturing and use of electric vehicles and the Government has even announced that by 2040 the sale of new diesel and petrol cars will be banned. In September 2019, it also announced a fund package worth £400 million was going towards boosting the electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the UK.

As revealed in a recent report, driverless cars are set to transform the motoring industry in the UK. From the economic benefits this is set to have through to the potential safety bonuses, this is exciting news. The Government estimates that it is on track for there to be fully self-driving vehicles on the roads in the UK by 2021 – meaning we’ll all start seeing them sooner rather than later. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has predicted that, as a result, the driverless car industry will create 420,000 new jobs and the UK economy will feel the benefits of £62 billion as a result.

2. The advanced recycling of plastics

It took David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II‘s powerful episode focusing on the harmful effects of plastic in our oceans for the masses to gain a deeper understanding of the issue. This prime time Sunday evening show in 2017 enlightened a larger audience and enabled them to see just how much our plastic obsession is affecting the planet – and there has since been a demand for change.

But what’s being done about this crisis? The case may have been proven, but the 2020s are when measures will be taken to act on the groundswell of public opinion. Advanced plastic recycling technologies have been, and continue to be, developed to reduce the scale of this issue. Lux Research placed plastic recycling at the number three spot of its ‘Top 20 Transformational Technologies for 2020’.

Charles Willard, Research Associate for Lux,  commented:”Regulations like single-use plastic bans and waste reduction commitments from brands are shaking up the plastics value chain. Plastic waste recycling is becoming mission-critical for companies from CPGs to chemicals.”

Innovations such as pyrolysis and chemical recycling can convert plastic waste into a number of valuable products to be used – and these are set to be used at a large scale in the next decade.

3. 5G networks

A 5G network won’t just load your Netflix options quicker, or help you flick from Facebook to Instagram and back without a loading screen, this wireless technology is going to be revolutionary. For instance, the driverless cars we’ve spoken about will only fully make it onto the nation’s roads with the implementation of 5G.

This technology could transform what is possible in the world of medicine, for example, by enabling remote and robotic surgery. Not only this, but it will heighten the virtual reality experience and increase the capabilities of drones.

Quite simply, 5G is a tech enabler, making it probably the most valuable technological advancement of 2020 as it will unlock the potential of innovations that had only just begun to show their value in the last decade. In fact, 5G networks topped Lux Research’s top 20 list for 2020 because it’s set to be so transformational this year, and beyond.

These three things could quite literally change the world as we know it. From reversing the effects of plastic pollution and emissions on the planet and revolutionising medicine, to transforming the way we think about travel, this really is set to be a decade of change.

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