We meet six young innovators who are leading the way in using their skills and talent to shape the future of technology.
America’s Microsoft, Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon, as well as China’s Alibaba and Tencent, have touched the lives of countless millions. Hard on the heels of these titans of the tech world – which were virtually unheard of just three decades ago – are Uber, WeWork and Airbnb. These companies offer services from ride-hailing to office accommodation, and are growing fast thanks to cloud computing, smartphones, social media, low interest rates and huge customer bases.
The core technologies behind these giants range from information technology and the industrial Internet of Things to robotics, digitalisation, artificial intelligence and 3D printing. These have enabled a further wave of creative innovations in entirely new spheres, such as medicine, energy and agriculture.
There have also been step-change improvements in existing products – for example, from the simple ‘brick’ mobile phone to the sophisticated smartphone – which in turn have opened an avenue for the creation of countless apps and online streaming services and drawn in new customers. Faster services at lower cost have flowed from this, permeating society and meeting the Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of innovation as “making changes to something established”.