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In today’s world, we often hear about exponential growth. Perhaps you’ve seen one of the many videos on YouTube explaining the impact of social media, the anticipated growth in population across the globe, the evolution of the education system and job market, or the fast-changing world of technology.

Certainly we can speculate and conjecture about projected numbers and percentages, but sometimes with everything that is going on around the world, it’s hard to get a firm grasp on exactly what is happening. It has often been said that technology can change the world, but with some of the forthcoming advancements, that may be a truer statement than we could have ever imagined.

Certainly, there is both skepticism and concern surrounding the coming technologies. How will they impact the job market? Will they be intrusive or destructive? Will some of these new items come into common household use?

These questions and others are not easily answered. Sometimes there is a demerit greater than or equal to every merit that could come out of new developments. However, our understanding of the world we live in is only going to increase, and more rapidly than ever before.

Here are three fascinating and emerging technologies that could bring about significant change to the world we know.

Robotic Surgery

Robots are now aiding surgical procedures. Robotically-assisted surgery was developed to enhance the capabilities of surgeons performing open surgery by helping them overcome the limitations of minimally invasive surgery.

Depending on the situation, the robotic devices are controlled by computers or telemanipulators. This could allow for the possibility of remote surgery (from anywhere in the world), and as you can imagine, robotically-assisted surgery could be leveraged for added efficiency and precision, helping to reduce the risk of tissue trauma in surgical patients[1].

As scientists continue to make tweaks and improvements to robotic surgical devices, the practical application of such technology could be far-reaching, aiding in a variety of surgical procedures.

Electric Cars

Electric cars are propelled by one or more electric motors. They use electrical energy stored in batteries or another energy storage device. Electric motors supply automobiles with instant torque, giving them smooth and robust acceleration. The electric car concept has actually been around for a long time (they enjoyed some popularity between the late 19th century and early 20th century), but there have been some pretty major breakthroughs in recent history[2]

Chances are good that you’ve already heard about Tesla Motors, created by Elon Musk, one of the founders of PayPal. Their cars are 100% electric, and they don’t use hydrogen. Tesla doesn’t make hybrid cars either.

Contrast that with Chevrolet’s hybrid electric car, the Volt. According to their website, it is quite fuel-efficient with drivers averaging 900 miles between fill-ups. However, you can only drive gas-free for an estimated 38 miles. The Volt uses both electrical power and gas to run[3].

How about Tesla’s electric cars? Tesla’s Model S can go roughly 230 to 300 miles on a single charge, depending on the battery (there is a 60 kWh and 85 kWh option). It’s pretty amazing what Tesla has been able to accomplish (what others have not been able to do) with electric cars so far[4].

The forthcoming developments in automotive and electric car technology will definitely be one to watch.

3D Printers

3D printing is the process of making a solid, three-dimensional object out of a digital model. Virtually any shape is possible, and where most traditional machining techniques rely on a subtractive process, 3D printing uses an additive process.

3D printing technology is used for prototyping and distributed manufacturing in many sectors including architecture, automotive, military, dental, medical, jewelry and food among many others. 3D printing has the potential to become a mass market item as it would allow consumers to offset costs associated with common household goods[5].

Because of how powerful this technology is, the powers that be (whether government or business) may very well limit the civilian use of 3D printing in everyday situations. They might put such a high price on it that only the wealthy can actually afford it. Either way, it’s a very fascinating development that is sure to have an impact on the world we know.