The Rafael del Pino Foundation's Chair in Science and Society has identified in its INTEC 2023 report the ten emerging technologies in which Spain can position itself as a global innovation benchmark.
The study has been prepared by 11 experts from the scientific field -among them seven National Research Prizes-, and four from the business world, for which they have carried out important research work on technological innovation worldwide -including nearly 600 bibliographical references-, as well as analysis of the national economic, regulatory and social environment. All of this makes it a unique study in our country and, in this fourth edition, it has consolidated its position as a benchmark in technological foresight.
The presentation of INTEC 2023 opened with a speech by the Director General of the Rafael del Pino Foundation, Vicente Montes, which was followed by a debate moderated by Natalia Rodríguez (National Innovation Award 2023) in which the following experts took part Manuel de León, Andrés Pedreño, María José Alonso, Fernando Temprano y Francisco Marín. This was followed by a conversation between Eugenio Mallolcoordinator of the report, and Javier GarcíaThe Chair and the report's director, in which they reviewed the contents of this year's edition.
As he explains Javier García, Director of the Chair and of the Report, "The digital revolution is bringing about a change in the relationship between companies and their suppliers, customers and workers, and in the way they organise themselves. We are at a time of technological explosion, with great advances brought about by tools such as artificial intelligence, but if we analyse the adoption of essential technologies by the Spanish business fabric, we see that it is still really low. It is essential to make progress in this area in order to create a business fabric with high added value". García went on to point out that "in order to take advantage of the possibilities presented in the ten areas of innovation identified in this report, it is essential to promote a technological revolution based on a change of mindset and not just on the accumulation of tools". He added: "It's time for the brave".
The ten key emerging technologies for innovation in Spain according to INTEC 2023 are:
Generative AI in search of business models: has become the biggest mass ascription phenomenon since the birth of the internet. With a rate of improvement in mathematical model training speed of 94.4% since 2018 and a relative number of patents filed in 2021 that is 30 times that of 2015, it has enormous transformative potential. The economy needs to find business models and use cases that justify the uptake of generative AI. It also needs to improve the quality and availability of information, as well as in the area of cybersecurity and ethics, to become the lever for a paradigm shift in the human-machine relationship.
mRNA vaccines, the new paradigm: the potential of this technology for scientific research is enormous. Control of information is key to the development of technology-based vaccines. We need to support research by providing large and representative samples of data. INTEC 2023 points out that the extension of the new techniques will probably require a new mindset in government to be more open to collaborative environments and to review current models of time, budget, user and resource management. The vaccine research race cannot be a breeding ground for failure or the forced sale of ideas to large pharmaceutical corporations.
Second quantum revolution: will transform electronics and incorporate the possibilities opened up by the astonishing properties of recently discovered particles such as entanglement and superposition. Its impact makes this process of innovation a technological benchmark for a multitude of sectors such as optics, information transmission, precision sensors and security. Mastering this new scientific-technological world is one of the major challenges in terms of sovereignty and national security. Although many aspects are still pending before all these forecasts can become a reality, it is in this space of indeterminacy where there is room for the development of new proposals, research and the configuration of an attractive framework to position our country as one of the players in a world yet to be built.
Intelligent diagnostics: a good diagnosis is key to a patient's survival and quality of life. Thanks to advances in fields as disparate as genetics, photonics and AI, new smart diagnostic technologies have emerged that can identify patterns, perform image and clinical data analysis and provide fast, accurate and personalised recommendations to healthcare professionals. New diagnostic tools are being developed, such as smart lollipops to detect diseases from saliva samples and scalpels capable of identifying tumour cells in tissue samples. Enormous possibilities are opening up in this field for Spain to speak with its own voice in a medical field in which it is already a world leader.
The new face of nuclear energy: While campaigns to raise awareness of the risks associated with nuclear energy and waste management have forced the industry to step up its commitment to innovation, they must not become an impediment to the deployment of alternative solutions, the product of scientific and technological innovation, which society has been demanding. The race for small modular reactors (SMRs) could be of enormous geostrategic value in the future, with possible effects on the competitiveness of economies, and will make a decisive contribution to reducing CO2.
A technological shield for all-out cyberwarfare: there is a clear commitment from the technology community to develop more effective, sophisticated and sustainable solutions to protect our digital sphere from cybercrime. In addition, collaboration between governments, international organisations and businesses will enable the building of a more effective, sophisticated and sustainable environment to protect our digital sphere from cybercrime. online safer and more secure. With awareness, education and adoption of the latest technologies, we can forge a more resilient digital future, where our digital movements are conducted with confidence and security.
Reinventing the way we live: trends in environmental sustainability, imperatives for a smart home obliged to follow a renewed paradigm, converge with the proposals increasingly generated by the digital technology sector, committed to conceiving our living space in a connected ecosystem. Redesigning the house of the future is about using innovative technologies, materials and systems to improve our quality of life. Architects, engineers and innovators seek to create spaces that promote the physical, emotional and social well-being of residents, while ensuring high levels of privacy and security. A holistic approach to the construction and design of the house of the future seeks to address these aspects from a multidisciplinary point of view, taking advantage of advances in different areas.
Digital fire extinguishers: Extreme events associated with climate change are mobilising more and more resources and technological innovation. In forest fires, the great technologies of the digital revolution have been called upon to design prevention, detection, extinction and reforestation strategies. AI, supercomputing, drones, state-of-the-art sensors, robots and advanced connectivity systems have become indispensable tools in firefighting. Better identification of business models will also incentivise technology-based innovation to curb fires.
The heartbeat of 5G private networks: Industry 4.0 will need to incorporate 5G and 6G and Wi-Fi 6e and Wi-Fi 7 into its intelligent automation systems to develop the real-time economy. Currently, the lack of available spectrum means that innovation in technologies and use cases is left to a few players, while other countries are promoting a new sector by creating a much more favourable environment for private 5G networks. Bringing SMEs on board as demand drivers can foster the emergence of a home-grown sector in a key area of the technology revolution, and that means making access to private 5G networks more flexible.
The awakening of intelligence in textiles: In terms of innovation, the emergence of new functionalities in textiles opens up opportunities in areas such as health, connectivity, aesthetics and human well-being. Advances in nanotechnology, new energy generation and storage systems, and smart chemical compounds capable of reacting to and transmitting information about changes in the body or the environment will transform the very concept of clothing. In this challenge, innovation must facilitate the choice of higher quality and more durable garments to change an unsustainable shopping pattern.
The executive summary of the report INTEC 2023, ten technologies to boost Spain, can be downloaded in full here.
(*) The committee of scientific experts that has identified the ten emerging technologies in which Spain can position itself as a benchmark for innovation on a global level is made up of María José Alonso, Pablo Artal, María Blasco, Lina Gálvez, Laura Lechuga, Nuria Oliver, Manuel de León, Susana Marcos, María Ángeles Nieto, Andrés Pedreño, Héctor Perea, Emma Fernández, Javier Ventura-Traveset, Francisco Marín and Fernando Temprano.