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14 Headline-Grabbing Tech Developments That May Soon Face Setbacks

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For the past few years, the impending widespread deployment of 5G has garnered headlines, with tech experts extolling the many ways it would improve and enhance both business operations and consumer technology. However, the rollout of 5G hit a snag recently as airlines expressed safety concerns regarding its implementation around airports. While industry experts are still bullish on 5G’s future, there’s no doubt this setback has come with costs, both in terms of economics and public confidence.

And 5G isn’t the only cutting-edge technology that has caught the attention of both experts and the general public. From blockchain to self-driving cars, certain high-profile tech developments may have a steep hill to climb before business and consumer marketplaces fully embrace them. Below, members of Forbes Technology Council share some headline-grabbing tech developments that may hit a snag before they really hit the big time, and why.

1. Blockchain

Blockchain technology has the potential to significantly impact society. However, businesses that use blockchain for handling transactions and ensuring authenticity may be in for a big problem. Governments have not fully embraced the technology, and there could be laws created to prevent its use (or make it harder). Performance is also a risk in that blockchain transactions can be slow. – Bruce Kornfeld, StorMagic

2. ‘Data-Hungry’ Technology

Artificial intelligence, blockchain, consumer electronics, social platforms, advertising tracking and personalization based on geolocation and user behavior, and every other data-hungry technology will soon face major social, economic, legal and ethical concerns and setbacks. The bigger the implications, the bigger the resistance, which will slow adoption. Governments are realizing the big sovereignty issues data-driven tech represents and will act accordingly. – Claudio Chifa, DLTCode / Correcta

3. Artificial Intelligence
The widespread implementation of AI affects many sectors, from cybersecurity and fintech solutions to the automotive industry. And all of these industries could potentially face regulation obstacles or unfavorable public perception. So it’s essential to aim for the highest level of transparency. What can help? An informative dialogue among tech spokespeople, nongovernmental organizations, academics and legislators. – Tom Okman, Nord Security

4. Healthcare AI

The use of AI in healthcare is an area I am tracking. While there are processes in place to determine the safety impacts of AI technology in healthcare, there are no real processes to test for its efficacy. I believe that AI can and will transform healthcare. However, if the industry is flooded with experimental, low-impact solutions, there will be a fast erosion of trust in AI’s usefulness, which will greatly stall its adoption. – Stacey Shulman, Intel Corporation

5. Robotic Surgery
With remote robotic surgical technology working over low-latency connections, a surgeon can operate on patients thousands of miles away. However, there is a need for standby surgeons to take over the procedure if communication fails, which defeats the purpose of having procedures done remotely. Additionally, there are regulatory and legal hurdles to performing surgeries across countries. – Ritesh Mukherjee, Inseego

6. Neuroscience
Neuroscience will face headwinds in the years to come. Certain developments in neuroscience fields—including near-cortex technology and prosthetics, enhanced humans, mental health treatment through devices, and manipulation of brain cells—will introduce ethical, safety and legislative discussions. Companies should define lobby committees and advisory groups with regulatory and governing bodies. – Spiros Liolis, Micro Focus

7. Autonomous Vehicles And Urban Delivery Drones
There is the risk that fully autonomous vehicles could be hacked and used by terrorists. The consequences of a cybersecurity breach here could be deadly. And while delivery drones are sometimes touted as “the next big thing,” they’d quickly turn into noisy nuisances in densely populated areas. It’s more likely that they’ll be used in remote areas where there are real accessibility challenges. – Ruchi Goyal, Accenture

8. The Metaverse
The metaverse is still a nascent idea, but already organizations are trying to stake their claim and declare victory. What we see now will not be where it ends up, whether that’s down to a new startup gaining public acceptance over established players or a decentralized version with more user privacy. The concerns of the current internet are compounded by a virtual presence, so expect it to be a while. – Luke Wallace, Bottle Rocket

9. The Internet Of Things
The IoT is positioned to be a big winner in the race to implement 5G throughout the country. With 5G hitting a significant snag in implementation, it’s easy to see that IoT will also stall out in parallel. However, with both 5G and IoT promising significant value, it’s only a matter of time before both these technologies find widespread acceptance. – Marc Fischer, Dogtown Media LLC

10. Digital Advertising
Online advertising is going to get increasingly complicated. Third-party cookies, the gold standard for more than a decade, are going to fade away because consumers are increasingly aware of the privacy issues they represent. Apple is taking an important step in addressing privacy concerns with its App Tracking Transparency framework. It’s going to be interesting to see whether ad-supported businesses can adapt. – Venky Balasubramanian, Plivo

11. Decentralized Finance
DeFi, which offers financial instruments without relying on intermediaries by using smart contracts on a blockchain, is going full speed ahead. And it offers many opportunities for leaders to solve major challenges. Today, DeFi and traditional finance are operating on parallel rails; however, these rails will soon cross. Reconciling technology, regulations and business models will be a challenging process. – Olga V. Mack, Parley Pro

12. Crypto
Blockchain is currently being undermined by nonfungible tokens. The whole point of blockchain was to create a more secure form of cryptocurrency that was decentralized and that would reduce the potential for fraud or financial disruption. NFTs use the technology but are wasting valuable environmental resources and creating a pyramid scheme for buyers and sellers. – Arnie Gordon, Arlyn Scales

13. Quantum Computing

Quantum computing is just plain hard and very expensive. We may simply see delays in making it economically viable. But more important is quantum computing’s potential to be a game-changer when it comes to international security. The ability for quantum to create (or break) complex security ciphers may lead to heavy government regulation. – Kevin Parikh, Avasant

14. Starlink

Starlink, which provides satellite-enabled global, low-latency broadband internet, is going to be interesting. While it can provide some amazing benefits to developing countries, it is also interfering with astronomy research, and it seems to be having a few issues. Only time will tell if it turns out to be a benefit or hindrance to our advancement. – Laureen Knudsen, Broadcom

Originally published on Forbes. 


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