Exploring R&D, companies, and markets behind The Economist’s “22 emerging technologies to watch 2022″​

The “emerging technologies” report from The Economist

There are dozens of trends reports every year. Technologies to watch, design trends, etc.

Marshall Kirkpatrick has done the painstaking work of collecting and organizing a huge set of such reports for 2022. You can get Marshall’s overview here, for free.

One of my favorite reports in Marshall’s overview is from The Economist. It’s titled, “What’s next? 22 emerging technologies to watch in 2022”.

I like The Economist’s report because it is very concrete and tangible. For every one of their 22 technologies, it is clear what they mean. Heat pumps, for example, or hydrogen-powered aircraft–one has a clear idea of what these things are.

At Mergeflow, we decided to use The Economist’s report as a jumping-off-board for a little analysis. The Economist discussed the following 22 technologies:

3D-printed bone implants
3D-printed houses
Artificial meat and fish
Brain interfaces
Container ships with sails
Delivery drones
Direct air capture
Flying electric taxis
Heat pumps
Hydrogen-powered planes
Personalized nutrition
Quantum computing
Quieter supersonic aircraft
Sleep tech
Solar geoengineering
Space tourism
The metaverse
Vaccines for HIV and malaria
Vertical farming
Virtual influencers
VR workouts
Wearable health trackers
The Economist’s “22 emerging technologies to watch for 2022”.

For each of these 22 technologies, we used our analytics software to discover related R&D, companies, patents, and news.

Interactive overview charts

First, we created interactive charts for all technologies. All data are from Mergeflow’s API. Click on the image below to explore the data.

The Economist emerging technologies 2022 dashboard. All data from Mergeflow's API.
The Economist emerging technologies 2022 dashboard. All data from Mergeflow’s API.

Snapshots of original R&D and business data

Next, in addition to the overview charts, we compiled snapshots of original data, for each technology. These snapshots are interactive, and you can access some of the underlying original documents. They look like this:

An R&D and business data snapshot from Mergeflow, on “direct air capture”.

All 22 emerging technology snapshots are available here, in the data snapshots section of our report.

Related article: Carbon removal and capture: What happened over the last year?


I would like to thank Marshall Kirkpatrick for his great overview, and The Exponential View for bringing it to my attention.

The article in The Economist doesn’t name the contributors. It does say that it’s the science and technology correspondents of The Economist. So I’d like to thank the correspondents and editors I could find, for their great article: Gilead Amit, Tamzin Booth, Geoffrey Carr, Tim Cross, Hal Hodson, Alok Jha, Ludwig Siegele, Alexandra Suich Bass.

Featured image by Gerard Ferrandez, @ge1doot.

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