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3M showcases top trends in science, technology, and design

Market news |
By Rich Pell


The platform – called 3M Futures – explores each topic alongside commentary and perspectives from 3M experts, scientists, engineers and designers at the forefront of their fields. 3M Futures also features data from global, third-party research conducted across 11 countries to understand perceptions of these top science, technology and design trends.

“Every day, 3Mers around the world are unlocking the next phase of what’s possible and exploring the latest trends in science and technology,” says Kevin Gilboe, head of 3M Design, International. “3M Futures is a great opportunity for us to showcase the broad ways 3M is helping to shape the future – developing, designing and engineering cutting-edge solutions within the most relevant global trends, while profiling the incredible talent across our company who are experts in their fields.”

The 3M Futures topics for 2022 are:

  • Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR): Mixed reality is already changing the way we live, work and entertain — the metaverse is poised to change our perceptions of reality.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI): How artificial intelligence and machine learning are revolutionizing everything from entertainment to business but require conversations about broader implications and ethics.
  • Sustainable Materials: The circular economy is introducing innovation in material science and design while disrupting industry, ushering in a more sustainable future.
  • The New Paradigm — A Pandemic Aware World: The pandemic has created a paradigm shift in how we interact. From telemedicine and health-conscious design to remote work, the new abnormal is here to stay.
  • Equity — Through Science and Technology: The greatest innovation comes from diverse thinkers. Equity, representation and equal access to science and technology learning, like minority representation and STEM in youth, are paramount to solving the challenges of today — and tomorrow.

The expert contributors chosen to participate include an array of 3M scientists, engineers, designers and other leaders at the forefront of their industries. From artificial intelligence to equity, says the company, each is passionate about their field and has a personal interest in broad applications of the relevant technology and science.

The 3M Futures Survey uncovers global perceptions of future technologies, with results from 11 countries: Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, UK, USA and South Korea. The survey uncovers what respondents believe future innovation should focus on across the globe and the ways they have – or have not – directly interacted with the technologies referenced across the five core trends.

Key findings include:

  • Science and technology – Public health, humanitarian crises, extreme weather crises, a cure for Alzheimer’s and ecological disasters are seen as the top problems to focus on over the next 5 years.
  • Mainstream Virtual Reality – Virtual reality is expected to be a normal part of our everyday lives sooner than other advancements, especially in gaming and entertainment.
  • AI interest and concerns – The survey results showed that while people are excited about AI, many are concerned about data privacy and want more transparency on how the technology is being used in society.
  • Sustainability: top environmental threats – Respondents feel single-use plastics are a bigger threat to the environment than fossil fuels and fast fashion.
  • Real life vs. tech. – In the shadow of the pandemic, tech-driven innovations are being met with some resistance as many are trying to decrease tech in their life and seek in-person socialization and hobbies.

Following its launch, says the company, 3M Futures will feature ongoing stories, VR demos and content throughout the year. Insights from the survey will inform exploration of future topics and content.

For more, see the 3M Futures Resource Center.

3M


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