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'Future tech' study to shape State spending decisions


The pace of technological innovation is driving significant disruption in all sectors

The pace of technological innovation is driving significant disruption in all sectors

The pace of technological innovation is driving significant disruption in all sectors

The Department of Jobs and Enterprise has set itself the task of predicting the direction technology will take for the next 20 years.

The outcomes of a planned study will be used to determine government funding priorities aimed at job creation.

The State organisation will this year conduct a "technology futures exercise" to identify which technologies will be critical to Ireland's economic and social development, and assess how they will evolve over a 20-year time frame out to 2035.

One of the aims of the exercise is to identify potentially disruptive technologies, and their likely timeline.

The transformation of the publishing sector or the experience of ride-sharing app Uber, which has turned the taxi sector upside down in several of the countries where it operates, have proved the power of technological advances to disrupt previously stable markets.

Banking is regularly identified by experts as another sector ripe for disruption in the coming years.

Financial technology innovations are predicted to erode activities such as foreign exchange, which have traditionally been lucrative for banks.

The Department of Jobs said the study was prompted as "the pace of technology innovation is accelerating and driving significant disruption in all sectors across the economy".

"Various types of future-orientated exercises are carried out by countries (for example the UK, Canada, Russia, Finland and international organisations such as European Commission and OECD) so as to provide useful insights on expectations around future technological change and its potential disruptive nature to economies and societies at large."

The study is one of three it will undertake this year ahead of 2017 deliberations on which subjects Ireland should priorities for research.

The deliberations will refresh 14 existing priority areas selected by the government in 2012, which included data analytics, food for health, marine renewable energy and medical devices. But the Department of Jobs said the findings will have wider implications too.

"While the immediate use of the output of this technology futures exercise will be to inform the next cycle of research prioritisation, it is also envisaged that the output will be used by a wide range of stakeholders and will feed into the wider policy making process," it said.

A draft final report on the technology futures exercise is due next April.

Sunday Indo Business