SURF Tech Trends 2023: report on trends for education and research

Which technological trends are relevant for Education and Research?
On Wednesday 15 February, the SURF Tech Trends 2023 report was released, detailing the most important technology trends for education and research.
SURF Tech Trends 2023

The report is intended for anyone working in education and research. It includes technologies such as advanced computing, artificial intelligence (AI), edge, extended reality (XR), networking and quantum and elaborates on various trends for each technology.
With this, we start a long-term collaboration with members and technical experts on technology trends. The report provides inspiration and helps you understand the trends and put observations in perspective.

The importance of digitisation is constantly growing and at such a rapid pace that the possibilities and implications are not immediately apparent to everyone. As a cooperative of and for education and research, we see the need for exploration, interpretation and focus and hope that the report inspires and gives tools to the education and research field in their very important work.
Ron Augustus, Chief Innovation Officer of SURF

Impact and public values

For each trend, the report shows the stage of development, the forces influencing it and gives examples of applications for education and/or research. Moreover, it describes what impact the trend is most likely to have. The trends have also been tested against public values such as inclusiveness, freedom of education, accessibility, safety, reliability, self-determination and the professional autonomy of teachers, researchers and institutions.

Artificial intelligence and edge

One of the technologies for which the SURF trend report elaborates several trends is AI. For instance, federated learning is an application example of the trend 'New Ways to Access Data' and the trend 'Towards trustworthy AI' includes the development of ethical guidelines as an example, in addition to the creation of algorithm registries. The impact of the trend 'More accessible computing and models' gives low code/no code as an application example and mentions that the impact of the trend contributes to the values freedom and accessibility of education and research.

For technology Edge, the report discusses the Digital Twins trend, which involves feeding digital models with real-time reality, among others. One application is training and simulating energy systems, which would be too expensive or dangerous in the physical world. The impact for research is mainly cost-reducing, and for education, it offers opportunities for metaversities: universities having a digital twin in the metaverse. Robotic automation is a second trend that the report looks at in more detail, with robots-as-a-service as an example of disruptive effects on the future of work. Although the trend is still at an early stage, the report indicates that in both education and research, people will have to learn to (collaborate with) robots.

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