Metaverse, swarm, smart dust, neuro symbolic AI…

In a fashion book, CEA researchers combine major technology trends that are likely to have a major impact on society and economic sectors. These collapse technologies are shared at DIMS 2022.

How to identify and anticipate the emergence of disruptive technologies? Thanks for collecting weak signals, especially. For Timothée Silvestre, Head of Technological Foresight, Societal Trends and Weak Signals at CEA, a breakthrough technology is multi-sectoral.

To map these trends, the research center opted for a network representation. “It allows us to visualize connection trends across multiple themes. Like a metro station, the denser a node, the more you can estimate that this trend will have an impact”, explained the representative of Y.Spot Labs at the CEA at the DIMS 2022 conference organized by IMA, a collaborative innovation club.

Trends that connect multiple sectors

So this mapping makes it possible to identify 10 major trends. These include, swarm or swarm technology. Its principle is based on the decentralized and coordinated pilotage of intelligent agents, such as drones. The technology is inspired by the animal world and aims to address complex challenges such as escaping a predator or overcoming obstacles.

The host has been a topic of work in the world of robotics for many years. For CEA, the advancement of on-board artificial intelligence is now opening up applications in a variety of fields. The host is thus envisioned for piloting delivery robots in the logistics sector.

The military is also interested in fleet applications, for example drone fleet management. It should be noted that these robots and / or drones can have different characteristics. This heterogeneity is important to consider in future dynamic interactions between hosts of autonomous cars and other systems, for example.

Another trend today, hard to hide today: the metaverse. The definition of the metaverse and the scope of the technologies it comprises is variable geometry. Timothée Silvestre is careful to ensure that her access is not limited to the use of virtual reality headsets.

In the gaming industry, where metaverse applications are growing, only 2% of users on a platform like Steam use a VR headset. All terminals, PCs and smartphones in particular, are the means of access to these virtual universes.

The Metaverse, Mirror World and the real world intersect

The changes brought about by Metaverse are also expected in e-commerce. The purpose of starting the Boson Protocol was to “disrupt” online commerce by replacing intermediaries with programmable contracts or smart contracts. For Timothée Silvestre, the metaverse also provides new shopping experiences.

A consumer, for example, buys a virtual object, such as a pair of shoes, whose ownership takes the form of an NFT, a non-fungible token. This mark will immediately entitle to its true equivalent. A brand like Nike strictly follows these devices, which can be connected to the physical world. Acquired by the manufacturer in December 2021 RTFKT, a creator of virtual shoes.

The Metaverse and the physical world are not watertight. They present intersection areas, including Mirror World or mirror world, another trend recognized by the CEA. Mirror World is the aggregate of data from the real world, like a digital twin. Nvidia, along with BMW, digitizes factories in particular.


Since 2016, Dassault Systèmes has been involved in creating a digital twin in the city of Singapore as part of the Virtual Singapore smart city project. The mirror of the world, metaverse and real world are therefore interconnected, awaiting the CEA. The intersection between the real world and the metaverse is Cyber ​​Physical Asset. The industrial metaverse is at the crossroads of the metaverse and the mirror world.

Smart dust is probably a more tangible trend today. Its foundations were laid in the 1990s by DARPA through a concept of autonomous and network-connected mini-sensors. Advances in miniaturization have allowed a leap forward in these small computers. Health presents the possible use of intelligent dust by neurograins.

Starting with space, autonomous farming and eco-circular

The Energy Commission has also noted the emergence of concepts such as space for all, that is its democratization. The space is no longer preserved by the big powers and government organizations. Startups are also developing technologies in this sector. The Toulouse incubator TechTheMoon is an illustration of this.

Disruptive technology is not, however, exclusively focused on space coverage. In agriculture, a trend has emerged: autonomous farming. In 2021, the first manufacturer of agricultural vehicles John Deere bought Bear Flag Robotics.

Agriculture is home to other trends such as vertical farming (which uses hydroponics to optimize water consumption) and agri-voltaic combining land with agriculture and energy production. According to the experiments, some crops, such as grapes, benefit from increased yield thanks to the installation of solar panels by reducing evapo-transpiration during heat waves.

These energy sources will be the future power modular light mobility platforms. In these trends, Y.Spot Labs is adding geo engineering (taking C02, creating artificial clouds to reduce ground temperature, etc.), all as a service (battery, bulb with Signify , energy, etc.), circular economy and neuro symbolic AI.

The principle of circular economy can be applied to urbanization, conceptualized by a 15-minute city where everything can be reached within a 15-minute area. The concept also includes urban mining which involves the reuse of local resources within the city.

Performance and stability service technology

“It also raises questions about product design, especially in construction with a design for disassembly. It is tantamount to rethinking the design so that future constructions can be dismantled”, explained Timothée Silvestre. Product design expertise and their entire life cycle could in the future be based on a combination of circular economy, digital twins and blockchain.

Finally, Neuro Symbolic AI or hybrid AI. It addresses many issues. The main thing: to overcome the limitations of connection systems such as neural networks, which consume a lot of energy and can mean little or nothing. The particularity of Neuro Symbolic AI is the combination of rules of logic and neural networks to solve complex problems.

But technologies alone are not enough to solve all the problems faced by different sectors. The CEA executive also called for cultural change, focusing the past 30 years on the show cult, he said.

“A small grain of sand has hampered this global optimization,” he said, referring to the pandemic and its consequences on supply chains. Optimization comes before stability, thinks Timothée Silvestre. New technological trends must therefore be accompanied by thinking about durability and be used to improve durability and not just performance, he urged business transformation leaders.

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