B.R. Martin describes an emerging technology as a technology the use of which will benefit many sectors of the economy and/or society
. L. Porter, J.D. Roessner, X-Y. Jin and N.C. Newman define emerging technologies in the next 15 years as those that can have a significant impact on the economy
. B.C. Stahl identifies emerging technologies as those that have the potential to gain social validity in the next 10 to 15 years
. According to N. Corrocher, F. Malerba and F. Montobbio, the development of emerging technologies refers to technical, institutional and social changes
. This may have unintended consequences that increase uncertainty and ambiguity. Other important characteristics of emerging technology, according to D. Rotolo, D. Hicks and B. R. Martin, include radical novelty, relatively fast growth, coherence, and prominent impact
. M. Halaweh, on the other hand, lists the following attributes of an emerging technology: uncertainty, network effect, costs, unobvious impact, availability. These are not yet fully investigated
. According to Veletsianos, an emerging technology
: (a) may or may not be a new technology (depending on the context, an emerging technology may appear in one context, i.e., place, domain, or application, even though it is considered to exist in another
); (b) can be described as an evolving organism that exists in a state of “coming to being” and experience hype cycles; (c) satisfies the “not yet” criteria of not yet being fully understood and not yet being fully researched; (d) is potentially disruptive, but its potential is mostly unfulfilled. There is no final consensus-based definition of emerging technology due to different research perspectives, which in turn may lead to misinterpreting this term ,
. The only certain feature—as R. Srinivasan has shown—of an emerging technology is the high degree of uncertainty associated with it
. This is due to the specificity of an emerging technology, whereby its future development is not based on well-established knowledge and is therefore difficult to estimate,
. Furthermore, the uncertainty of emerging technology development refers, as M. Halaweh points out, to many variables, the values of which are unknown, unpredictable or unstable. This fact has a strong connection with the specificity of the future per se, which, according to K. Cuhls
and others 
, is unknown and unpredictable; however, broad, general directions can be reasonably guessed or anticipated by foresight studies.
One of the overriding aims of anticipation activities should be the identification, comprehension and management of uncertainty. Situations of uncertainty—in terms of foresight—are those wherein it is impossible to predict what impact the decision will have, but different outcomes for these impacts can be anticipated. In this process it could be very useful to explore different types of futures (of the development of emerging technologies) in their relationship with knowledge and foreknowledge ranges.
For further time horizons, especially in complex systems such as Industry 4.0, uncertainty increases and deepens, while the predictability of the development of the studied phenomena decreases. This results from, among other things, the complexity of the features, structures and behaviors of the analyzed systems, which usually go beyond the area observed and verified by the available knowledge, both subjectively and objectively.