The future for entrepreneurs, businesses and innovators is looking increasingly full of opportunity.
Twelve emerging digital disruptive technologies are set to potentially pump up to $33 trillion a year into the worldwide economy by 2025. The technologies, outlined in McKinsey Global Institute’s report, Disruptive Technologies: Advances that will transform life, business, and the global economy, were selected from a candidate list of 100 based on the broadness of the technology’s applications, the speed at which the technology advances, its potential to create massive economic impact, and on the potential for that economic impact to disrupt or “dramatically change the status quo.”
While the figures aren’t meant to be a prediction, they are meant to shed light on the economic potential that the leading digital disruptive technologies will have over the course of the next decade, both for the individual and for companies. And with economists projecting that global economic output will be around the $100 trillion mark in 2025, MGI’s numbers are a reason to be optimistic.
“As we look forward we wanted to identify those technologies which could continue to increase at an exponential rate and drive human welfare forward, as well as corporate benefits,” says Michael Chui, principal of MGI.
Topping MGI’s list of some of most economically disruptive technologies, is mobile internet, which has continued to grow at a dramatic rate. By 2025, its economic impact could range between $4 to $11 trillion a year and bring an estimated 3 billion more people into to the “wired world.”
The Automation of knowledge work, the internet of things and cloud technologies are also going to play a role in driving increased inter-connectivity between thousands of devices and sensors, saving time and making it more practical to automate tasks along as the field of advanced robotics progresses towards greater sophistication. Together, these technologies could deliver between $11 to $23 trillion into the global economy per year.
The report also notes that next-generation genomics technologies “marries the science used for imaging nucleotide base pairs (the units that make up DNA) with rapidly advancing computational and analytic capabilities,” which will deliver breakthroughs in medicine as well as advance our knowledge in renewable fuel technologies, such as bacteria-based biodiesel, and agricultural practices. Its economic impact could potentially reach $1.6 trillion a year by 2025.
With all the development in smart technology predicted to be major disruptors over the course of the next decade, it is no accident that our vehicles are also going to grow more intelligent. Autonomous and near-autonomous vehicles “could enable a revolution in ground transportation,” as the sensors and artificial intelligence that guides them rapidly improves, says MGI. The benefits to consumers includes reduced emissions as well as increased safety and productivity.
Energy Storage technologies are also drastically progressing, including improvements in fuel cell technologies and battery storage systems. By 2025, energy storage technologies and 3D printing could each be contributing some $600 billion to the global economy annually, followed by technologies in advanced materials, and Advanced oil and gas exploration and recovery, at $500 billion a year, and renewable energy technologies at $300 billion, respectively.
MGI’s report estimates the potential range of the economic impact of its top 12 disruptive technologies combined to be between $14-$33 trillion per year, a range, it says must factor in the known-unknowns. This includes the volatility in energy prices and productivity. The report also does not distinguish Big Data as a distinct technologies category for its list, as it says big data is becoming ubiquitous across technologies, including most, if not all of its leading digital disruptors.
The report also took note of several other potentially digitally disruptive technologies that have exciting potential, but did not make it into its list for top consideration including, next-generation nuclear (fission), possible advances in fission technology, quantum computing, advances in carbon sequestration and water purification systems. MGI also included a short list of “often hyped candidates,” that were determined not to be widely disruptive enough to bring them close to the final running, including private space flight, wireless charging, flexible displays and OLED/LED lighting.
However, MGI’s report also serves as a warning to those to be prepared for the challenges and benefits the top digital disruptive technologies will bring along with them. “If business and government leaders wait until these technologies are exerting their full influence on the economy, it will be too late to capture the benefits or react to the consequences,” say it’s author’s.
The report leaves a great deal to be optimistic about, including the thought that as MGI believes, that increases in technological advances have a direct and causal relationship on its impacts on economic impacts for businesses and consumers alike. What is clear is that over the next ten years or so, what is now thought of as “disruption,” a word with a resoundingly negative connotation, will be thought less a disruptive challenge and more as a $33 trillion a year entrepreneurial opportunity.
Heather Turner is a writer based in London who has worked in the fields of print and broadcast journalism, PR and film. Turner moved to London in 2009 from the rural Ozark Mountain region of Missouri to pursue a B.A. in Mass Communications and to gain more hands-on experience in film and marketing. She currently writes about trends in digital media and maintains a blog in her spare time on subjects including politics and media criticism.