25 Future Technology Megatrends and Predictions – Tech that shapes our world
The main technology trends that will shape our world, business, economy and the socitey
What technologies will impact our future and recreate the world of tomorrow. Here are the biggest technology megatrends that you need to know and understand.
In recent decades, we have already witnessed an extraordinary technological renaissance, a time when digital innovations are not only reshaping industries and social structures, but also changing the very nature of human existence. We now spend much of our time using digital devices, have pledged our leisure time to a 6-inch screen, and are globally controlled by a number of powerful platforms.
But what if we look at the new trends and megatrends of the future? What happens when we dare to look 10, 20 or even 30 years into the future? Which technologies will change the world of today and possibly fundamentally alter our lives once again and change the planet?
This comprehensive overview lists the most influential technological megatrends and emerging technologies and paints a portrait of our possible future, from ubiquitous digitization and AI automation to the paradigm-shifting potential of the Singularity. These are all topics on which I speak daily with governments and executives of the world, because we can shape the future or just wait for it to come. One thing is certain – it will come.
25 Technology Trends of the Future
The digital revolution at all levels
The global economy is in the midst of a fundamental transformation. This profound shift towards a digital-centric mindset has already left many traces. At present, for example, a few tech corporations already account for a large share of economic output. Digitization, the transformation of information into a digital format and the harnessing of this digital content, has enabled the transition to a data-centric society and insights-driven organizations. Traditional business models, interactions between people, our entire communication and, of course, our society has changed and will continue to change. This move towards digitization has changed our world, made it measurable and is also an important step for other technologies to follow.
The age of automation – machines take over
Automation in our world is now ubiquitous and actually you would think it is nothing new. But automation has been slow and “dumb” until now. The machines could be used in factories where simple repetitive work was taken over. But the real revoltuion lies in the automation of much more complex processes and work. In general, it is currently assumed that a large part of the work can eventually be automated. From customer service to complex strategies. With the help of machine learning and artificial intelligence, automation increases efficiency, reduces human error and creates new opportunities for innovation. Every year machines get better and every year more complex work can be automated – our question might as well be: What do we do when machines get better at everything? What happens when every job can be replaced? – The question seems utopian, but in 8-10 years it is quite realistic.
The wave of digital transformation and digital business models
Digital transformation is a fundamental structural change that is redefining business and the economy from the ground up. By integrating digital technologies into all areas of a company, the economy and the business community, value chains are fundamentally changing. But it’s more than just swapping old technologies for new ones – it’s a cultural shift. It’s new opportunities and challenges. Never before has it been so easy to attract millions of people to a product, and never before has the power of a few companies been so great as it is today. Digital ecosystems have become one of the most powerful tools to lock in a lot of value with little capital. This means that a few companies and a few people can profit exponentially from the digital transformation of the economy and especially from digital business models.
Datafication – the fuel for the information age
Simply put, datafication means looking at every aspect of life through the lens of data. It’s about turning social actions and processes into quantified data. This trend is closely linked to advances in Big Data, machine learning and artificial intelligence, enabling us to gain insights and make predictions that were previously unattainable. Here again, it is important to mention how strongly platform economies, digital ecosystems and datafication are interrelated. Because these structures allow data to be collected over the entire lifetime to a point where every person can be perfectly analyzed and predicted. Because at some point, we have to face the question: What happens when an algorithm can predict my needs better than I can – or it can not only predict but also influence them?
Internet and connectivity – building a networked world.
In our Western worlds, Internet has long been a standard. The Internet with its interconnected web of data and information is the backbone of our digital world, but currently billions of people are still without access to the Internet. The implications for the economy and the economic fabric of the world are enormous if this part of the unused world is suddenly also given access to the Internet. We are on the cusp of an exponential leap forward. Developments such as 5G, 6G and even satellite Internet and beyond promise huge increases in speed, reliability and capacity, paving the way for innovations such as autonomous vehicles, real-time remote robotics and immersive augmented reality but also a decrease in barriers to entry worldwide.
Platforms and the emergence of the platform economy
The platform economy, characterized by digital platforms that facilitate interactions and transactions, has come into focus. From social media to e-commerce, these platforms leverage network effects and data to create rich, personalized experiences. These middlemen and intermediate platforms have developed their own unique dynamics and are also causing problems internationally. For example, Booking.com became a Significant Gatekeeper for the travel industry and through all the recent acquisitions, Booking has been able to evolve from booking platform to a Giant Digital Ecosystem that specifically tracks all interactions and destinations to drive pricing and availability.
Digital ecosystems as the new business paradigm
Digital ecosystems are complex etzworks of companies, individuals and processes that use digital platforms for a common, useful purpose. In short, a wide variety of services, offerings, and platforms are built that are interconnected. This makes it possible to cover the so-called “customer journey” more effectively. Using Booking.com as an example, it is possible that people read travel blogs and magazines, then search for flights, then receive targeted hotel offers, which in turn leads to income estimates, which in turn leads to further offers being suggested, and so on. These ecosystems have revolutionized the customer experience but also pose a risk. For example, the Apple ecosystem has evolved to the point where it leads to dependencies, which are then used to sell additional services and Apple even excludes others from their ecosystem. This accumulation of knowledge, understanding of customers, data but also locked-in customer assets poses many problems for society and the economy.
Artificial Intelligence and Advanced Analytics
Artificial intelligence (AI) is not just another tech trend, but arguably the most important technological innovation of our century. Artificial intelligence (AI) and its subtypes or techniques such as machine learning or deep learning, neural networks, generative AI etc., are creating systems that can learn, adapt, and potentially act on their own. In combination with platforms, the data economy but also digital ecosystems it will drasticly revolutionize our understanding of customers, preferences but also manipulation methods to best trigger customers and change their behavior into a desired outcomes.
Internet of Things (IoT)
IoT is a network of interconnected devices and sensors that all communicate with each other and collect and exchange data. From the smart home to industrial IoT in machines or factories, this trend enables a comprehensive understanding of our environment. IoT is like live measurement of our world. With this data and live measurements, we can drive many innovations that improve the quality of life, protect against accidents and drive new inventions in the economy. However, it can also lead to us being tracked at every turn. For example, smartphones have become smart devices that measure our health, analyze our movement profiles, divide us into groups and segments, and become one of the largest surveillance elements of humanity.
Distributed Ledger Technologies & Blockchain
Blockchain is the best-known example of distributed ledger technologies and promises a new paradigm for trust and security in the digital world. This is due to the fact that it promises to be a decentralized, immutable system for storing sensitive data. Decentralized databases like blockchain definitely have a possibility for diverse application areas. However, it remains to be seen whether the promises made can be delivered, as the technologies are not yet ready for mass adoption. Thus, in the future, we may use other systems and databases that can counter the general trends of data ecosystems. However, it should also be noted that for most people, keeping their own data is less of a problem and digital ecosystems convince with simplicity and strong marketing.
Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR & AR)
Virtual and augmented reality (VR & AR) are merging the physical and digital worlds. While VR enables immersive digital experiences, AR adds digital components to our physical world. From gaming and entertainment to education, virtual offices and virtual doctor visits, these technologies offer a new level of human interaction. In recent years, better and better systems have been introduced. However, most VR & AR headsets still have a comparatively poor user experience with low battery life, comparatively poor resolutions, and are still limited with computing capacity. However, great advances are expected in 8-10 years that can also enable concepts like the Metaverse, where high-resolution virtual worlds can be entered with a better user experience.
Metaverse & Immersive Media
The metaverse is something like an evolution of the Internet, an all-encompassing virtual universe that connects multiple realities and allows everyone to create or enter their own virtual reality. The combination of physical and virtual reality offers unlimited possibilities for work, education, socializing and entertainment. The goal is to provide users with virtual universes in which infinite possibilities are available and they do not have to abide by physical laws. You can copy things, create things, there is no wear and tear and there are no limitations. It is quite possible that in the next 15-20 years virtual realities will emerge where we will subsequently spend a large part of our lives from work to social exchanges or vacations and experiences.
Social media and social networks
Social media platforms and networks have fundamentally changed human communication. Today we date differently, we date differently, and even undersocial interactions have been replaced by likes and comments. Social media has also changed the world of business, enabling new business models and marketing strategies, and creating social trends that have influenced politics and society. Their impact even on our brains and cognitive abilities is a testament to the power of digital platforms and we can expect that technologies that will enhance interactions and experiences (e.g. 3D worlds) will lead to a growing impact of social media on business and society.
Advanced chips and quantum computing
The world is controlled by small chips made of silicon. With current advances in the design of computer chips and quantum computers, a new era of problem-solving capabilities can be ushered in. For example, quantum computers are able to process complex computations exponentially faster than classical computers because they are not bound to 0 and 1 but can take on an infinite number of states. As a result, many expect breakthroughs in cryptography, materials research, and medicine, but also in complex modeling for pharmaceuticals and business. We are on the threshold of the quantum age and have the prospect of a technological revolution comparable to the discovery of electricity, because many things that are still out of reach for us now, because computers are still too slow and expensive, would then be within reach. However, it should also be said that it may be several decades before quantum computers are small enough and powerful enough for this revolution in computing.
Robotics, drones and autonomous systems
Robots, drones and autonomous systems are no longer just science fiction; they are already driving on our streets or helping in nursing homes. These technologies have a wide range of applications, from logistics and agriculture to manufacturing and emergency response. Boston Dynamics is perhaps one of the best known examples, which clearly shows what has happened in robotics in the last 10 years. However, it is important to understand that there are still many solutions to be found. Robotics is very complex because it requires a variety of algorithms, it depends on new materials and it is an interplay of interchanging technologies. Therefore, the progress is great, but it will take a long time for truly complex and autonomous humanoid robots to truly replace workers. (Sorry Elon Musk, that’s the truth).
Everybody wants to go into space. While it is not the goal of space technology, it is a possibility that results from it. In recent years, this sector has made extraordinary strides, from reusable rockets and satellite technology to ambitious explorations of Mars. Space tourism, asteroid mining, and the prospect of off-planet colonies are transcending the realm of science fiction and becoming tangible possibilities. In a much more practical sense, many technologies are being developed that also have applications on Earth. But with the increasing commercialization of space, a new era is dawning where we may see space stations in the next 20-30 years or the first settlements on the Moon or Mars in 50 years.
3D printing and additive manufacturing
3D printing or additive manufacturing can be used in so many areas. Additive manufacturing has the potential to democratize the production of products by enabling low-cost customization of products, so-called “rapid prototyping,” and easy fabrication of complex structures. For example, complete houses can currently already be printed, we can make bones and organs in a 3D printer, or mass produce complex materials for aircraft bars and car manufacturing. , 3D printing has the ability to revolutionize numerous industries, accelerate innovation, and challenge traditional production and supply chain models.
Smart Cities & Urban Tech
Smart cities usually represent a vision of urban spaces where life is sustainable, efficient and people-centered. To enable a smart city, many factors and technologies play together – from IoT for measurement and AI for evaluation and control to Big Data analytics for planning. Whether it’s urban services, sustainability, or quality of life, technologies can be applied everywhere to improve our lives. For example, more and more sensors and computers are being used for intelligent transportation systems, smart grids which are specifically needed for renewable energy, automated waste management and advanced security. All over the world, cities are growing and this combination of technology is helping to control problems ranging from overpopulation and pollution to infrastructure maintenance.
AgTech for the agriculture of the future
With the growing challenge of global food security, technologies that increase the efficiency and sustainability of agriculture are more important than ever. From crop sensors, to smoke detectors in forests and satellite imagery to manage land and water. The applications of AI, drones, automation, and even data are vast. With increasing urbanization, vertical farming and indoor farming solutions will also be which will become important in providing basic food for the population with increasing loss of agricultural land and difficult weather conditions.
BioTech & Genomics
Biotechnology and genomics have opened new frontiers in healthcare and life sciences. Gene manipulation technologies such as CRISPR and advances in synthetic biology have made personalized medicine and genetic engineering a reality. These technologies have the potential to revolutionize our approach to disease, longevity, and even the nature of life itself, and already Corona Medicine has shown that medicine could be found in a very short time. Personalized medicine based on genes will also play a role in the future.
Regenerative Medicine & Land Longevity
Regenerative medicine has the tantalizing potential to repair or replace damaged cells, tissues and organs. This field is taking advantage of advances in stem cell research, tissue engineering and, increasingly, 3D bioprinting (3D printing with organic materials). For example, it would be possible to make organ transplants obsolete and print organs themselves. Or it would be possible to stop or reverse degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. These are all promises of regenerative medicine. Together with genomics and other technological possibilities, this could lead to a healthier life, possibly even prolong life or even make us immortal, if we could manage to regenerate and heal cells completely. The implications for us humans and the world would be enormous and thousands of ethical questions would also arise from this.
Neural Interfaces & Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCI)
Neural interfaces and brain-computer interfaces (BCI) represent the next level of interaction between humans and machines. What if we could establish direct communication between the human brain and all the external electronic devices? Possible applications range from improved control of prosthetic limbs, to enhancing human cognitive abilities. Although development is still at a relatively early stage, the possibilities are tantalizing and the implications profound. As these technologies evolve, we may have to redefine what it means to be human in a world where minds and machines are increasingly intertwined, and also draw the line, because advanced algorithms would then make it possible to make a human completely manipulable.
Nanotechnology, the science of manipulating matter at the atomic and molecular level, offers enormous potential in diverse industries. Most advances currently we see in the development of new materials, the improvement of medicine or the advancement of electronics. But nanotechnology could offer solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges like tiny robots that live inside our bodies and heal us or kill cancer cells. We could also use nanobots to clean our lakes and fight pollution. If we see more than 30+ years into the future then all these scenarios would be possible.
Advanced materials such as graphene with its remarkable strength and conductivity, metamaterials that can manipulate electromagnetic waves, and self-healing materials are not only transforming established industries such as electronics, aerospace, and energy, but also enabling new industries. As we continue to discover and develop new materials with unique properties, there are no limits to our imagination in shaping future technologies. Countries like China, in particular, are betting big on the development of new materials, as most of these are also for the Green Transition, or the replacement of rare earths, and form the basis for disruptive changes in markets or disruptive innovations.
Green technologies and renewable energies
Green technologies and renewable energy are an important step toward sustainability and a cleaner, greener future and green economy. Innovations in this area range from advanced solar, wind and hydropower technologies to breakthrough developments in hydrogen energy and carbon capture. While not all countries include nuclear energy among the green technologies, there are big changes there, too, to modular reactors with passive safety and much lower costs for operation or even without the massive nuclear waste proboem. Another interesting technology to watch in 10-20+ years will be nuclear fusion, which will have taken a step forward and we will be closer to mastering the power of the sun on our planet.
Excursus: The existential question of “the singularity” event
The technological singularity, a hypothetical point at which AI surpasses human intelligence, raises a profound existential question. This controversial concept highlights the potential of AI in combination with diverse of the aforementioned technologies and the need for ongoing dialogue about the ethical, social, and philosophical implications of these technological advances. We are slowly evolving into a time where technological innovations are exponentially having a greater impact on us. Not too long ago, the doubling of computing capacity was marginal and almost imperceptible to humans. But if we assume that a computer would be as intelligent as a human being and the development is equally rapid, then this computer would be twice as intelligent in 2 years and 1024 times as intelligent as a human being after 20 years. Thus an artificial intelligence following the same Moores’s law would become more than 1,099,511,627,776 times more intelligent within a human life of 80 years than a human could ever be.
These technological megatrends are not only shaping our world right now, they are also creating a new completely unknown world. No one 15 years ago would have dared to say that we won’t meet people anymore because we spend more than 3.5 hours a day looking at a small screen in our hands.
Each of these technologies brings unique opportunities and challenges, which underscores the need for a proactive and informed approach. By understanding these trends and how they interact, we can use them to shape a future where technology serves as a tool for sustainable social progress, rather than an uncontrollable force that slowly tears us apart and uses our primate brains to manipulate us. Our actions today will determine whether we ride the wave of these technological revolutions or are swept along by them. The decision is up to us, our approach to technology and also what we consider “desirable”.