Picture this: The year is 2040. You’ve just disembarked from a hypersonic flight from New York to London, a mere two-hour journey, and then take an air urban mobility “drone” to beat London’s rush hour traffic to be home in 20 minutes. While in the air, you streamed a holographic conference in real time, thanks to a seamless fusion of cellular and satellite networks made possible by 6G. This isn’t a visionary’s dream. It’s a glimpse into the imminent future. My team of foresight specialists at MarketsandMarkets has put together the top Mega Trends that will shape our future. The below Trends wheel summarises these trends across Horizon 1, 2, and 3.
The Mega Trends Decoded
The Hyper-Connected World
Each generation of technology has revolutionized how we connect and interact. 3G bought data, 4G video, and 5G provide B2B use cases like machine-to-machine communication, providing us with Connected stadiums, factories, and cars. But 6G? The leap from 5G to 6G promises a colossal leap, bringing isolated entities like homes, cars, and cities into a unified connected living ecosystem. Combine this with Space Log Jam (we will launch 20k satellites in this decade, and this will provide high-speed broadband, possibly 5G speeds in the future through satellites and precise location-based services), and we will be connected everywhere, anywhere, anytime, making it a hyper-connected world that will trigger new disruptive business models. The future, in essence, will echo a constant connection. In such a world, being disconnected might be the only true luxury.
Dawn of Technology Singularity
This trend charts the AI evolution from narrow AI to the dawn of singularity, where intelligent and powerful technologies could radically transform our reality with unpredictable results. With the advent of Generative AI, we have now entered the General AI era. There are currently no real-world examples of Artificial SuperIntelligence (ASI) where AI reaches human levels of consciousness, intelligence, and capabilities. A key sub-trend of growth of AI and the hyper-connected world will be us entering what we term an Autonomous world – a $10tr opportunity. By 2035, we will have the advent of new computing science like Neuromorphic Computing, DNA computing, and Quantum computing entering our worlds, and they will challenge Moore’s law further and accelerate the shift from General AI to Super AI, meaning machines will become more intelligent than humans thereby achieving Technology Singularity.
Industry 5.0 - The Symbiotic Era
The fourth industrial revolution was about applying emerging technologies that are connected, interactive, and intuitive. The end objective is to derive the maximum cost and time efficiency. The European Union describes Industry 5.0 as providing “a vision of an industry that aims beyond efficiency and productivity as the sole goals and reinforces the role and the contribution of industry to society.” In the foresighting world, these mega-developments like Industrial revolution profoundly impact our Society. The 1st industrial revolution shifted us from a farming to a manufacturing economy and brought mega trends like urbanization. Similarly, with Industry 5.0, there will be a profund impact to our society at large, where human-robot coworking will reframe the fundamentals of jobs, skills, and global sourcing.
The Energy Transition
Future of Energy will be decarbonized, decentralized, digital and democratized, and possibly one day energy will be free. Decarbonization refers to the shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. Decentralization in the Energy sector refers to the growth of smaller on-site renewable power generation solutions. Digitalization refers to the shift from analog to digital solutions in the energy infrastructure like smart meters and smart grids to real-time management and processing of billions of data points to automate decision-making to allow integration of diverse power generation sources. Democratization refers to localization of Energy and harnessing the local nature to develop the best energy mix for that country/region and making energy accessible to all. We at MarketsandMarkets believe that one day, in the 21st century, energy could be free, and it will usher in new disruptive business models and opportunities that are unique and very different from what we see in the world today. That could mean future fuels like Green hydrogen will be abundant if the solar or wind power to generate it is free.
Innovation to Zero
This is my favorite trend and is close to my heart. Innovating to Zero is not a mega-trend but a mega vision—a vision of a picture-perfect world, a desire for perfection in our Society, businesses, and every product and service we consume. It is a zero-concept world with zero crimes, zero diseases, zero hunger, zero deaths, carbon-neutral buildings, cities, and net zero nations. The Vision Zero World is all-encompassing today, embracing manufacturing, retail, cities, individuals, corporates, governments, work, home, leisure, products, performance, and processes. It is about a philosophy that pivots around safe, smart, and sustainable practices. Beyond achieving carbon neutrality and net zero, it is about consciously building a better world—free of errors, defects, and negatives.
Future of Mobility
The future of travel isn’t just faster but smarter. Imagine a world free from transport woes, where multi-modal, integrated systems offer real-time dynamic guidance, culminating in almost instantaneous journeys. The future of mobility will be multi-modal, integrated, and door-to-door, combining multiple energy-efficient transport modes with mobility-as-a-service platform offerings. Mobility will be an integral part of a zero-vision world where the three evils of transport—congestion, pollution, and accidents—are all eliminated. We will have the fourth and the fifth dimensions of travel introduced with sub-surface and super-surface travel with hypersonic speeds a reality (imagine London to New York in two hours). The scenario will lead us to a state of mobility that takes us closer to transcending time and providing instantaneous mobility.
Future Society and Urbanization
While the global population is aging, some nations in Asia and Africa have young, fast-growing populations. The prospective customers will be more diverse in age, sex, culture, and wealth and require personalized and customized services. Increasing urbanization rates in small and intermediate-sized cities, particularly in Africa and Asia, will have important implications for new markets, products, and services. Suburbanization will grow in the West, but the East will see a growth of Mega regions and urbanization of cities hundreds of miles apart, giving rise to gargantuan corridors like the 1350 km Delhi Mumbai Industrial corridor.
Economic powerhouses of the future – Baby-bust economies
With growing populations and a youth demographic dividend, many emerging economies will outpace advanced economies in growth. In fact, by 2040, today’s developing economies will account for more than 65% of global output. We believe that countries with a 100M+ population have the potential to be trillion-dollar economies by 2040. Thereby, future growth will be driven by what we term ‘baby-bust economies.’ In this changing economic tapestry, populas nations like China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria could emerge as the ultimate and top 15 economic powerhouses by 2050. Changing economic dynamics also pose challenges for businesses. For example, a lingering thought remains as we draw this vision to a close. With global population growth potentially plateauing and the ongoing climate crisis, the grand question is: Could we see the end of growth as we know it? The answer may lie with the emerging middle class of developing countries. Their aspirations, dreams, and economic thrust could carve out a new ‘Middle Earth.’ A world where their ambitions drive the global GDP growth, shaping a future that’s as unpredictable as it’s exhilarating.
In this grand dance of disruption and innovation, one truth stands tall—we’re on the cusp of a revolution that promises to be extraordinary. So, brace yourselves: the best is yet to come!
If you are interested to learn more about Foresighting, reach out to the Markets and Markets Foresighting team.
The article as published in Forbes.
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