Picture this: The year is 2040. You’ve just stepped off a hypersonic flight from New York to London, just a two-hour journey, and you’ve taken an aerial urban mobility ‘drone’ to beat London’s rush hour traffic , to get home 20 minutes. While in the air, stream a holographic conference in real time, thanks to the seamless fusion of cellular and satellite networks made possible by 6G. This is not a dreamer’s dream. This is a glimpse into the near future. My team of forecasters at MarketsandMarkets have rounded up the best mega trends that will shape our future. The trend wheel below summarizes these trends in Horizon 1, 2 and 3.
Mega trends decoded
The hyper-connected world: Each generation of technology revolutionizes the way we connect and interact. 3G purchased data, 4G video and 5G provide B2B use cases like machine-to-machine communication, giving us connected stadiums, factories and cars. But 6G? The leap from 5G to 6G promises a colossal leap, uniting isolated objects like homes, cars and cities into a single connected living ecosystem. Combine that with Space Log Jam (we’ll launch 20,000 satellites this decade and that will deliver high-speed broadband, possibly 5G speeds in the future via satellites and location-based services), and we’ll be connected everywhere, anywhere, anytime , making it a hyper-connected world that will trigger new disruptive business models. The future will essentially reflect a permanent relationship. In such a world, being excluded may be the only real luxury.
The Dawn of the Technological Singularity: This trend charts the evolution of AI from narrow AI to the dawn of the singularity, where intelligent and powerful technologies can radically transform our reality with unpredictable results. With the advent of Generative AI, we have now entered the era of General AI. There are currently no real examples of Artificial Superintelligence (ASI) where AI reaches human levels of consciousness, intelligence and abilities. A key growth sub-trend of AI and the hyper-connected world will be our entry into what we call the autonomous world – a $10 trillion opportunity. By 2035 we will have the emergence of new computer sciences such as Neuromorphic Computing, DNA computing and Quantum computing entering our worlds and these will further challenge Moore’s Law and accelerate the transition from general AI to Super AI, which means that machines will become more intelligent than humans, thus achieving a Technological Singularity.
Industry 5.0 – The Symbiotic Era: The fourth industrial revolution was about the application of emerging technologies that are connected, interactive and intuitive. The ultimate goal is to maximize cost and time efficiency. The European Union describes Industry 5.0 as providing “a vision of an industry that strives beyond efficiency and productivity as sole objectives and enhances the role and contribution of industry to society”. In the visionary world, these mega-developments like the industrial revolution have a profound impact on our society. The first industrial revolution moved us from an agricultural to a manufacturing economy and brought mega trends like urbanization. Similarly, Industry 5.0 will have a huge impact on our society as a whole, where the collaboration between humans and robots will reshape the foundations of jobs, skills and global sourcing.
The energy transition: The future of energy will be decarbonized, decentralized, digital and democratized, and possibly one day energy will be free. Decarbonisation 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 energy production solutions. Digitization refers to the shift from analog to digital solutions in energy infrastructure such as smart meters and smart grids to real-time management and processing of billions of data points to automate decision-making to enable the integration of diverse energy sources. Democratization is about localizing energy and harnessing 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 can be free and will usher in new disruptive business models and opportunities that are unique and very different from what we see in the world today. This could mean that future fuels like green hydrogen will be abundant if the solar or wind energy to generate it is free.
Innovations to zero: This is my favorite trend and it’s close to my heart. Innovation to zero is not a megatrend, but a mega vision – a vision of a perfect world, a desire for perfection in our society, business and every product and service we consume. It is a zero concept world with zero crime, zero disease, zero hunger, zero deaths, carbon neutral buildings, net zero cities and nations. Vision Zero World today is comprehensive, covering manufacturing, retail, cities, individuals, corporations, governments, work, home, leisure, products, productivity and processes. It’s about a philosophy that revolves around safe, smart and sustainable practices. Beyond achieving carbon neutrality and net zero, it’s about consciously building a better world – free of mistakes, defects and negatives.
The future of mobility: The future of travel is not only faster, but also smarter. Imagine a world without transportation hassles, where multimodal, integrated systems offer dynamic, real-time routing, culminating in near-instant journeys. The future of mobility will be multimodal, integrated and door-to-door, combining multiple energy-efficient means of transport with mobility-as-a-service platform offerings. Mobility will be an integral part of a vision zero world where the three evils of transport – congestion, pollution and accidents – are eliminated. The fourth and fifth dimensions of travel will be introduced with subsurface and surface travel at hypersonic speeds as a reality (imagine London to New York in two hours). The scenario will bring us to a state of mobility that brings us closer to transcending time and providing instant mobility.
Future society and urbanization: While the world’s population is aging, some nations in Asia and Africa have young, fast-growing populations. Potential customers will be more diverse in age, gender, culture and wealth and will demand personalized and personalized services. Increasing levels of urbanization in small and medium-sized cities, especially 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 the growth of megaregions and the urbanization of cities hundreds of miles apart, resulting in vast corridors such as the 1,350 km Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor.
Economic Centers of the Future – Economies on the Foot: With growing populations and a demographic dividend from youth, 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 production. We believe that countries with populations over 100 million have the potential to be trillion-dollar economies by 2040. Therefore, future growth will be driven by what we call ‘spill economies’. In this changing economic tapestry, nations such as China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria could emerge as the top and 15 strongest economic centers by 2050. The changing economic dynamics also pose challenges for the business. For example, a thought remains as we draw this vision to a close. With global population growth potentially plateauing and the ongoing climate crisis, the big question is: Could we be seeing the end of growth as we know it? The answer may lie in the emerging middle class of developing countries. Their aspirations, dreams and economic drive could create a new “Middle Earth”. A world where their ambitions drive global GDP growth, shaping a future that is as unpredictable as it is exciting.
In this spectacular dance of disruption and innovation, one truth stands firm – we are on the brink of a revolution that promises to be extraordinary. So, get ready: the best is yet to come!
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