We hear almost every day about disruptive technologies, and the list of the “next big thing” grows ever longer. In its May 2013 report McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) separates reality from hype. Starting with a list of 100 candidates, MGI identifies 12 disruptive technologies that matter; these are assessed to have significant potential to drive economic impact and disruption, and to transform life, business and the global economy by 2025. The 12 disruptive technologies are listed below together with three videos – on the Internet of things, driverless cars, and 3D printing.
1. Mobile Internet : Impact of increasingly inexpensive and capable mobile computing devices and ubiquitous Internet connectivity.
2. Automation of knowledge work: Intelligent software systems that can perform knowledge work tasks involving unstructured commands and subtle judgments.
3. Internet of things: Network of low-cost sensors and actuators for data collection, monitoring, decision making and process optimization.
4. Cloud technology: Use of computer hardware and software resources delivered over a network of the Internet, often as a service.
5. Advanced robotics: Increasingly capable robots with enhanced sense, dexterity and intelligence used to automate tasks or augment humans.
6. Autonomous or near-autonomous vehicles: Vehicles that can navigate and operate with reduced or no human intervention.
7. Next-generation genomics: Fast low-cost sequencing, advanced big data analytics, and synthetic biology (“writing” DNA).
8. Energy storage: Devices or systems that store energy for later use, including batteries.
9. 3D printing: Additive manufacturing techniques to create objects by printing layers of material based on digital models.
10. Advanced materials: Materials designed to have superior characteristics (e.g. strength, weight, conductivity) or functionality.
11. Advanced oil and gas exploration and recovery: Exploration and recovery techniques that make extraction of conventional oil and gas economical.
12. Renewable energy: Generation of electricity from renewable sources with reduced harmful climate impact.
These technologies are already here with us today and their applications will gain accelerated momentum in the coming years. By 2025, a mere 12 years from now, the world as we know will have been transformed. Whether we like it or not, it is happening.