Short Take – Technological Tipping Points

This report from the 2015 World Economic Forum is a fascinating snapshot of how some very smart people view a world that is undergoing rapid transformation, driven by software, in virtually every aspect of human experience. Here are the results of what those surveyed expect to occur by 2025.

What’s surprising is that in just over a year, one can imagine that if the survey was given again to the same people, the outcome would be significantly different. For example #21 has already happened, #7 is getting close, #3 looks wildly optimistic and #13 looks promising – but needs more precise definition.

 

Tipping Points Expected to Occur by 2025% agreeing
110% of people wearing clothes connected to the internet91.2
290% of people having unlimited and free (advertising-supported) storage91.0
31 trillion sensors connected to the internet89.2
4The first robotic pharmacist in the US86.5
510% of reading glasses connected to the internet85.5
680% of people with a digital presence on the internet84.4
7The first 3D-printed car in production84.1
8The first government to replace its census with big-data sources82.9
9The first implantable mobile phone available commercially81.7
105% of consumer products printed in 3D81.1
1190% of the population using smartphones80.7
1290% of the population with regular access to the internet78.8
13Driverless cars equaling 10% of all cars on US roads78.2
14The first transplant of a 3D-printed liver76.4
1530% of corporate audits performed by AI75.4
16Tax collected for the first time by a government via a blockchain73.1
17Over 50% of internet traffic to homes for appliances and devices69.9
18Globally more trips/journeys via car sharing than in private cars67.2
19The first city with more than 50,000 people and no traffic lights63.7
2010% of global gross domestic product stored on blockchain technology57.9
21The first AI machine on a corporate board of directors45.2

In any case it is clear that the underlying forces and trends that are the source of these projections are getting clearer, and, in many cases stronger, every year. The report is a touchstone to remind us how fast things are changing and well worth re-reading every year.

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