The dawn of a friction-free economy?
Technology is driving human progress. Our increasingly interwoven partnership with machines has opened up new opportunities for organisations across the globe.
Today, 82% of business leaders expect to see integrated teams of humans and machines working within their organisations within five years1. Institute for the Future set out to explore the impact emerging technologies will have on the economy by 2030.
Our researchers forecast that emerging technologies and human-machine partnerships will transform our economy, remove age-old frictions and usher in new ways of doing business and creating value
Technologies are transforming many of the fundamentals of commerce and production, as well as dismantling barriers to economic participation. Our researchers cite three key shifts that will drive progress across the globe.
Machines will evolve into consumers. They’ll use a mix of sensors, software and AI to assess the needs of the people they serve.
Long production cycles will be transformed by micromanufacturing, over-the-air software updates and the work of enthusiast communities and innovators.
Technical advances will enable smaller economies around the world that are unburdened by old, outdated systems to leap forward.
Machines’ shift, from unconnected tools to consumers will be profound. Advances in smart distributed ledgers and AI will enable machines to fulfil human tasks. Intelligent objects will shop and compare products based on quality and cost, as humans do. Washing machines will negotiate with other appliances to prioritise hot water use, detect maintenance issues and even hire local contractors to resolve issues, if needed.
of business leaders would welcome people partnering with machines/robots to surpass our human limitations2
On-demand manufacturing will become the norm. Technology will enable us to turn defects into improvements in real time based on customer feedback and predictivity. Innovation will be democratised and barriers to creating and commercialising products will recede. We’ll witness the rise of ‘meta-making’ – people with limited resources manufacturing and marketing their outputs to a global audience.
of business leaders will use emerging tech to predict customer demand3
5G/6G will deliver hyper-fast wireless connectivity, virtually eliminating network delays.
IoT will generate powerful data insights to better anticipate customer needs.
AI will transform everything – from targeted product creation to rapid authentications and better decision-making.
Blockchain will provide an immutable, transparent data storage mechanism.
Cryptocurrency will be a global payment alternative that is less prone to fraud and settles immediately.
As with any opportunity, challenges will need to be overcome. Our researchers list these:
Breakthrough technologies such as IoT & AI could lead to more intelligent, targeted attacks. Security must be deeply embedded in any IT infrastructure.Making IoT devices secure with AI
Data is growing exponentially. So are risks. Data privacy starts with data protection.Learn more about the Global Data Protection Index
Challenges exist, like bias in AI and failures in autonomous vehicle performance. Humans will need to supervise machines for the best results.Enhancing driverless safety with AI
Organisations use frictions to minimise risk. Without these safeguards, organisations will need to earn and maintain the highest levels of trust.Why a culture of trust is critical for NATO
Technology can and will be exploited. Mitigate this through checks and balances.How organisations can use blockchain to ensure integrity
Automation can eliminate and create jobs, simultaneously. Educate and train so everyone can thrive in this digital future.Creating unlimited educational opportunities with VR
Increased manufacturing can increase our environmental impact. Win the race responsiblyUsing emerging technologies for more sustainability