The future of the economy

    • The dawn of a friction-free economy?

      Technology is driving human progress. Our increasingly interwoven partnership with machines has opened up new opportunities for organizations across the globe.

      Today, 82% of business leaders expect to see integrated teams of humans and machines working within their organizations 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


      In the next decade, technology will transform many of the fundamentals of commerce and production. Find out how to lead through this change successfully and why you need to prepare today.


      Shifting towards the economy of 2030

      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 as consumers

      Machines’ shift, from unconnected tools to consumers will be profound. Advances in smart distributed ledgers and AI will enable machines to fulfill human tasks. Intelligent objects will shop and compare products based on quality and cost, as humans do. Laundry machines will negotiate with other appliances to prioritize 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



    • Anticipatory production

      Demand on-the-fly

      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 democratized and barriers to creating and commercializing 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



    • Five technologies shaping the economic future

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      5G & 6G

      5G/6G will deliver hyper-fast wireless connectivity, virtually eliminating network delays.

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      IoT will generate powerful data insights to better anticipate customer needs.

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      AI will transform everything – from targeted product creation to rapid authentications and better decision-making.

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      Blockchain will provide an immutable, transparent data storage mechanism.

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      Cryptocurrency will be a global payment alternative, that is less prone to fraud and settles immediately.

    • Preparing for a friction-free economy

      As with any opportunity, challenges will need to be overcome. Our researchers list these:

      • Realizing the digital future

        Our research has shown that technology has the potential to redraw our economy for the better by 2030. However, a friction-free economy is not guaranteed. To realize these forecasts, organizations will need  to lay the groundwork for their digital future today.