The Next Big Things

In May, The McKinsey Global Institute released its latest thinking on disruptive technologies. That is, technological advances which have the potential to disrupt the status quo and transform life, business, and the global economy as we know it. Among the dozen technologies mentioned in the report were;

  • Mobile Internet is expected to improve productivity and delivery of service. McKinsey estimated one application – remote health monitoring – could reduce healthcare costs by one-fifth.
  • Automation of knowledge work is a brain twister of a category that encompasses intelligent software systems, which could produce output equal to 110 to 140 million full-time workers.
  • The Cloud delivers services over the Internet or a network. It could improve productivity in IT infrastructure, application development, and packaged software by 15 to 20 percent.
  • Advanced robotics could improve the lives of 50 million people who are missing limbs or have impaired mobility. Also, industrial, manufacturing and service robots may change the face of labour.
  • Autonomous or semi-autonomous vehicles could save 30,000 to 150,000 lives by eliminating potentially fatal traffic accidents.
  • 3-D printing may offer the ability to manufacture custom goods at home, while the medical industry may be able to bioprint tissue and organs in the lab.

According to the report’s authors, these ideas “…can change the game for businesses, creating entirely new products and services, as well as shifting pools of value between producers or from producers to consumers.”