With a little help from the McKinsey Global Institute, today I want to jump forward to the year 2025 and look at what technologies we know about today that I think will be having a larger impact on our world by 2025, a time when the world population is predicted to hit 8 Billion!
Start with Mobile Internet. No big surprise here. As you walk down the streets we see lots of Millennials with their eyes glued to the screen. Already Mobile Internet has surpassed fixed line Internet usage (not what NBN Co wants to hear) and this trend will continue. With ubiquity of connection and more than half the use of social media and Web browsing undertaken on mobile devices, this will have a major impact on the world economy. I can’t even imagine what our phones and mobile devices will do by 2025 – compare the phones we used in 2006 (the year before the iPhone launch) to the phones we use today. Then imagine another eight years of development. Wearables; more services delivered in a mobile format; developing countries taking advantage of the format…my brain hurts thinking about how this will advance.
Already we are seeing the jobs of ‘Knowledge Workers’ and ‘Information Workers’ not just threatened but being replaced by automation. Yesterday it was announced that six-thousand NAB employees start leaving from this week as software takes over increasingly complex tasks. With nine per cent of the global workforce employed in this sector and computing power continuing to increase in line with Moore’s Law, the year 2025 will come way too soon for many people in this sector.
I have spoken before about the Internet of Things and some of the possible implications of IoT but I don’t think I have enough imagination to see how this will look in seven years. The prediction is that there will be one trillion ‘things’ connected to the Internet by the year 2025. This will include many physical items such as infrastructure; manufacturing items; delivery systems and vehicles but it will also include humans. In fact, there are humans now that are being remotely monitored with IoT devices.
The cloud still confuses many people (not readers of this column, of course) and it can be a throwaway line when people are not sure what they are talking about BUT the current estimates are that owning your own infrastructure is three times more expensive than renting the same equipment in the cloud. It is also noteworthy that eighty per cent of businesses in the US have critical applications hosted in the cloud.
Robotics have been used in industry for some time. There would barely be a car on the road today that didn’t use some form of robotics in its manufacturing process. When a repetitive task needs to be completed a large number of times with incredible precision for a long period of time, you can’t go past a robot. More complex tasks? Not so much…or so I thought! Boston Dynamics have just demonstrated a robot that can turn the handle of a traditional door whilst also dealing with interruptions and disturbances from a human. This is a major breakthrough. It will pave the way for robots to help around the house just like Rosie from the Jetsons. Not today, probably not tomorrow but by 2025 – quite probably.
I will group the last two items on the list together because, although they are separate, they work together. Photovoltaic cells have decreased in price by ninety per cent per watt since the year 2000 and lithium-ion batteries have decreased in price by forty per cent per kWh since 2009. Combine these two technologies and you will see a more distributed power network relying less on fossil fuels. For the environment, 2025 can’t come soon enough.
When I look at this brief snapshot of some of the technologies that will transform the global economy by 2025, I then start to put them together. Think for the moment of ubiquitous 5G mobile connections combined with distributed solar power and long-life batteries, throw in cloud applications and top it off with a dash of IoT and you get…I can’t think any more because my mind has been blown with possibilities. Tune in next week to see if I have recovered.