Deleting files to make room for files is going to become a thing of the past. In less than three years, about 90% of people will have unlimited and free data storage that will ultimately be ad-supported, according to the report.
We are already seeing some companies offer cheap or completely free service. For example, Google Photos already offers unlimited storage for photos and Amazon will let you store an unlimited amount of whatever you want for just $60 a year.
A big reason companies can do this is because hard drive cost per gigabyte continues to fall. This has spurred more data to be created than ever before. According to the report, it's estimated about 90% of all data has been created in just the last two years.
Still, there are signs this may not be the case. Microsoft recently killed its plan that offered unlimited storage on its cloud service OneDrive.
Robots already have a big presence in the manufacturing industry, but as they become more advanced we will see them enter new service-oriented jobs.
As the cost of sensors continues to decline and computing power increases, all kinds of devices will increasingly become connected to the internet. From the clothes you wear to the ground you walk on, everything will come online.
According to the report, it's predicted 1 trillion sensors will be connected as early as 2022. “Every (physical) product could be connected to ubiquitous communication infrastructure, and sensors everywhere will allow people to fully perceive their environment.”
Cars, appliances, and other everyday objects are increasingly becoming more connected to the internet. And not too long from now, even the clothes on our back will get a connection.
By 2022, experts predict that 10% of people will be wearing clothing with embedded chips that connects them to the internet.
This isn’t really too surprising seeing as a number of accessories — including watches and rings— are already becoming connected.
3D printers are increasingly becoming more powerful and capable of printing complex objects from all kinds of materials. Many car companies are already using 3D printing to create prototypes and to more efficiently create specific parts of a vehicle.
Most recently, Audi showed off a miniature vehicle it created using its metal printers. And the automotive startup Local Motors is aiming to begin production on a full-size car using 3D printing in the next few years. The company has already created several prototypes, and plans to sell a production model (shown above).
About 80% of respondents predict that in seven years, the first implantable mobile phone will become commercially available. The device will potentially be able to track a person’s health more accurately, while also allowing them to communicate thoughts via brainwaves or signal instead of verbally, according to the report.
Implantable health devices, like pacemakers and cochlear implants, have already become more mainstream. And it's likely we'll see more widespread adoption of implantable technologies emerge before 2025.
As collecting, managing, and understanding data becomes easier, governments may move away from old methods of collecting information and begin to rely more on big data technologies to automate programs.
According to the report, this is going to happen sooner than later. More than 80% of respondents estimate that the first government will replace the census with big-data systems by 2023.
Some countries, including Canada, have already began experimenting with pulling back on traditional census methods; however, no country has completely replaced the system yet.
Interacting with the world around you will become a lot different when connected glasses become more common.
86% of survey respondents predict connected eyewear will become common by 2023. The technology will allow wearers to have direct access to internet applications optimized for an enhanced or augmented reality experience. Eye-tracking technology will also let them to control the interface hands-free.
Google, of course, already introduced similar technology with Google Glass and is currently working on connected contact lenses.
Respondents estimate that by 2023, more than 80% of the global population will have a digital presence. According to the report “digital life is becoming inextricably linked with a person’s physical life,” and will only continue to grow in importance.
Companies like Facebook and Google are pushing this effort ahead with various projects to connect remote parts of the world to the internet.
Digital currencies, like Bitcoin, use a mechanism called the blockchain to perform transactions. The blockchain is essentially a shared public ledger that everyone can inspect and no single person controls. Those using the system keep it up to date to continuously keep track of transactions.
The blockchain technology, though, holds promise beyond Bitcoin. Some have proposed using the technology for public databases, like titles to land or other goods. According to recent article from the Economist, the NASDAQ is even about to start using the technology to record trading in securities of private companies.
Blockchain technology is expected to reach its tipping point in the next few years, and by 2023, it's predicted that the first government will collect taxes using the technology.
Around the world people are increasingly using their smartphones more than PCs, and in developing nations people are becoming connected to the internet for the first time via their mobile phone. As smartphones gain computing power and the price continues to fall, the speed of adoption will only accelerate.
The number of global smartphone subscribers is estimated to breach 50% penetration by 2017, and by 2023, about 90% of the population will be connected via smartphone.
According to the survey, 79% of respondents predict that by 2024, most of the world will have regular internet access.
Tech giants like Google and Facebook are currently coming up with creative solutions to connect the remaining 4 billion people who don’t have access to the internet. Facebook’s Internet.org is using drones to beam internet down to Earth from satellites and Google’s Project Loon is using giant balloons that float in the atmosphere to connect remote parts of the world.
3D printers are already increasingly used in the healthcare industry to create human parts, like bone replacements and organ implants. Doctors have already used 3D printing to create part of a patient's rib cage and other bone implants.
But bioprinting, which combines bioengineering with 3D printing, will also enable researchers and others in the healthcare industry to grow usable artificial organs.
As more sensors are deployed and more products become connected to the internet, we will see a big shift in internet traffic.
Currently, most of the internet traffic in home is for personal consumption, whether it be for communication or entertainment. But by 2024, about half of the internet in the home will be used for home automation purposes.
3D printing, also know as additive manufacturing, has already made a lot of inroads with designers and in the manufacturing industry.
But as the printers become less expensive, more powerful, and easier to use, consumers will also increasingly adopt the technology. This will enable them to print things at home on demand.
Demand for the technology has already grown more than it was expected. In 2014, there were 133,000 3D printers sold worldwide, which is a 68% increase from 2013.
AI will increasingly replace a range of jobs performed by people today, including white collar jobs. Because artificial intelligence is so effective when it comes to matching patterns and automating processes, it’s well suited to perform many tasks in large organizations, according to the report.
According to recent research from the McKinsey Global Institute, about 45% of activities people are paid to perform can be automated by adapting current technologies. This represents about $2 trillion in annual wages in the US.
But it’s not only low-income, low-skill workers that will be at risk. According to the McKinsey research, “even the highest-paid occupations in the economy, such as financial managers, physicians, and senior executives, including CEOs, have a significant amount of activity that can be automated.”
By 2025, AI used in white-collar jobs is expected to reach a tipping point and about 30% of corporate audits will be performed by AI.
The sharing economy has taken off in a big way over the last few years thanks to online marketplaces and mobile apps. But perhaps the best example of the sharing economy in action is in the transportation sector.
Services like Uber, Lyft, and Zipcar have changed how people think about transportation and car ownership. It’s also forced auto manufacturers to rethink their business models.
By 2025, 67% of respondents predict that the sharing economy will have grown to the point that more rides taken globally are actually via a car-sharing service, and not by a privately-owned car.
Autonomous cars have the potential to dramatically increase safety, decrease emissions, and change models of transportation.
Tech companies like Google and Uber, as well as traditional automakers like Toyota, General Motors, and Volkswagen, are all currently working on self-driving cars. But respondents predict that it will be 2026 before the 10% of all cars are driverless in the US.
Artificial intelligence will increasingly play a more important role in the business world as a decision making tool.
Because AI can learn from previous situations, it can provide insight and automate complex decision process based on data and past experiences. This means that robots won't just replace low-wage, low-income jobs. As AI and robotics evolve, we will see more white-collar jobs also begin to be replaced.
According to the survey, the technology will get so advanced that the first AI machine will become part of a corporate board of directors by 2026.
Infrastructure will also become more connected in the future, giving way to more smart cities. Everything from the sidewalk and streets to the traffic lights and buildings will be connected to the internet.
Smart cities, like a smart home, will be automated capable of managing their “energy, material flows, logistics and traffic,” according to the report.
The evolution of connected infrastructure will bring about the first city with a population of 50,000 people and no traffic lights by 2026, according to the report.