Technology is always evolving and advancing the world's economy. Predicting future developments is important for anyone who wants to make good investments or grow a business long term. In 10 years, many industries will have evolved. New industries will emerge and become a huge part of the global economy. There are already big clues as to which industries will dominate the next decade. Here are the eight industries that will be most revolutionary.
Most of the attention on virtual reality right now has been focused on how it applies to entertainment content (gaming, filming, etc.) However, Mark Zuckerberg believes that VR could surpass all of these categories. In a Bloomberg interview last year, he said that VR is "a good candidate to be the next major computing platform."
Photos are richer than text; video, much richer than photos. But that's not the end, right? I mean, it's like this indefinite continuum of getting closer and closer to being able to capture what a person's natural experience and thought is, and just being able to immediately capture that and design it however you want and share it with whomever you want.
The virtual reality market was worth about $1.9 billion in 2016, but that's expected to climb to $22.4 billion by 2020. Those numbers include both software and hardware sales. And when you factor in AR sales, the market skyrockets even higher. The combined AR and VR market will be worth $121 billion by 2021, according to Digi-Capital.
3D printing is already massively important in manufacturing, but it has only just begun to enter the home market. Like all new technology, home 3D printing devices are expected to dramatically fall in cost over time. Within the next 10 years, many homes will have a 3D printer.
This will have huge repercussions for manufacturing businesses as blueprints for 3D printing products are shared online. Some even predict huge 3D printers could be set up to produce cheap copies of cars. File sharing had a huge impact on the music and movie industries, but the effect of illegally downloaded and reproduced automobiles could be even greater. Major economies, such as those of Germany and Japan, are heavily reliant upon exporting cars.
Widespread 3D printing could have enormous and unpredictable consequences for the global economy.
In recent years, content curation has rapidly emerged as an innovative new marketing tool. An incredible quantity of content is added to the internet each day. Content curation offers value by sifting through this content and guiding people toward things they will be interested in.
Content curation is already an important marketing strategy for a diverse range of businesses. This seems likely to increase in the years ahead. The internet provides access to almost the entire creative output of all human history. Organizing this content may well become more lucrative than adding new content as the world adjusts to the information age.
Data is another digital product which is produced in huge quantities. Data is available on almost every aspect of people's daily lives. Their phones track their movements, bank cards track their purchases, and ISPs track their internet history. Sorting and making sense of this data allows for marketing and product targeting to become far more efficient and responsive to individual differences.
Big technology firms are investing heavily in hiring data scientists and developing improved methods of data analysis. New marketplaces like Algorithmia have emerged, where algorithms and other data organization tools can be bought and sold. As more companies wake up to the importance of data collection and analysis, you can expect this field to grow in value and importance.
Professor Stephen Hawking has warned that the creation of superhuman artificial intelligence would be as dangerous to humanity's long-term survival as the invention of the nuclear weapon. While superhuman intelligence still seems a long way off, humanity is already taking the first steps toward it. AI is constantly being improved and refined. AI's growth is related to the growing importance of data, with data being used as fuel to promote machine learning.
Machine learning allows AI to grow smarter as more information is fed into it. AI and machine learning have already entered the home through the Amazon Echo, while most people have a smartphone equipped with an AI helper such as Siri or Google Assistant. AI is also the driving force behind driverless cars, which are expected to revolutionize our roads in the years to come. AI will make huge advances over the next decade, with many of the world's finest minds working on its development.
While climate change continues to be a politically charged issue in the United States, many of the world's biggest energy firms have realized fossil fuels are yesterday's news. Companies such as Shell are investing huge sums in the development of clean energy, hoping to place themselves at the forefront of this burgeoning field.
Wind and solar power are becoming more efficient and yielding better results every year. A shift to electric cars seems inevitable, with Tesla's market valuation growing exponentially and charging stations becoming more commonplace. Clean energy has been called "the future" for decades. Within the next 10 years, it will probably come of age.
Cryptocurrencies have already proven to be a highly profitable but risky investment. The value of Bitcoin, the most famous cryptocurrency, has increased massively since it was first introduced in 2009.
This rise has been unstable, however, and some economists cast doubt over Bitcoin's long-term viability. Alan Greenspan considers the Bitcoin market to be a speculative bubble. In 2013, Japan's Mt. Gox exchange was responsible for 70 percent of Bitcoin transfers. In an incident that still has no confirmed cause, $450 million worth of Bitcoin suddenly disappeared from the exchange. Some economists and central banks have compared Bitcoin to a Ponzi scheme. Misgivings about cryptocurrency are added to by its anonymous nature and its popularity in transactions for illegal material sold over the dark web.
The legitimacy of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have increased over time. Bitcoin ATMs have appeared in countries across Europe and North America. China has seen massive investment in Bitcoin mining, while the UK and other countries have launched government investigations into how cryptocurrencies might influence the future economy.
Nothing about the future of cryptocurrency is definite, and it's difficult to guess whether Bitcoin and its competitors will thrive or collapse in the next decade. Whatever happens to specific currencies, the general principle of cryptocurrency is almost certain to become more mainstream.
Scientific breakthroughs over the past few decades have deepened humanity's understanding of the causes of many different diseases. As understanding grows, it's becoming clear that there are important differences in how individuals are affected by disease and which treatments they're most likely to respond to. The future of healthcare therefore seems certain to be dependent on bespoke healthcare solutions.
Methods such as DNA analysis can yield clues for which diseases people are likely to suffer from and which forms of treatment are likely to be most effective. Advances in fields such as 3D printing and cloning technology can allow highly targeted and specific solutions to some problems, such as growing or building replacement organs. Bespoke healthcare solutions are an emerging field which are currently at the fringes of healthcare delivery but are certain to enter the mainstream.
These industries are all certain to influence the world immensely over the next 10 years. Recognizing their potential now, and acting to benefit from them, is the best way to ensure long-term success.