Home / Blog / Megatrends for this decade – XLV

Megatrends for this decade – XLV

I created this diagram to show the mutual relationships among all Megatrends presented. Line thickness indicates the strength of the impact of one Megatrend on the other. The direction of the impact is shown by the green (impact of this Megatrend on the ones connected) and red arrows (impact of the other Megatrends on this one).

Discussing the set of Megatrends with a number of people, both from academia and industry, it became clear that these are not independent trends, they are influencing one another. This of course is not a surprise, whenever one is trying to peer into the future several factors have t obe taken into account. Hence, the discussions were not just on how much likely a Megatrend is rather on how each one could reinforce others or be reinforced by others.

I decided to work on a 0 to 10 scale, 0 signifying no impact of one on the other 10 a sort of strong dependency, and asked several people what is their perception of dependency and then I averaged out the responses. The result is presented in the circular diagram (you can draw these types of diagram using the Circos web service). If you have comments please send them to me. I will be taking all into account and revise the diagram. The more feedback I can get, the better!

The present diagram may look quite complicated but it is easy to derive some quick messages:

  1. The Future of Work, not unexpectedly, is the one having most impact on several Megatrends and it is the one impacted by almost all of them (index of 73). Notice in particular the impact that AI – Human collaboration and AI matching Human Intelligence are expected to have on the Future of Work. Interestingly, the availability of seamless real time language translation is expected to have a significant impact on Future of Work (but this may be a bias introduced by my discussions with CEOs and CTOs that are involved in global markets… so that in the large this Megatrend might have a smaller impact).
  2. A good second in terms of impact is -both- AI matching human intelligence (index 56) and AI-Human collaboration (index 53). Interesting to note that the AI – Human collaboration will be impacted by several other Megatrends, the biggest impact, obviously, from the Future of Work, with a good second provided by the increasing role of AR and the Spatial Web and a third by Ubiquitous Sensing and Knowledge.
  3. The Capital Abundance will be affecting most Megatrends (index 46), sustaining/accelerating them with a medium impact on Renewable Energy (investment, particularly Governments driven will sustain the exploitation of renewable sources, on Future of Workforce where investment will result in increase automation, on Gigabit Comm Infrastructures (5G deployment, Clouds, …) and Healthcare (in part as consequence of the pandemic experience). On the other hand there will be little if none impact of Megatrends on the availability of capital with the sole exception of a tiny contribution from the change in Workforce usage (automation is bound to free some capital resources over the medium term, thus increasing capital availability in a few industries).
  4. Future of Healthcare, genomics, tele-health and personalisation come immediately after (index 42) in terms of being most impact by other Megatrends, in particular by the expected Increasing LifeSpan (here it goes both ways, since better healthcare will result in an increased LifeSpan, showing that solutions are generating problems…). Here I would have expected the perception of a bigger role/impact from the Gigabit Comm Infrastructure. The impact is clear but not as big as one might have expected. The basic reason is that -at least for the people in the medial area I interacted with- the current communication infrastructure is ok and whatever comes on top is fine but not essential. The same goes in the opposite direction: healthcare demand will be “pushing” the evolution of the Gbit communication infrastructure but in a very marginal way. The implication is that what is being heard on 5G as a silver bullet for the future of Healthcare is (mostly) marketing.
  5. AR and the Spatial Web are also expected to have significant impact on several other Megatrends (index 41) and will be impacted by several others (index 37). Here the strongest relation is with the AI-Human collaboration with AR and the Spatial Web expected to play a bridging role between the two. Here the availability of pervasive and performant Gigabit Comm infrastructure will accelerate and sustain the evolution.

Looking forward to your comments!

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and then was head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital up to September 2018. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the New Initiative Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He is a member of the IEEE in 2050 Ad Hoc Committee. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books.

One comment