Whether it’s Gordon Moore coming up with Moore’s law or it’s Ray Kurzweil discussing what our future will look like in 50 years, the one thing that all inventors and futurists seem to agree on is that technology advances at an exponential rate.
This means that more than 90 percent of the technology that we will have within the next 50 years will have been invented during those 50 years.
Over the past decade, we have seen evidence of this: Blockchain has taken the world by storm. AI has infiltrated every business. And, big data has become the new buzzword every business manager likes to talk about.
And, what’s even more evident is the effect technology has on our lives. Today, the ride-sharing business, a business built on IoT technology, has upended the ride-hailing industry, upsetting the livelihood of many a cab driver. Google, a search engine whose sole purpose is to index the internet and make it browsable, has become one of the largest companies in the world; the word Google itself has made it into our lexicon, becoming both a noun and a verb. Odds are you found this article by “googling” what new industries will be disrupted in the new decade?
Speaking of which, we have just entered a new decade, which forces us to ask ourselves: Given all the technological advancements around us, which industries are bound to get disrupted over the next ten years?
The real estate industry
According to some estimates, the commercial real estate market in the United States alone was estimated to be 16 trillion dollars during 2018.
Yet, despite the colossal size of this market, the real estate industry has largely remained undisrupted over the past few decades.
The traditional model is inefficient. Commissions are usually around six percent, and there are so many agents and brokers scrambling to get clients that all the competition saps everyone’s productivity.
The problem is that all the agents and brokerages are offering the same thing, which means that their services have become commoditized.
The good news is that as technology starts infiltrating the industry, streamlining processes and increasing automation, the margins will shrink.
What’s more, seeing as real estate firms tend to spend money on both online and offline advertising more than almost any other type of firm, any disruption within the media industry is bound to reverberate through the real estate industry.
Financial and legal industries
Both the financial and legal industries have seen their fair share of disruption over the past few years.
Intelligent chatbots have enhanced customer service. Machine learning has been instrumental in detecting fraud as well as analyzing contracts. Blockchain has given us new ways of moving money around as well as ways of entering contracts and enforcing them.
So, is there any more disruption to be had within these two industries?
Well, the answer is yes.
The financial sector is murky to outsiders at best, yet it is these very same outsiders who fuel the industry with their money. Hence, there is plenty of room for change.
For investing to become a more inclusive activity, the industry must become more transparent and its processes need to be more straightforward. Also, education is key as the new wave of investors, Millennial, are at a loss on what they should do with their money.
As for the legal industry, it is a complicated, intricate industry with its experts charging exorbitant fees to anyone needing their services.
So, any company that manages to offer its services at a reduced price with the help of technology will appeal to a much wider, cost-sensitive market and will be able to disrupt the industry.
The education industry
The education industry is tricky. On the one hand, companies working in this sector should expect to make a profit and a healthy one at that. On the other hand, we want to offer education to all our kids and to make it affordable to the parents.
We also want to offer our kids the best opportunities to flourish, which means giving them access to the best education facilities.
Before we can look at how the education industry is likely to change, let’s look at where it is today.
Our current approach of mass education that we offer our children, one born out of a one-size-fits-all mentality, has proven detrimental.
It doesn’t take into account the unique capabilities of our kids nor does it help them flourish in the fields that interest them the most.
Another problem is that public schools tend to suffer from overcrowded classes, and, to make matters worse, the school itself can’t afford to offer the students the latest facilities.
With the help of technology, a lot of this is bound to change.
For starters, AI can help teachers offer students more personalized lessons, catering to their unique interests.
Also, technologies like AR and VR can help students who lack access to the cutting edge facilities that can make all the difference between a star pupil and one barely grasping the lesson.
Healthcare and insurance industries
In most countries of the world, talking about the healthcare industry without talking about the insurance industry would be ignoring a very big part of the puzzle; the two are so intertwined that any disruption in one of them is bound to affect the other.
Unfortunately, the healthcare system in the US is broken, and the insurance system covering healthcare is a big part of the problem. Granted, there are no easy solutions, but this is why any innovation within these two sectors can reap huge rewards.
For instance, with the help of wearable and IoT, entrepreneurs can help people look after their own health rather than having to go to the doctor regularly.
This is bound to become all the more valuable over the next few decades given the aging population, the frequent changes in reimbursements, and the uncertainty regarding payers and their financial stability.
Another excellent example is how AI is being used to help doctors diagnose patients. It ensures that doctors make fewer mistakes and, when combined with wearable, helps them diagnose their patients without ever having to admit them to a hospital.
As for the insurance industry, it can take a leaf out of the financial industry’s book and go digital. Companies working in the insurance sector can offer mobile solutions along with solutions that take inspiration from the FinTech space.
If insurance companies can learn to offer Millennial online, direct, instant, and cheap policies, ones that don’t require an agent or an office to sell, then there will be plenty of money to be made.
The automotive industry
The automotive industry has always been one of the main benefactors of technological innovation.
Starting with Henry Ford and his introduction of the assembly line into his factories, to modern car companies like Tesla and their introduction of self-driving technology into their vehicles, car manufacturers have always clamored to infuse their cars with the latest technology and to upgrade their factories with the latest specs.
Now, as we are entering a new decade, we are also entering a new industrial age: Industry 4.0. This is an age where technologies like AI, blockchain, and IoT will come to dominate. So, seeing how this new industrial age will invigorate the automotive industry should be interesting.
In the future, it might be the norm to see an autonomous car whizz silently through the streets.
(If you haven’t guessed it by now, the car of the future will probably be electric).
Perhaps, street signs will be a thing of the past because cars will be able to communicate with one another.
What will the future be like?
Whenever Ray Kurzweil gives a talk about the future of technology, he makes an interesting observation:
Even though technology evolves at an exponential rate, we, as humans, are only able to envision the future linearly.
This means that we implicitly assume that whatever advancements we see over the next ten years will parallel the ones we’ve seen during the last decade. But, empirical evidence shows just how wrong this assumption is.
What this means is that no matter how hard we try to figure out what the future will look like, all our conjectures will fall short of reality.
And, while we should get excited about a future that is bound to exceed our wildest expectations, it never harms to imagine what this future may look like and start preparing for it today.
Author Bio: Heather Redding is a content manager for rent, hailing from Aurora. She loves to geek out writing about wearable, IoT and other hot tech trends. When she finds the time to detach from her keyboard, she enjoys her Kindle library and a hot coffee. Reach out to her on Twitter.