Technology is moving so quickly, and in so many directions, that it becomes challenging to even pay attention – we are victims of “next new thing” fatigue. Yet technology advancement continues to drive economic growth and, in some cases, unleash disruptive change. Economically disruptive technologies – like the semiconductor microchip, the Internet, or steam power in the Industrial Revolution – transform the way we live and work, enable new business models, and provide an opening for new players to upset the established order. Business leaders and policy makers need to identify potentially disruptive technologies, and carefully consider their potential, before these technologies begin to exert their disruptive powers in the economy and society.
In this report, the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) assesses the potential reach and scope, as well as the potential economic impact and disruption of major rapidly advancing technology areas. Through extensive research, we sort through the noise to identify 12 technology areas with the potential for massive impact on how people live and work, and on industries and economies. We also attempt to quantify the potential economic impact of each technology across a set of promising applications in 2025.