The Disruptive Dozen

The McKinsey Global Institute has identified 12 rapidly developing technologies that are likely to disturb the status quo by 2025. While these disruptions will benefit consumers, they will create new challenges for workers, businesses, and governments.

SAN FRANCISCO – History is littered with technologies that were once hailed as the next big thing. That can be annoying for consumers when they realize that, say, the quadrophonic stereo they purchased was a waste of money. But when companies bet on the wrong technologies, the consequences can be devastating for them.

In the late 1990’s, for example, the belief that B2B exchanges would prove to be the “killer app” for commerce resulted in the formation of more than 1,500 of them. Most have since vanished, taking billions of dollars in investment with them.

To help cut through the hype that surrounds the arrival of almost all new technologies, the McKinsey Global Institute examined more than 100 rapidly evolving technologies and identified 12 that are almost certain to disturb the status quo in the coming years. The MGI estimates that the combined annual economic impact of this “disruptive dozen” – which span information technology, machinery and vehicles, energy, bioscience, and materials – will reach $14-33 trillion by 2025. Much of this value – in many cases, a significant majority – is likely to accrue to consumers.

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