21 technology tipping points we will reach by 2030

From driverless cars to robotic workers, the future is going to be here before you know it.

Many emerging technologies that you hear about today will reach a tipping point by 2025, according to a recent report from The World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of Software & Society.

The council surveyed more than 800 executives and experts from the technology sector to share their timeline for when technologies would become mainstream.

From the survey results, the council identified 21 defining moments, all of which they predict will occur by 2030.

Here’s a look at the technological shifts you can expect during the next 14 years.

90% of the population will have unlimited and free data storage by 2018.


Deleting files to make room for files is going to become a thing of the past.

In fewer than three years, about 90% of people will have unlimited and free data storage that will ultimately be ad-supported, according to the report.

We are already seeing some companies offer cheap or completely free service. For example, Google Photos already offers unlimited storage for photos and Amazon will let you store an unlimited amount of whatever you want for just $60 a year.

A big reason companies are able to do this is because hard drive cost per gigabyte continues to fall. This has spurred more data to be created than ever before. According to the report, it's estimated about 90% of all data has been created in just the last two years.

Still, there are signs this may not be the case. Microsoft recently killed its plan that offered unlimited storage on its cloud service OneDrive.

The first robotic pharmacist will arrive in the US 2021.

United States Navy

Robots already have a big presence in the manufacturing industry, but as they become more advanced we will see them enter new service oriented jobs.

In fact, respondents predict that by 2021 we will even have first robot pharmacist in the US.

1 trillion sensors will be connected to the internet by 2022.


Welcome to the internet of things.

As the cost of sensors continues to decline and computing power increases, all kinds of devices will increasingly become connected to the internet. From the clothes you wear to the ground you walk on, everything will come online.

And as early as 2022, its predicted 1 trillion sensors will be connected

According to the report 'every (physical) product could be connected to ubiquitous communication infrastructure, and sensors everywhere will allow people to fully perceive their environment.'

10% of the world's population will be wearing clothes connected to the internet by 2022.


Cars, appliances, and other everyday objects are increasingly becoming more connected to the internet. And not too long from now, even the clothes on our back will get a connection.

By 2022, experts predict that 10% of people will be wearing clothing with embedded chips that connects them to the internet.

This isn't really too surprising seeing as a number of accessories -- including watches and rings -- are already becoming connected. According to the research firm Gartner, about 70 million smartwatches and other bands will be sold in 2015 alone.

The first 3D printed car will be in production by 2022.

Local Motors

3D printers are increasingly becoming more powerful, capable of printing complex objects from all kinds of materials. Many car companies are already using the technology to create prototypes and to more efficiently create specific parts of a vehicle.

Most recently, Audi showed off a miniature sized vehicle it created using its metal printers.

But the automotive startup Local Motors is aiming to begin production on a full size car using 3D printing in the next few years. The company has already created several prototypes, but will begin taking orders for its production model (shown above) in 2016.

The first implantable mobile phone will become commercially available in 2025.

Dangerous Things

Being attached to your smartphone may take on a whole new meaning by 2023.

About 80% of respondents predict that in seven years the first implantable mobile phone will become commercially available.

The device will potentially be able to track a person's health more accurately, while also allowing them to communicate thoughts via brainwaves or signal instead of verbally, according to the report.

Implantable health devices, like pacemakers and cochlear implants, have already become more mainstream. And it's likely we'll see more widespread adoption of implantable technologies emerge before 2025.

The first transplant of a 3D printed liver will occur 2024.

Courtesy of Shapeways

3D printers are already increasingly used in the healthcare industry to create human parts, like bone replacements and organ implants.

Doctors have already used 3D printing to create part of a patient's rib cage and other bone implants. But bioprinting, which combines bioengineering with 3D printing, will also enable researchers and others in the healthcare industry to grow useable artificial organs.

More than 50% of Internet traffic to homes will be from appliances and device by 2024.


As more sensors are deployed and more products become connected to the internet, we will see a big shift in internet traffic.

Currently, most of the internet traffic in home is for personal consumption, whether it be for communication or entertainment. But by 2024, about half of the internet in the home will be used for home automation purposes.

5% of consumer products will be 3D printed.

Peter MacDiarmid/Getty Images

3D printing, also know as additive manufacturing, has already made a lot of inroads with designers and in the manufacturing industry.

But as the printers become less expensive, more powerful, and easier to use, consumers will also increasingly adopt the technology. This will enable them to print things at home on demand.

Demand for the technology has already grown more than it was expected. In 2014, there were 133,000 3D printers sold worldwide, which is a 68% increase from 2013.

30% of corporate audits will be performed by artificial intelligence 2025.

World Economic Forum

AI will increasingly replace a range of jobs performed by people today, including white collar jobs.

Because artificial intelligence is so effective when it comes to matching patterns and automating processes, it's well suited to perform many tasks in large organisations, according to the report.

According to an recent research from the McKinsey Global Institute
, about 45% of activities people are paid to perform can be automated by adapting current technologies. This represents about $2 trillion in annual wages in the US. Furthermore, it's not only low-income, low-skill workers that will be at risk.

According to the McKinsey research, 'even the highest-paid occupations in the economy, such as financial managers, physicians, and senior executives, including CEOs, have a significant amount of activity that can be automated.'

By 2025, AI used in white collar jobs is expected to reach a tipping point and about 30% of corporate audits will be performed by AI.

Globally, more trips will be made using car sharing programs than privately owned cars by 2025.

Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Stringer/Getty Images

The sharing economy has taken off in a big way during the last few years thanks to online marketplaces and mobile apps, but perhaps the best example of the sharing economy in action is in the transportation sector.

Services like Uber, Lyft, and Zipcar have changed how people think about transport and car ownership. It's also forced auto manufacturers to rethink their business models.

And by 2025, 67% of respondents predict that the sharing economy will have grown to the point that more rides taken globally are actually via a car sharing service and not by a privately owned car.

The first AI machine will join a corporate board of directors 2026.

Artificial intelligence will increasingly play a more important role in the business world as a decision making tool.

Because AI can learn from previous situations, it can provide insight and automate complex decision process based on data and past experiences. This means that the robots won't just replace low-wage, low-income jobs. As AI and robotics evolve, we will see more white-collar jobs also begin to be replaced.

According to the survey, the technology will be to the point that the first AI machine will become part of corporate board of directors by 2026.

The first city with more than 50,000 people and no traffic lights will come into existence by 2026.


Infrastructure will also become more connected in the future, giving way to more smart cities. Everything from the footpath and streets to the traffic lights and buildings will be connected to the internet.

Smart cities, like a smart home, will be automated capable of managing their 'energy, material flows, logistics and traffic,' according to the report.

The evolution of connected infrastructure will bring about the first city with a population of 50,000 people and no traffic lights by 2026, according to the report.

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