It might not be the time to worry about armies of Terminators taking over just yet, but a new report by analytics firm Gartner surely gives a nice prelude to a tech-inspired apocalypse. It’s obvious that the digital revolution is well on its way, drastically transforming virtually every aspect of our lives, but Gartner suspects that all which we’re currently witnessing might just be a pre-game warm-up. Here are some of the more interesting and grim predictions the firm has recently made for what awaits us in the next 10 years, regarding technology:
First, it’s time for a 3D printing revolution. Although we might very well claim that the surge of 3D technology is well on its way (with the market expected to grow from $288 million today to almost $6 billion in 2017), many of the printers’ potential uses are still left somewhat underdeveloped. But that’s all about to change in the coming years, starting with Bioprinting: the practice of 3D printed tissues and organs, which is expected to revolutionize medicine, but also create a global outcry about the ethics and the regulations of this controversial method. Furthermore, 3D printing is expected to cause at least a $100 billion loss in intellectual property per year from now on. This will especially hurt small businesses, whose innovative ideas the company relies on for profit can now be stolen and reproduced easier than ever.
It’s not looking good for our data security either. Gartner predicts that firms and governments will fail to protect about 75% of our most sensitive data by year 2020. Also, as we’re currently getting more used to the idea, about 80% of consumers are probably going to be willing to trade their private information for a certain type of benefit. We are also to expect a rise in supercomputers, PCs that are learning, and a boom in wearable devices.
But probably the most alarming prediction of the report is that the digital revolution is going to leave millions jobless. Trends like machines learning and 3D printers are going to decrease the need for actual workers, essentially killing the middle classes. For example, Kodak used to employ 130000 workers: Instagram employs 13. And of course, when you only have a small layer of rich people on top and a vast wasteland of the poor below, social unrest is more than likely to occur. Gartner says movements resembling Occupy Wall Street are going to become a worldwide trend starting with 2014.