While no one can say for certain what the future holds for technology, it’s not hard for us to imagine what that future might look like. New technologies are designed, developed, and brought to market at an exponential pace. The iPhone, for example, has had more than 10 variations and upgrades brought to market since its first model debuted nearly 11 years ago. One could argue cell phones have become a basic necessity of everyday life in this day and age. This is important to note as we consider how we’ll invest in technology in the future. It’s these “basic necessities” that provide insight into which industries are likely to remain relevant in the future, prompting investment in technological innovation as a result. In this article, I’ll examine 5 of these specific industries and why they’re relevant to how we’ll invest in technology in the future.
Even if 20 years from now we’re able to teleport wherever we want to in the world, it’s safe to say this form of transportation and technology would change the world (and likely make whoever brought it to market extremely wealthy). As long as the human race exists, people and goods will need to get from point A to point B to keep society and the economy moving forward – literally.
We’ve already seen tremendous advancement and innovation in the transportation sector, from ride-hailing taxi services like Uber and Lyft to completely electric, luxury sports cars from Tesla. With the world population expected to add another 1.2 billion people by 2030 and 2.4 billion by 2050, we will be forced to pinpoint and develop much more efficient means of mass transportation simply out of necessity. This will could include autonomous vehicles at some, “hyperloops” similar to what Elon Musk is developing, or even flying cars. No one really knows what course it will take in 20 years, but we can certainly assume transportation and technologies around it will still exist on massive scales.
Transportation does not exist without infrastructure. Highways and roads, for example, provide the paths for people and goods to move between different places. Buildings, on the other hand, provide a sheltered environment to live and work, seek medical treatment, and transact business amongst each other. Power stations generate the electricity needed to power our lives from the lights in our homes and offices to motors in our vehicles. As long as human society can continue to evolve and innovate, infrastructure will continue to play an integral part in its growth and expansion. As a result, society’s increasing needs will require an endless pursuit of efficiency and perfection in execution. This translates to always needing to make investments in infrastructure and the technology that will power the cities of the future.
3. Medical Treatment and Facilities
Our innate human instinct to persevere and survive at all costs has motivated the creation of faster, safer, and more effective treatments for various diseases and illnesses, and cleaner, safer, and more effective facilities to provide such treatments and handle emergencies. We’ve already accomplished many medical feats from being able to transplant organs between bodies to curing life-threatening diseases to being able to keep a patient alive with blood flowing around their body while their heart is not even beating.
As long as there is life, there will be new technological tools to study the workings of life and death in the human body, discover new treatments, and improve the overall care being provided. With gene editing now a very real possibility, we can only imagine what medical treatments and technologies will be like 20 years from and how much they’ll improve our lives, but it’s safe to say there will be a need for these technologies and that need will be filled by investing in companies trying to answer those questions and solve those problems.
4. Space Travel
While space travel has not made it to the masses yet, it is already being invested in by the likes of Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk. According to Fortune, Bezos has been open about his vision of future space travel, stating that “the Earth should be zoned for residential and light industrial use, while much of the heavy industry will move to other planets or the moon”. He certainly makes a good point here considering the climate change we are experiencing right now as a result of industrial pollution and a growing world population. Protecting our planet will ultimately require much more action to be taken and new technologies to be developed to be successful. We’re already entering a new era of space travel and exploration, but there’s still such a long way to go. In 20 years, it’s likely we’ll still be pursuing space travel technology and attempting to use it to for our well-being and survival.
With computers and artificial intelligence becoming more and more integrated into our lives, it’s very likely we’ll still be investing in the creation of software 20 years from now. Why? Because software drives nearly every digital platform and every device we use on a daily basis. eCommerce, for example, requires the internet (infrastructure) and web-based software that comprises the web pages, content, and tools that make it all possible in the first place. As the internet and the technology around it improved and became more prevalent amongst households, eCommerce retail exploded. In 2003, once broadband internet had become commonplace amongst households, eCommerce sales were expected to top $95 billion for that year. Today, 15 years later, sales have already topped more than $450 billion per year and increased more than 16% from last year. None of this would’ve happened without all the web-based software and infrastructure developments that have happened since people first started shopping on the internet.
No one knows for certain what our future holds from a technological standpoint, but we can be certain it’ll continue to advance and grow. Miraculous and unexpected discoveries take place that changes the course of history. As we develop new technologies, we’re able to learn and discover more than we did before. It’s an exponential process. At its core, however, technology is created to fulfill basic needs and desires. As long as humans exist, their basic needs and desires will exist, leading to an ever growing need to invest in technology.
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Chad Rixse grew up in Anchorage, Alaska, but has lived in the Seattle area since 2007. He majored in Spanish at the University of Washington where he honed his fluency in the language and discovered his passion for travel and connecting with other cultures. He’s a self-professed golf addict who can never seem to get his fill despite still struggling to break 100.