5 Transformative Tech Trends 2030

Felix Naser
5 min readJan 2, 2021
  • Rise of AI: Increasing white collar job automation
  • Autonomous Driving: It’s finally within reach
  • Robots in the wild: Cleaning, mowing, serving food
  • 3D Internet and digital worlds: Browsing becomes walking through web space
  • New Space Age: Global internet coverage and Mars colonialization

Rise of AI: Increasing white collar job automation

Extended https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Highlights-of-industrial-revolutions_fig1_324952880

Artificial power paved the way for the industrial revolution in 1760s. Subsequently only in the last 200 years the global population grew from 1 to more than 7,5 billion humans. What we saw was not only a rapid population growth but also increased specialization, automation and speed in every industry. Many “blue collar” jobs can more and more be completed by a smart and connected machines. Now we are entering a new area where artificial intelligence starts to enable automation of “white collar” jobs (e.g. software robots / RPA).

Recent advances in the field (e.g. AlphaFold, GPT-3, MuZero) give ideas how far reaching the impacts will be. Diagnostics, material science, factories and office routine jobs already see deep learning powered automation elements to name only a few examples.

Andrew Ng: “AI is the new electricity”

An Oxford study predicted in 2013 that 47% of US jobs are at risk of further automation. At first this might seem like a high number, but in 1900 over 40% of the workforce was employed in agriculture. Now it’s less than 2%.

The 5th industrial revolution “Rise of AI” will again change many of our lives like the other major leaps in technology changed the lives of our grandparents. Let’s try to find opportunities in the change for a better future.

Autonomous Driving: It’s finally within reach

Tesla Autopilot FSD San Francisco to Los Angeles with Zero Interventions https://youtu.be/dQG2IynmRf8

In the recent past we often heard predictions when autonomous driving will be ready for mass deployment. The DARPA challenges and the Google Self-Driving Car Project started in 2009 marked major milestones. Within in the next 10 years it will actually happen. Autonomous driving is finally within reach.

Tesla has reached more than 3 billion miles driven with autopilot activated (reported in Karpathy’s talk beginning of 2020). The new FSD beta release achieved a drive from SF to LA with zero interventions. Google’s Waymo Driver has driven more then 20 million miles on real-world roads. In late 2018 Waymo One launched in Phoenix as a self-driving ride-hailing service.

Both companies also provide safety reports with promising numbers about a safer future on the roads. Tesla Q3/2020 report outtakes:

  • One accident for every 4.59 million miles driven with active Autopilot
  • One accident for every 2.42 million miles driven with only active safety
  • One accident for every 1.79 million miles driven without active safety and Autopilot

By comparison, NHTSA’s most recent data shows that in the United States there is an automobile crash every 479,000 miles.

The disruptive implications of growing autonomous driving fleets will first become real in denser populated urban areas where MaaS business models promise higher recurring revenue streams, but it will surly change our transportation system even beyond the urban boundaries. According to data compiled from the U.S. Census Bureau driving a truck is the most common job in 29 of the 50 United States of America.

Robots in the wild: Cleaning, mowing, serving food

Boston Dynamics https://youtu.be/fn3KWM1kuAw

During the last decades machines and robots mostly got deployed in very defined settings and structured environments such as factories. With the iRobot vacuum cleaner Roomba introduced in 2002 one of the first robots started to enter our homes. The next steps of robotic deployments will be enabled by better and cheaper hardware and smarter software. Robots will start not only to clean the floors, but to serve food, fold laundry, take care of elderly and dance.

3D Internet and digital worlds: Browsing becomes walking through web space

Oculus Quest 2 https://www.oculus.com/quest-2/

Virtual reality might change fundamentally how we interact with the internet. More and larger fractions of our lives will be taking place in online worlds. The browsing and gaming using 2D screens on mobile or desktop devices which we got used to might turn into a more immersive experience. We start walking through virtual shopping malls, try clothing with our avatar and meet friends for movies virtually. Digital twins for factories and industrial applications might introduce similar far reaching impacts on efficiency and operations.

New Space Age: Global internet coverage and Mars colonialization

SpaceX Starman https://youtu.be/aBr2kKAHN6M

Re-usable rockets from SpaceX started to transform the space industry. In the long-term it seems the new space age will enable internet access for everyone around the world, new IoT and edge-computing opportunities. We might even start the Mars colocalization to become as Elon Musk puts an “interplanetary species”.