Global Agenda Council on the Future of Software & Society
Technology Tipping Points
and Societal Impact
Survey Report, September 2015
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4 Survey Methodology Victoria Espinel Software has the potential to drastically change our lives.
5 The Six Megatrends
6 Survey Results Chair, Global Earlier this year, the World Economic Forum’s Global
8 The Tipping Points (Shifts) Agenda Council Agenda Council on the Future of Software and Society
8 1: Implantable on the Future of set out to help people prepare for changes enabled by
Technologies Software & Society software. We found 21 examples of these that will have far-
9 2: Our Digital Presence World Economic reaching impacts on human health, the environment, global
10 3: Vision as the New Forum commerce and international relations.
Interface President and Chief We are entering a time of momentous societal shifts
11 4: Wearable Internet Executive Officer brought on by advancements in software. According to Erik
12 5: Ubiquitous Computing BSA | The Software Brynjolfsson, Council Vice-Chair; Director, MIT Initiative on
13 6: A Supercomputer in Alliance, USA the Digital Economy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
Your Pocket USA, and a prolific author: “Now comes the second
machine age. Computers and other digital advances are
15 7: Storage for All doing for mental power – the ability to use our brains to
16 8: The Internet of and for understand and shape our environments – what the steam
engine and its descendants did for muscle power.”
17 9: The Connected Home
18 10: Smart Cities These changes will impact people around the world.
19 11: Big Data for Decisions Inventions previously seen only in science fiction, such as
20 12: Driverless Cars artificial intelligence, connected devices and 3D printing,
21 13: Artificial Intelligence will enable us to connect and invent in ways we never
have before. Businesses will automate complicated tasks,
and Decision-Making reduce production costs and reach new markets. Continued
22 14: AI and White-Collar growth in internet access will further accelerate change.
In Sub-Saharan Africa and other underdeveloped regions,
Jobs connectivity has the potential to redefine global trade, lift
23 15: Robotics and Services people out of poverty and topple political regimes. And
24 16: Bitcoin and the for many of us, seemingly simple software innovations will
transform our daily routines. These changes are not without
Blockchain their challenges; as technology improves the lives of many,
25 17: The Sharing Economy we hope to help prepare people to understand and address
26 18: Governments and the concerns on privacy, security and job disruption.
Blockchain I would like to thank my colleagues who serve on the Global
27 19: 3D Printing and Agenda Council on the Future of Software & Society for their
efforts to help people around the world better understand
Manufacturing and prepare for these shifts. This report is a small first step
29 20: 3D Printing and Human in understanding the changes that lie ahead. We hope it will
provide important insights to consider as we navigate the
Health complex issues related to changing technologies.
30 21: 3D Printing and
32 Cross-Cutting Impacts