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Page | Last updated: 13 Feb 2023

Accelerating technological change and hyperconnectivity

There is a growing impact of technology and digital connectivity on how we live, from how we socialize and work, to production and governance.

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(© Photo by Alex Knight on Unsplash)


A Megatrend is a long-term driving force that is observable now and will continue to have a global impact in years to come


Technology is changing the nature and speed of scientific discoveries and transforming systems of production, management and governance, but also the way we learn, socialize and work. ‘Hyperconnectivity’ is a term that is used to define the connectivity that exists in the digital world and the interaction between devices, computers and data, all of them linked through the internet. Technology is taking giant steps forward and through it, we are building connections between reality and the digital world, to the point of creating new realities in the digital world. Many call this 'the metaverse', a term for describing the emerging virtual space where humans experience life in ways they can't in the physical world.

Increasing interlinkages between technology and the life sciences is leading to the production of synthetic life forms and different ways of human enhancement (see also the Health megatrend). Regulation related to the development and use of technology everywhere, is becoming a pressing challenge, due to ethical concerns, especially in fields such as bioengineering and artificial intelligence. Technology as a geopolitical tool and the need to guarantee strategic autonomy in critical technologies and materials will drive the efforts of the major world players.

The decarbonisation of industrial processes through technology, and technology adoption in farming will be key to meeting climate targets. New methods of transport and sources to fuel them are emerging through innovation and technological advances. The electrification of transport could help to reduce pollution, but puts pressure on energy systems due to increasing demand. Business opportunities in Space are driving innovation there (for eg asteroid mining, or by providing communication possibilities through satellites), but present sovereignty and pollution issues. Who owns Space?  The increasing space traffic is leaving a large amount of debris floating around - dangerous objects for future space activities.

This Megatrend is part of the Megatrends Hub



The driving forces of a Megatrend change over time. This timeline indicates more established and newer trends that are influencing the future direction of the Megatrend

Technology Megatrend Timeline diagram

They indicate a direction of change in values and needs which is driven by forces and manifests itself already in various ways within certain groups in society. 

Great power, great risk

Collecting and analysing big data is creating wonderful opportunities for society. However, the growing level of digitalization of society and our increased dependence on digital technologies is making us more vulnerable to cyberattacks. A cyberattack can be defined as the exploitation of vulnerabilities (weaknesses) in digital assets (e.g. computers, or networks), for a particular goal (e.g. money, or service disruption). In the last decade we have witnessed how cyberattacks can cause massive disruptions of public healthcare services, put the lives of people in danger, and how it can compromise the personal data of hundreds of millions of citizens, governments and industrial processes. The benefits brought by the digital transformation and ‘Big Data’ ownership need to be protected against the potential negative impacts that future cyberattacks could cause for society. Quantum technologies are a perfect example of 'great power and great risks', considering their disruptive potential.

What reality do I exist in?

Digital Twins are virtual replicas of real objects, systems, or processes that are kept synchronized with the physical entity by means of a set of data streams and data-driven Artificial Intelligence models. The Digital Twin idea began in the manufacturing sector, and is now being adopted by all sectors of society and used to generate intelligence and make society ‘smart’. Virtual versions of real cities and local 'Digital Twins' can be used to design and test local development strategies and for e.g. help make cities and local areas greener, more sustainable and fairer. Domotics (home or building automation) makes virtual versions of household appliances and can connect all the technical facilities in a house to a ‘building management system’, aiming to make life more efficient and pleasant.

Enhancing life forms through technology

‘Wearables’ are tools and sensor devices that are used to measure or detect events occurring inside or outside of the human body. Wearables can be health-oriented devices, or military style sensors (such as those that detect chemicals), or robotics which function in human 'enhancement', 'replacement' or 'repair' (of function). These areas are finding more and more applications.

Competition in Space

There are new business opportunities out there in Space. New actors, in particular private companies and government space organisations are entering the field of space exploration. Asteroids can contain very valuable minerals, thereby offering possibilities for asteroid mining. This could lead to a new 'wild west' of corporations fighting to get their hands on the valuable minerals in Space, or providing means for leisure space travel. 

Making the twin transition a reality

Future mobility i.e. they way we will travel around in the future will be transformed by technological innovation. Humans are used to having goods delivered to their doors at home and they are also used to being able to travel to different locations relatively easily. Cars and trains and aeroplanes have been very common and transformative transport tools this past century. The different modes of transport require control by a human. Even though aeroplanes have had ‘autopilots’ controlling take off, flying and landing for many decades, real human pilots have had to be present alongside on the flights. This is on track to change.


Previously Covered Trends

These are trends that were spotted in the past, and might have grown or faded away in time.

-    Hyperconnectivity
-    Space research
-    Blockchain
-    Physical digital integration
-    Computer processing & energy saving


Future Snapshots

A future snapshot shows a plausible image of what might happen in the future in relation to this Megatrend. It is a creation built using knowledge and imagination. These snapshots presented here are excerpts of inspiring future-oriented reports written by other colleagues and organisations.


Scenario: Future Uses of Space Out to 2050

“Development, adoption and adaptation of new and emerging technologies: Out to 2050, the sector is projected to benefit from continuing advances in space technologies as well as beneficial spillovers from adjacent technical disciplines, such as advanced manufacturing, autonomy and robotics or computing, among many others. Continued emphasis on R&D within the (…) space sector and the development of a high-skilled technical workforce (particularly in relation to STEM skills) both represent important enablers for enhancing existing capabilities or unlocking entirely new types of space product and service through innovation (…) The future space economy is (…) likely to comprise an increasingly extensive breadth of activities and markets, involving a wide range of civil, commercial and military stakeholders all seeking to utilise space-based products and services for a variety of purposes.”


Scenario: Virtual world

“The virtual world scenario depicts a future where virtual reality technology is pivotal in everyday life. In this scenario, the artificial intelligence (AI) and internet-of-things (IoT) technologies are pervasive, altering many social norms. One significant change is the concept of self-actualization. Because people can access a wealth of online information without having to rely on others, they have developed a sense of individualism. The concept of individualism is much rooted in society –everything is built tailoring to individualism. For instance, people live in small apartments that have enough room to accommodate only one or two dwellers. This small sanctuary would be a home, a virtual work, social and classroom space for an individual. Every home comes with advanced-technology gadgets, making virtual reality the 'reality'.”

A foresight study on urban mobility: Singapore in 2040. Singapore Ministry of National Development and National Research Foundation


Future outlook of autonomous delivery vehicles (ADV)

“Last-mile delivery is always a challenge for companies across industries. With the development of autonomous vehicle technology, many industry players are now turning to autonomous solutions in the form of driverless delivery vehicles. This will not only help reduce the cost of delivery but also cater to the additional demand for online deliveries (and less virus exposure). The future of ADVs looks promising, with the market expected to grow at a staggering 11% Compound Annual Growth Rate from 2019 to 2029. With the customer’s benefit of having zero cost of ownership, RaaS-Robot as a Service business model will help ADV manufacturers to introduce their value proposition in the logistics market easily.

Historically, the traditional selling model has been adopted, wherein major automation companies have sold their robots to their customers. Large automation companies like FANUC and ABB provide solutions that require millions of dollars of investment to get started. In this process, companies have to buy large-size robots and software solutions based on their specific needs. These large automation conglomerates have dominated this field for decades. However, it is about to change. Since the last few years, application-oriented automation or service robots have been on the rise, wherein start-ups focusing on autonomous delivery vehicles/robots have been increasing.”

Future Outlook of Autonomous Delivery. FutureBridge (2020) 


Scenario: Renaissance

“Historical high-use space-based services such as Direct to Home (DTH) broadcasting have declined significantly. Most states recognize the threat of climate change, and space is important for Earth observation and a valuable asset in potential mitigation projects. The roles of Space Agencies across the globe are changing in several ways to thrive in these different conditions.”

Other sketched scenarios include: From the Cloud to the Nebula, Power Play, Grounded.

UK Space Agency, Journal of Futures Studies (2022)


Further Research

Want to explore more? Some interesting readings below:

●   European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA website
●   News - Innovation & Networks Executive Agency

●   Research & Innovation - European Commission
●   Making innovation happen - European institute of Innovations & Technology



This Megatrends hub is a repository of foresight related information. It highlights long-term driving forces and its underlying shorter-term trends. This repository can help you understand the changing society in a broad and more systemic way. 

Disclaimer: this repository is by no means comprehensive and apart from established scientific knowledge contains also issues which are subject to scientific debate and where research is ongoing or only starting to give the reader some insights and ways to further explore the topics in more depth.