7 Disruptive Technologies Destined To Change The World

ARK Invest recently came out with 'Big Ideas' -- a yearly report that breaks down what they believe are the technologies to look out for as these are bound to make significant progress in the near future.


‘Disruptive’ as word used to have such a negative connotation. And perhaps for a good reason. Typical dictionaries define it as something that causes trouble or disturbance and prevents something from continuing in the usual or normal way.

It’s quite different when applied to the business world, though. In this sense, disruptive becomes complimentary — something that dramatically changes or revolutionizes an industry by creating new markets through new products, services, technologies and business models.

Every year, ARK Investment Management — a research and investment company — releases a report (called ‘Big Ideas’) that provides insights about disruptive technologies that have the potential of becoming the most ‘disruptive’ in the near future. Here are the 7 disruptive technologies featured in ARK’s Big Ideas 2017.

Deep Learning

Deep learning is a kind of machine learning modeled after the human brain. The goal of the scientific world is to put together an algorithm capable enough to mimic the way in which the human brain thinks. It’s this kind of ability that a number of people fear could lead to machines taking over as AI approaches and eventually surpasses human intelligence.

The threat isn’t totally baseless when one considers that advancements made in deep learning have and will continue to have a significant impact that will be nothing short of life-changing.

In the medical field for instance, integrating deep learning in medical imaging is already resulting in phenomenally accurate disease prediction and diagnosis. Aside from the medical field, deep learning is also expected to improve other industries like agriculture, finance, manufacturing, transportation and information technology.

According to ARK, deep learning has the potential to become a $17 trillion market in 20 years — the equivalent of creating 35 Amazons.

Mobility-As-A-Service (MaaS)

Before 2020, fully autonomous vehicles will become a fixture on our highways and not long after, autonomous taxi networks will experience unprecedented growth that will radically transform the nature of travel and transportation, with a corresponding boost in productivity.

Autonomous travel, costing only half as much as driving a personal car, will drive car sales down. Ride-sharing will become more popular. The decline in battery costs will make electric vehicles (EVs) more preferable to gas-powered vehicles because it will be far less costly to own an EV. This will lead to widespread adoption of EVs and companies like Tesla will stand to gain the most (at least in terms of profit).

By 2030, ARK estimates that MaaS will become a $10 trillion market, and it will owe 20% of that amount to service operators.

3D Printing

With the advent of 3D printing, the manufacturing industry will get a makeover as the entire manufacturing process will become shorter, waste minimal, designs more unique and innovative, and cost will get considerably reduced.

ARK estimates the global 3D printing market to achieve an annual growth rate of more than 50% in the next 4 years, turning into a $41 billion market by 2020, continuing to grow further until it becomes a $180 – $490 billion market by 2025.

CRISPR Genome-Editing

Similar with AI, CRISPR is another of those technologies that splits the scientific world and even the public in the middle because of its potential to be used for good, and its equal potential to be misused to do harm or provide unfair advantage.

CRISPR, which stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, is a gene-editing platform derived from bacteria that is used to correct mistakes or edit parts of the genome. So far, all that’s been reported about CRISPR is breakthrough after breakthrough — the good kind that is, none that hint at the fact that the technology carries deep ethical concerns when it comes to the prospect of, say, making ‘designer babies’, or social questions related to the platform’s ability possibly contributing to income inequality as the elite will be able to give even more advantages to their children. But switching gears here, as more advances are made, the cost of gene editing continues to fall. In fact it has has been dramatically reduced by 28 – 52 times in the last 4 years.

As it is, there are around 10,000 monogenic or single-gene diseases known today, only 5% of which are currently treatable. If CRISPR can be used to improve this number, ARK believes it has the potential to generate a global annual revenue of $70 billion.

CRISPR isn’t even limited to just therapeutics. It can also be applied in other areas such as agriculture, biofuels, biodefense, materials, drug development, personalized medicine and stem cell therapy research.

Mobile Payments

Similar with one of Bill Gates’ predictions that mobile banking will help transform the lives of the less privileged as all they would need is a phone and Wi-Fi signal to access their bank accounts. ARK believes that mobile payments will be the key to ‘financial inclusion in developed and emerging markets.’

While only 20% of current global transactions are digital, if the remaining 80% ultimately shifts to mobile (and the possibility is there because of the ease and convenience that cashless and over-the-air payment provides), we may be looking at a future $125 billion industry.


Although it is the auto industry that might have driven the sale of industrial robots, it’s now far from being the only industry that employs the use of this technological innovation. Especially as capital and programming costs continue to decline, manufacturing companies will benefit more from employing robots and automating more of their processes.

ARK estimates that even as annual industrial robot sales is currently just above 300,000 units, as more companies embrace the technology, annual sales are bound to be in the range of 1.2 million by year 2025.


There are three main types of cryptoassets: cryptocurrencies, cryptocommodities and cryptotokens. Among over 700 cryptoassets available right now, the top 3 (in descending order) are Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple. Because this blockchain-enabled technology is considered to be in its infancy stage, its potential for growth is virtually at its highest as the market is characterized by ‘enthusiasm, uncertainty, and speculation.’

Putting that in figures, a compound annual growth rate of 35% is expected within the next 10 years — that’s a staggering growth in value from $50 billion to $1 trillion.

While that’s speculative, the numbers are actually based on a survey ARK conducted. Needless to say, remains to be seen whether that growth potential will get realized.

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