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15 global megatrends

Booming growth of internet devices among 15 Global Megatrends

The number of devices connected to the internet in 2022 is estimated to be between 25 and 50 billion. Depending on whom you ask, between 100 and 500 billion devices will be connected to the internet by 2030, between a dozen and sixty times as many as the number of people in the world, the Copenhagen Institute for Future Studies says in a report about Global Megatrends that will shape the world in decades to come.

“The growing number of internet-connected devices that record, store, and analyse vast amounts of data about everything we do has led to privacy concerns as well. While such analysis can benefit us immensely by anticipating our needs, the potential for abuse of our personal and behavioural data is also immense.” 

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“Measures that are introduced as a reaction to this concern, like EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, are unlikely to prove adequate and may create as many issues as they solve, for instance by introducing an additional bureaucratic burden for businesses and organisations.”

“More data will be transmitted and analysed at the command of machines than at the command of human beings. This will give machines and people access to real-time information necessary in making our increasingly complex societies function.”

“Our needs can be predicted and met almost before we become aware of them on both personal and societal levels, making everyday life run more smoothly and increasing societal resilience.” 

The report says digitalisation of society gives rise to new peer-to-peer processes and the creation of value in decentralised networks operating both on local and global scales. 

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“The network economy stands in contrast to the logic of the industrial market economy, in which products and services are provided in a top-down manner and where decision-making power is concentrated at the top of the hierarchy.” 

“Instead, the network economy relies on flat structures and collaboration. Prime examples are the sharing economy, crowd funding, and crowd creation, as well as the open source/open content movement.”

Global Megatrends according to the Copenhagen Institute for Future Studies:


Globalisation. With globalisation comes both opportunities and risks, and regional issues or challenges quickly become global in scope. 

Population Growth. The world population will see an explosive growth throughout the 21st century and is expected by the UN to peak at 11 billion in 2100. 

Environmental Change & Sustainability. The push for sustainability seeks a mutually beneficial balance between human activity and the environment. 


An Ageing World. A combination of improved longevity, improved health at old age, and declining birth rates is causing the world population to age. As the world grows older, societies will change, and new consumption patterns will arise. 

Individualisation & Empowerment. Networks of empowered individuals form new communities in both physical and digital realms, giving rise to a pluralisation of ways of living and working. 

Focus on Health. With a growing understanding of how genetics and lifestyle influence health, coupled with new technologies enabling a more preventive rather than reactive approach, we may see a greater personalisation of health in the future. 

Urbanisation. In the future, urban areas will be much larger, more complex, and interconnected than today. It is in cities that the global challenges of our century will need to be solved.


AI & Automation. Advances in artificial intelligence and robotics will change not only how we work in the future, but also how we live, how we learn, and how we entertain ourselves. 

Biotech Revolution. Biotechnology will likely be as important in the next half century as computers have been in the previous half century. With biotech comes the ability to manipulate genes, create new forms of life, and connect human and machine at previously unseen levels. 

Greater Interconnectedness. The number of internet-connected devices in the world far exceeds the number of people. These devices help improve the quality of the products and services we depend on while also giving rise to issues related to loss of privacy and abuse of personal data. 

Engineering Advances. New materials, new energy sources, better production processes, and improved product designs will change our lives in the decades to come while also playing a major role in combating climate change and environmental damage. 


Network Economy. The ongoing digitalisation of society gives rise to new peer-to-peer processes and the creation of value in decentralised networks that rely on flat hierarchies and collaboration, and which operate both on local and global scales. 

Service Economy. The evolution of the service economy gives rise of the platform business model and growing ‘servitisation’ – the erosion of old divisions between products and services in favour of a service-product continuum, where ‘solutions’ that combine the two are what’s on offer to businesses and consumers. 

Economic Growth. Most individuals alive today are significantly better off than their ancestors when measured economically. While the historical benefits of economic growth are clear, its future trajectories are much less certain. 

Concentration of Wealth. While global inequality between countries has declined, income and wealth inequality within countries are growing in many parts of the world, with more and more wealth being concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer people.

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