• SHARE

Most of the writing you see about the economy speaks to narrow questions: What will growth be this year? When will the unemployment rate get back to normal? And so on. But the things that will determine standards of living a generation from now have almost nothing to do with this month’s jobs report or the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting. Those determinants, instead, depend on companies’ innovations — in particular, whether those innovations turn out to have major economic consequences.

Researchers at the McKinsey Global Institute, the in-house think tank of the giant consulting firm, have a new study in which they have taken their best shot at predicting exactly that. They have scoured the range of potential disruptive technologies and done their best to estimate how transformative each might be for the U.S. economy. Their results are hardly definitive — we can’t know what the future holds — but they represent a serious effort by some smart people to quantify what appear to be some major forces shaping our technological future. And the results have some important implications for how we think about innovation.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

PHOTO GALLERY (CLICK TO ENLARGE)