Where the trillionaires will be

(Editor’s note: This is the second of two parts. Read Part I.)

Future industries will be able to leverage tomorrow’s technologies far faster than anything today. They will have the ability to quickly adapt, rapidly influence and perform nearly instantaneous transactions. For these reasons, it is entirely possible for a breakthrough to occur that launches an entirely new industry, and with highly leveraged processes, start producing trillionaires in less than 10 years.

With this in mind, here are more of the future industries that rose to the top along with a brief explanation as to why they were chosen.

7.) Controlling the Weather – Is controlled weather a good thing or a bad thing? Well, we know hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, and major hailstorms can be very destructive, so there are already major costs associated with our current weather systems. So consider how much it would be worth to farmers to have extra rain, a guarantee of no hail, favorable temperatures and good sunshine? How much is it worth to homeowners to not have to water their lawns, or never have wind or hail that damages their roofs? How about guaranteed wind above 300’ altitude for all wind farms?

8.) Instant Sleep – Similar in some respects to anti-aging technology when you ask the question, “how many people would be willing to pay $10 to use an ‘instant sleep’ device to add an extra 8 hours of productive time to their day?” $10 may indeed be too cheap for this service, so maybe $100. Would 100 million people a day be willing to pay $100 to avoid sleep? There are many combinations of these numbers that could amount to $3.65 trillion a year in revenue if not more.

9.) Controlling Gravity – It’s hard to imagine a technology that will be more disruptive than gaining control over gravity. At this point though, we still struggle to understand what it is, why it exists, and how it works. So in some respects, it could be the least likely of all on this list. At the same time, as with most of these, we are but one key breakthrough away from this becoming the most valuable of all industries.

10.) Ultra High Speed Transportation – Traveling faster, more efficient, and for less money is normally a recipe for a massively disruptive technology, leading to a less valuable industry. Yet, tube transportation, as proposed by Elon Musk and Daryl Oster would have just the opposite effect. When global transportation becomes easier and cheaper, people will travel more – much more. And with a more efficient system, the margins will be far greater.

11.) Controlling Time – When the topic of controlling time is brought up, most people instantly start thinking about time travel. The next conclusion, naturally, is those who can jump across time will never be around, always choosing to experience some new era. But controlling time could also mean the short-term manipulation of time. Knowing something 10 minutes before the rest of the world could be worth billions, maybe even trillions.

12.) Instant Disassembling of Matter – When it comes to working with raw materials, we are very limited in the number of tools we can use to extract the actual substance we want. Digging, crushing, grinding, pulverizing, and blowing things up are all on the material science short list for getting to the core material inside. But consider a process where large boulders can be instantly disassembled into a pile of molecules, simply by breaking all the molecular bonds. How much would that be worth?

13.) Human Cloning or 3D Printed Bodies – Our bodies wear out. If we could somehow transfer who we are into a younger, stronger, better looking version of ourselves, how many people would jump at that opportunity? For this to enter into the “business of trillionaires,” the process for growing or 3D printing replacement bodies would need to rapidly scale up to the range of producing a million replacement bodies a day. Is that even possible?

14.) Personal Swarms of Swarmbots – Even though fully functional gnat-sized flying bots are still a few generations from providing value, the versatility and utility of having a personal swarm of swarmbots will some day be off the charts cool. The same swarm that dries us after a shower, applies makeup, and fixes our hair, will assemble themselves as our clothing, our body armor, and function as our personal tech. Not only will this exoskeleton formed from particle-sized drones amplify our strength, the swarm will also enable us to fly from place to place.

15.) Robotic Services – Robots are coming. They may not look like “Rosie” on the Jetsons or C3PO from Star Wars, but robots are destined to remove the “routine” from routine living. The race to find the killer app for robots and robotic services, something equivalent to social media for the Internet, is destined to become the ultimate quest of bot startups everywhere in the very near future.

16.) 3D Telepresence Avatars – How many times have you heard someone say they need to clone themselves? 3D telepresence avatars are the digital equivalent of cloning where life-size representations of ourselves can interact with others in the same fashion as being there in person. These avatars could attend meetings, file reports, engage in water cooler chitchat, attend little league games, and even keep your boss busy, all the while, extending your overall capabilities and earning potential several fold.

17.) Artificial Intelligence – Even though AI has quickly emerged as the poster child of future technology gone wrong, artificial intelligence is destined to become a game-changer on almost every level. It’s difficult to imagine any industry that couldn’t somehow be improved, and improved exponentially, with the addition of narrow AI applications.

18.) Energy Storage – We gotten to the point of being relatively good at generating power, but when it comes to storing power from one day to the next, we find ourselves still in the Neanderthal stages of development. Anyone who finds a super efficient way of storing power will quickly become the master of the energy universe.

Existing Industries that Could Become Trillion Dollar Industries

Yes, it may indeed be possible for existing industries to climb to the lofty heights of producing trillionaires, but less likely. Most of today’s industries are already parsed into competitive segments, and that in itself limits scalability on many levels.

Some of today’s wealthiest industries that could conceivably find ways to ramp up to the trillionaire-maker level include insurance, banking, investing, mining, oil and gas, Internet, software, and data storage.

However, for any of these to scale past the trillion-dollar threshold, they will either need to find or create highly profitable new products or services, open up new untapped markets, develop accelerated business processes including transaction speeds, and leverage future tech in a big way in the process.

Final Thoughts

After considering all the possibilities, the first trillionaire will likely have his or her money in multiple industries. I cringe as I say that, because that’s far less interesting than considering which industry will emerge as the maker of future kings.

The intent of creating this list has been to help open people’s thinking about the vast possibilities that lie ahead.

My one disclaimer is that earning money is at best a poor way of keeping score when it comes to assessing the true worth of an individual. However, if the wealth is derived from unleashing an entire new industry with innumerable benefits to humankind, it can indeed be a win-win arrangement.

Again, this is not an exhaustive list and I’d love to hear your thoughts about either the validity or erroneousness of these assumptions as well as some insight into the ones that I’ve missed.

Categories: Finance