Table of Disruptive Technologies

Table of Disruptive Technologies

Here is Tech Foresight’s table of disruptive technologies, which is designed to make people think, at least periodically.

The idea for this table initially came from reading a list of emerging technologies on Wikipedia, which felt fairly accurate, but also fairly dry. Using this as a start point we did some further desk research to identify candidate technologies and then spoke with various experts and Imperial College academics to validate our thoughts. This was the easy bit. The tricky part was then deciding what not to include and how to rank each technology.

Here’s how it works.

The table consists of 100 potentially disruptive technologies, which we have defined as those capable of significant social, economic or political upheaval.

One axis (the Y Axis) ranks potential for disruption from high to low, while the other (the X Axis) is time ranked from sooner to later, although importantly this does not relate to the invention of a technology, but rather its common use or ubiquity.

The 100 technologies are then further divided into four groups.

Horizon one technologies (green on the table) are new technologies that are happening right now. Companies should be integrating and executing these technologies right now if they are relevant to their business.

Horizon two technologies (yellow) are probable near future technologies (10-20 years hence). Companies should be experimenting with and discussing these technologies now.

Horizon three technologies (red) are things that are likely to emerge in the more distant future (20 years plus). Companies should keep an eye on developments in these areas and explore if appropriate.

Finally, the outer edge of the table (grey) are what we’ve termed Ghost Technologies. This is fringe thinking territory with some examples bordering on lunacy. However, while each example is highly improbable none, or very few, are actually impossible. There’s also a joke hidden in this section, which hopefully readers will be able to locate.

Each of the 100 technologies has been given an abbreviation, followed by a brief and hopefully self-explanatory description. Each technology is then categorized according to one of five subjective themes (Data Ecosystems, Smart Planet, Extreme Automation, Human Augmentation and Human-Machine Interactions). 

Finally, on the far right of the table are examples of companies or institutions active in each of the technology areas. These examples are not comprehensive and if we have missed anyone significant, please forgive us - things move fast and new companies appear and disappear. 

Something that stands out for us here is the dominance of US companies generally and how active a handful such as Apple, Google and Tesla (Elon Musk) are with regard to many of these technologies. 

If you want to know more about our process or receive an high-res image for printing, please get in touch at



List of emerging technologies – Wikipedia


Concept and content: Anna Cupani, Richard Watson and Gaby Lee.

Graphic design: Wond.