The Future – Key Evolving Trends

I’m a professional member of the World Future Society.  Earlier this month, I had the privilege of spending 6 days with futurists from around the world.  Here is my take on some key evolving trends.

 

 

Water – Looking into the future, many parts of the world are going to have a scarcity of water for irrigating crops as well as for drinking.   The thinking about water needs for the future has changed from “Water Wars” to “We have the means to solve the water problem, we just don’t yet have the will”.

Energy – Many futurists do not seem to be concerned about the future availability of energy.  Peak oil seems to give them no pause.  The futurists I spoke with thought that by 2028 all world energy needs could be met with solar energy.

Education – Paradigm shift from focusing on “teacher teaching” to the “student learning”.  Educators need to switch from being expert-in-teaching to subject-matter-experts.  Students need to master a life-long ability to learn new things.

Robotics – On one hand, the use of robotics may be leveling the manufacturing playing field for goods made in the USA versus other parts of the world.  On the other hand, the increasing use of robotics may be negatively impacting economic recovery by displacing an increasing number of blue-collar workers.

Knowledge workers – Over the next 15 years, the Information Age will give way to the Robotic-Biotech Age and associated major advancements in computers, nanotechnology, materials, and manufacturing technology.  Information Workers will be displaced and need to learn new ways to make a living.

Singularity – The Singularity is the time in the future when greater than human intelligence through technical means will emerge.  There is a race on between two main avenues, artificial intelligence (AI) and enhanced humans.  By definition, humans are not even in the race.

Scarcity – Public sector workers view the future as an Age of Scarcity.   They do not seem to be looking for creative solutions using new technologies; they seem to be clinging tightly to preserve the status quo.  Many private sector and academic folks are viewing the future as an Age of Abundance.  They are eagerly ready to embrace the opportunities of the future.  It is your choice to view the future as one or the other (i.e. Age of Scarcity or Age of Abundance)!

Longevity – There is a high likelihood that many people alive today will live healthy and robust lives to 150 years. “Given that it takes 10,000 hours (an hour a day for 25 years) to become an expert in something, what will you now choose to become an expert in?”

Neuro-science – Has the potential to improve our understanding of the human mind and why we make the decisions we make.  Neuro-science can improve the impact of targeted messaging for products as well as politicians.  Plus, active scans of the brain can guide choices in selecting education, careers, and spouses.

Remember, “When it comes to the future, there are three kinds of people: those who let it happen, those who make it happen, and those who wonder what happened” John M. Richardson


2013 // Category : Blog & Futures // No Comments

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