Trends Impacting Our Future

I’m a professional member of the World Future Society.  Every year after our annual meeting, I put together a list of the evolving trends that have a high likelihood of  impacting our world, lives, and future.



Change of an Age – My Grandparents were part of the Agricultural Age.  My Parents thrived in the Industrial age.  I’m a product of the Information Age.  The world is accelerating, and now, we’re moving into an unknown age.  For want of a better name, this new age we’re storming into is called the “Bio-Technical” (Biotech) Age.

‘All bets are off’; there is no historical precedence for what is going to happen next. For example, experience and knowledge may not be of any help in this new Age and new leaders may be needed.   By 2030, many of us will be working in jobs that do not exist today.  One thing is true, two winning disciplines going into the future will be:

  • The ability to learn and put together disparate pieces of key information
  • The ability to focus and control your attention span!

3D Printers – These printers will be able to ‘print’ just about anything including drugs  (yes, actually manufacture your prescription pills) in your home.  With the adoption of 3-D Printers the only things of real value are the “raw inputs” & design.  Everything else is a commodity.

The rapid adoption of disruptive technologies like 3D Printers will radically change today’s production and distribution models.  For example, being able to print (manufacture) your own drugs at home will end the pharmacist profession and the home printing of products currently being built in China will damage China’s manufacturing engine.

Greenies versus Techies – As time moves forward and the world gets more complicated, two groups are going to go-to-war for the right to make the decisions that will guide us.  The ‘Greenies’ will use all means at their disposal to stop or turn back what they believe are questionable science based advances (e.g. fracking, genetically modified food).

While the Techies will experiment with abandonment and trust in human intelligence and drive to solve dilemmas as they arise.

Ultimately, “You can’t put the genie back in the bottle.”

It’s not, “Can we build it?” but “What do we want to build?” — Using a ten year time horizon, Intel futurists believe that computer chips will become essential components of many everyday objects (e.g. chairs, beds, and refrigerators).  With so much readily available computing power the possibilities of what can be done is only limited by our imaginations.

Intel futurists are not worried about their engineer’s ability to build things but the lack of creativity to imagine what should be built.  [Creativity is an essential job in the future!]



Global Disasters – Local Solutions.  There is a possibility that the world as we know could be struck down by a MegaCrisis.  The World Future Society (WFS) defines a MegaCrisis as “a global environmental and economic collapse or near collapse, along with attendant problems of rising prices, mass protests, widespread psychic stress, and lawlessness.”  Visit the WFS web site for a listing of possible trends that could drive our world into MegaCrisis.

Regardless of what causes a MegaCrisis, WFS futurists believe the solution is going to be local.  Think of solutions on a county basis not on a federal or block basis — Groups of 50,000 to 500,000 people working together.   Prized talents will be leaders who can lead by using the power of ideas and folks who readily work together for a common goal.

The Unknown Promise of Quantum Computing.  Where is the coldest spot in the known universe?  The answer is at the heart of a D-Wave quantum computer.

Crazy as it sounds, quantum computers today are using multiple dimensions to solve problems using Big Data.  These computers are faster and more powerful than all other computers combined.  Plus, the power of quantum computing is increasing at a logarithmic rate to a logarithmic rate (e.g. goggles of connected qubits).  Some techies think quantum computers will be the key factor enabling mankind-populating space.

Today’s Education System is preparing children for the 1960’s – In the future children will need to quickly understand and use new paradigms.  We are moving into a New Age and the education system that worked for kids in the Information Age is sorely lacking for the massive changes that are coming.

Education needs to evolve to meet the opportunities presented by the BioTech Age.  Students need to learn how to learn continuously through their lives.   Plus, students need to learn in the presence of increasing complexity. [Unemployment is a mismatch between jobs & skills.]

  • “Nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse.” Sophocles

Man-Made Viruses will Eradicate Cancer – Think of man-made viruses like organic apps that run specific programs not on iPhones or Android phones but on targeted biological molecules.

  • Viruses are being built, DNA molecule by DNA molecule for specific tasks.  First on the list is creating viruses that attack and eradicate only specifically targeted cancer cells.
  • The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.”

[Tom McMillian shared these thoughts for the first time at the September 19, 2012 Parsippany LeTip meeting in NJ}

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Robert Frost

2015 // Category : Blog // No Comments

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