The World Future Society recently published their top ten of future developments to keep an eye on in view of 2009 and beyond:
- Everything you say and do will be recorded by 2030.
- Bioviolence will become a greater threat as the technology becomes more accessible.
- The car’s days as king of the road will soon be over.
- Careers, and the college majors for preparing for them, are becoming more specialized.
- There may not be world law in the foreseeable future, but the world’s legal systems will be networked.
- The race for biomedical and genetic enhancement will — in the twenty-first century — be what the space race was in the previous century.
- Professional knowledge will become obsolete almost as quickly as it’s acquired.
- Urbanization will hit 60% by 2030.
- The Middle East will become more secular while religious influence in China will grow.
- Access to electricity will reach 83% of the world by 2030.
From the original site:
- Forecast # 1: Everything you say and do will be recorded by 2030. By the late 2010s, ubiquitous unseen nanodevices will provide seamless communication and surveillance among all people everywhere. Humans will have nanoimplants, facilitating interaction in an omnipresent network. Everyone will have a unique Internet Protocol (IP) address. Since nano storage capacity is almost limitless, all conversation and activity will be recorded and recoverable. — Gene Stephens, “Cybercrime in the Year 2025,” THE FUTURIST July-Aug 2008.
- Forecast #2: Bioviolence will become a greater threat as the technology becomes more accessible. Emerging scientific disciplines (notably genomics, nanotechnology, and other microsciences) could pave the way for a bioattack. Bacteria and viruses could be altered to increase their lethality or to evade antibiotic treatment.— Barry Kellman, “Bioviolence: A Growing Threat,” THE FUTURIST May-June 2008.
- Forecast #3: The car's days as king of the road will soon be over. More powerful wireless communication that reduces demand for travel, flying delivery drones to replace trucks, and policies to restrict the number of vehicles owned in each household are among the developments that could thwart the automobile’s historic dominance on the environment and culture. If current trends were to continue, the world would have to make way for a total of 3 billion vehicles on the road by 2025. — Thomas J. Frey, “Disrupting the Automobile’s Future,” THE FUTURIST, Sep-Oct 2008.
- Forecast #4: Careers, and the college majors for preparing for them, are becoming more specialized. An increase in unusual college majors may foretell the growth of unique new career specialties. Instead of simply majoring in business, more students are beginning to explore niche majors such as sustainable business, strategic intelligence, and entrepreneurship. Other unusual majors that are capturing students' imaginations: neuroscience and nanotechnology, computer and digital forensics, and comic book art. Scoff not: The market for comic books and graphic novels in the United States has grown 12% since 2006. —THE FUTURIST, World Trends & Forecasts, Sep-Oct 2008.
- Forecast #5: There may not be world law in the foreseeable future, but the world's legal systems will be networked. The Global Legal Information Network (GLIN), a database of local and national laws for more than 50 participating countries, will grow to include more than 100 counties by 2010. The database will lay the groundwork for a more universal understanding of the diversity of laws between nations and will create new opportunities for peace and international partnership.— Joseph N. Pelton, "Toward a Global Rule of Law: A Practical Step Toward World Peace," THE FUTURIST Nov-Dec 2007.
A Crisis or an Opportunity? What Makes the Difference?
The critical difference is whether you are prepared. If you're aware of possible developments… if you see changes coming… you can take action and prepare yourself. In a rapidly changing world, new opportunities are emerging everywhere. If you get an advance notice of these possible changes, you can be ready. You can ride these waves of change to benefit your career, your business, your family and your investments.
The news — even instant news — is recent history. But understanding trends and possible future developments is some of the most valuable knowledge you can have. It enables you prepare while you still have the opportunity and time to act.
Here are a few more thought-provoking forecasts…
- Forecast #6: The race for biomedical and genetic enhancement will — in the twenty-first century — be what the space race was in the previous century. Humanity is ready to pursue biomedical and genetic enhancement, says UCLA professor Gregory Stock, the money is already being invested, but, he says, “We'll also fret about these things — because we're human, and it's what we do.” — Gregory Stock quoted in THE FUTURIST, Nov-Dec 2007.
- Forecast #7: Professional knowledge will become obsolete almost as quickly as it's acquired. An individual's professional knowledge is becoming outdated at a much faster rate than ever before. Most professions will require continuous instruction and retraining. Rapid changes in the job market and work-related technologies will necessitate job education for almost every worker. At any given moment, a substantial portion of the labor force will be in job retraining programs. — Marvin J. Cetron and Owen Davies, "Trends Shaping Tomorrow's World, Part Two," THE FUTURIST May-June 2008.
- Forecast #8: Urbanization will hit 60% by 2030. As more of the world's population lives in cities, rapid development to accommodate them will make existing environmental and socioeconomic problems worse. Epidemics will be more common due to crowded dwelling units and poor sanitation. Global warming may accelerate due to higher carbon dioxide output and loss of carbon-absorbing plants. — Marvin J. Cetron and Owen Davies, “Trends Shaping Tomorrow's World,” THE FUTURIST Mar-Apr 2008.
- Forecast #9: The Middle East will become more secular while religious influence in China will grow. Popular support for religious government is declining in places like Iraq, according to a University of Michigan study. The researchers report that in 2004 only one-fourth of respondents polled believed that Iraq would be a better place if religion and politics were separated. By 2007, that proportion was one-third. Separate reports reveal a countertrend in China. — World Trends & Forecasts, THE FUTURIST Nov-Dec 2007.
- Forecast #10: Access to electricity will reach 83% of the world by 2030. Electrification has expanded around the world, from 40% connected in 1970 to 73% in 2000, and may reach 83% of the world's people by 2030. Electricity is fundamental to raising living standards and access to the world's products and services. Impoverished areas such as Sub-Saharan Africa still have low rates of electrification; Uganda is just 3.7% electrified. — Andy Hines, “Global Trends in Culture, Infrastructure, and Values,” Sep-Oct 2008.
World Future Society members have access to the work of futurists around the world in the pages of THE FUTURIST magazine.
In the age of the Internet and 24/7 news, there is a serious glut of information, making it hard to determine what's really going on. THE FUTURIST gives you a way to make sense of our rapidly changing world. Each issue of THE FUTURIST will brief you on the most important trends that affect your business, career, family, investments, and the world in general.
We present the most significant trends divided into six sectors that are commonly used by professional business planners.
The sectors are:
- Breakthrough Technologies — You'll see the impact of new technologies and the latest innovations, discoveries and new solutions on the horizon.
- Economic and Business Forecasts — You'll get vital updates on major economic, business and consumer trends, and investment and financial outlooks.
- Environment and Resource Outlook — New ideas and reports on natural resources, habitats, sustainable communities and more.
- Social Trends — Changes in values and lifestyles and topics such as religion, entertainment, sports, arts, language, sex and family.
- Demographics — The latest trends on population, immigration, births, deaths, marriages, and other vital information.
- Government and Regulatory Trends — The impact of laws, regulations, taxes, politics, diplomacy and war.
This “Six Sector” analysis of trends saves you time by compressing a massive amount of information into six major categories. What you get in each issue is a careful selection of the most interesting and significant current reports on trends, forecasts, and potentially important developments.This is where I editorialize.