My recent piece on what the future has in store for us produced a lot of interesting responses. One in particular was a rehash of a fairly recent piece written by entrepreneur Udo Gollub and originated by two fairly infamous predictors of the future, Peter Diamandis and Ray Kurzweil. I am passing this along to you for a reference point you may want to remember as the years pass.
Artificial Intelligence: Computers will become exponentially better in understanding the world. In 2030, computers will become more intelligent than humans.
Autonomous cars: In 2018 the first self-driving cars will be widely available for the public. Around 2020, the complete industry will start to be disrupted. The changes that result will be global and systemic.
Health: Technology will allow more personalized healthcare and as a result, quality of life and longevity will greatly increase.
3D printing: 3D-Printing will take over more and more of manufacturing, which could have profound effects on the way people live.
Work: 70-80% of today’s jobs will disappear in the next 20 years. There will be a lot of new jobs, but it is not clear if there will be enough new jobs in such a short time.
Agriculture: Farmers in preindustrial countries can become managers of their field robots instead of working all days on their fields. Right now, 30% of all agricultural surfaces is used for cows. Imagine if we don’t need that space anymore due to the prevalence of lab-grown meat and alternative protein sources.
Education: The cheapest smart phones are already at $10 in Africa and Asia. By 2020, 70% of all humans will own a smart phone. That means, everyone will have the same access to world class education.
Some of these changes are scary, and some are VERY exciting. Many people will be better off, but many others may permanently be out of work. The timing of it all may be the hardest question to understand and manage.
No matter what, there is little doubt that the world will be a very different place in just a few decades.
This year’s election may reveal peoples’ subliminal worries. This surely is a time to put caution aside and be innovative. But that does not mean we should “throw the baby out with the bath water” or simply “upset the apple cart” to stir change.