There will be more change in the next 20 years than any 20-50 year period in history. In fact, future historians may well look back on this time as a historical transit as significant as the beginning of the Industrial Revolution or the Renaissance.
It is hard to imagine any area of life that will not be changed. This means that it will be disconcerting, disorienting, disruptive and that “reality” as we know it today will end. This of course means that a significant percentage of humanity will have great psychological upset as we all like, or at least accept, our version of reality.
This is not a warning but a call for readers of this column to begin to prepare for massive, inevitable change. It is my responsibility as a futurist to be a catalyst to get people to think about the future and to help readers and audiences find context and concepts to better understand the changes going on and where they will most likely lead.
Here are just some of the probable changes ahead for Americans and most developed countries around the world between now and the late 2030s:
- Electric cars become the majority of all cars driven.
- Autonomous automobiles – driverless cars- become 25-75% of cars on the road.
- The number of cars in America drops by 30%.
- A move from fossil fuels to renewables, a move to energy that is free.
- A movement toward a marginal cost economy with ever lower prices for any part of the global economy that is connected to technology.
- A loss of some 50% of all current jobs and professions due to Artificial Intelligence and Big Data
- Education and medicine being completely transformed.
- The ability to extend human life to 125-150 years of age.
- Increasing the average life span from 80 to 100.
- The emergence of the new 21st century “religion” where man and technology merge.
- A new emerging collective global consciousness.
- The widespread usage of Virtual Reality, which will alter entertainment, education, training, travel, personal relations and a redefinition of most human experiences.
- Global legalization of marijuana.
- Largely curing Cancer and other diseases as a result of altering DNA for personalized treatments.
- Climate Change which will redefine weather, seasons, coastlines, and will create both tens of millions of refugees per year and hundreds of billions if not trillions of dollars of real estate and economic losses.
- An urgent development of crew consciousness for This Spaceship Earth as the red warning light and buzzer for getting ‘all hands on deck’ will start to go off in the next 5 years.
- The reinvention of both Capitalism and Democracy.
- The beginning of the end of the nation state.
The list could go on, but the above one provides an indication of what does lie ahead. I am so confident of these forecasts that you can print this column and file it away to read in 2025 or 2030.
We are now well into the Shift Age, more than halfway through the 2010-2020 Transformation Decade. We are now well into the 21st century. Here are some definitions and quotes to help guide us as we enter this new time of massive change and disruption.
The definition of “Shift”:
“to put something aside and replace it with another or others, change or exchange”
The definition of “Transformation”:
“A change in form, appearance, nature or character”
A quote from Dr. Alvin Toffler, one of the greatest futurists of the last 50 years:
“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn”
Perhaps my favorite quote about the future:
“We should try to be the parents of our future rather than the offspring of our past” -Miguel de Unamuno
So, in your business, your profession or your personal life, open up to embracing change, accepting transformation and you can prepare yourself to enjoy being alive during one of the most interesting times in history!
Note: Much of this column first appeared in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune