Oregon futurist Predicts More change in next 10 years than the last 40

In a recent Post I said that this decade is likely to be remembered as the launching pad to a very different future. Seems Oregon Futurist Steve Brown agrees with me. Mr. Brown sees a whole lot of change by 2030.  And he makes a bold prediction: “My expectation is that we’re going to see more change in the workplace and more change in our lives in the next ten years than in the last forty. It’s a bold statement to make, but I think it’s accurate,” said Brown. This recent Article describes each of the areas that he believes drives this change. Here is a summary:


I described this game changing fifth-generation network in a recent Post.  It’s hard to argue that 5G is likely to accelerate innovation in the coming decade. As a foundational piece of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, 5G is likely to drive the human development that many anticipate. 5G will enable the rising billions to join the online community, making the internet accessible to the next four billion people. Introducing that many minds and their knowledge serves as yet another catalyst to Acceleration.


The short term impact of artificial intelligence is Very Real. AI took a giant leap forward with the advent of machine learning and deep learning. Many focus on the long-term concern that we will produce machines so intelligent that we lose control over them. They will become a new form of life that rules over us as we do the animal kingdom. But the short-term impacts of artificial intelligence will be driven by a technology that already exists and could be dangerous enough on its own.


Autonomous vehicles alone provide a case study for the Disruptive Power of emerging scenarios. What if the other scenarios that our author describes are realized this decade? He includes smart robots, drones, self-driving cars, autonomous trucks, and even autonomous ships in his definition of Autonomous machines. Scenarios that he articulated include:  smart robots that help to build our homes, park our cars, and tend crops in our fields, and autonomous drones that help to replant forests and run detailed surveys of construction sites.


Blockchain and discussions on Decentralization go hand and hand. Centralization has long been a part of us. The Industrial Age brought with it a need for vertical orientation, command and control structure, and a central authority. The capital-intensive nature of that era made it the most effective way to organize. But we don’t live in that era anymore, and our technology-enabled connectedness forms the foundation for decentralization on multiple fronts. This same connectedness that launched consumerization and shifted the power to the individual, will now drive a massive structural change. This structural change is a key contributor to the very different future that emerges by 2030.


Virtual reality will someday lead to the complete blurring of the boundaries between the Physical and virtual worlds. Ray Kurzweil does a great job of describing this world in his Video. Ray believes the scenario is realized by the end of this decade. On the more practical front, Mr. Brown sees augmented reality as far more useful. An AR headset blends digital objects and information into your view of the world. He believes that when it’s ready, AR is likely to become as big of a breakthrough as smartphones were before it.


A quote from Carl Bildt, Chair of the Global Commission on Internet Governance and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Europe puts this innovation into perspective: “Very soon the Internet of Things will become the Infrastructure on which all other infrastructures are based.” Economist Jeremy Rifkin believes that IoT forms the foundation of the next Societal Platform.

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