What Big Things Can We Expect In 2021?

This week’s release of the Future Today Institute 2021 Trends Report gave leaders a lot to digest. What foresight can we quickly glean from the content? A recent Article via Amrita Khalid focused on the big trends to expect this year and beyond. At a high level, artificial intelligence, cryptocurrencies, 5G, and social credit scores make the list. More specifically, the article identifies six big trends for this year.

Smartphones will be a thing of the past. Innovation in areas like wearables and other devices, along with limited new smartphone features are combining to drive this trend. This is simply the start of a complete transformation in how we Interact as Humans. This fourth transformation of interaction is driven by mixed reality. A fifth transformation will occur somewhere in the future: brain interaction in the brainwave era.

The tech exodus and newly remote workforces aren’t temporary. Two big trends wrapped together in the shift to remote work: the future of Cities, and the future of Work. Remote work is a popular topic which intersects with how cities fare in a world where talent can live anywhere. Major ramifications tied to exactly where this specific trend goes.

Healthcare is the next battleground for big tech. Clearly, the pandemic has accelerated Changes in Healthcare. Big tech’s move into healthcare was already in-flight before the pandemic (like most pre-pandemic stories). The entrance of Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook is likely to drive major disruption (desperately needed). Can it drive the price of healthcare down? Can it help provide for the under-served? Those questions and more are worth keeping an eye on.

The “home of things” industry is expanding. The Smart Home is not new. Although there are many examples of smart things within our homes, the broad vision of the smart home still has a way to go. Per the report, the industry is expanding, and the pandemic is serving as an accelerant. What we do in our homes and how we experience them will change on a number of levels. We are in the early stages of that transition.

Antitrust action may fail to keep up with big tech’s moves. Two big points here: First, the pace at which the world is moving keeps regulation and antitrust activities in a constant state of catching up – and Acceleration is accelerating . One must wonder how effective a renewed focus on antitrust can be. Second, the case can be very weak under current antitrust law – is anything that big tech is doing today illegal?

Cryptocurrency and social payments will gain mainstream acceptance. The report predicts that more governments and central banks will seriously explore cryptocurrency. This recent Article expands on the topic and describes the emergence of a new international monetary system and the phase out of fiat currency. In terms of social payments, Ms. Khalid states that not only are people now more likely to shop or pay for things with their phones, they are also more likely to trust big tech with their finances.

The above isn’t even the tip of the iceberg, but it does give us something to think about in 2021.

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