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.

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Future Today Institute: 2021 Trends Report

Each year the Future Today Institute releases a very comprehensive trends report during SXSW. In announcing this year’s report, Founder Amy Webb had this to say:

The cataclysmic events of the past year resulted in a significant number of new signals. As a result, we’ve analyzed nearly 500 tech and science trends across multiple industry sectors. Rather than squeezing the trends into one enormous tome as we usually do, we are instead publishing 12 separate reports with trends grouped by subject. We are including what we’ve called Book Zero, which shows how we did our work. There is also an enormous, 504-page PDF with all content grouped together as one document.

Amy Webb – Future Today Institute

These reports allow us to explore weak and strong signals in a way that helps us envision possible futures. Given the high levels of uncertainty, the sheer number of building blocks, and the Convergence occurring across domains, exploration, learning, and dialog are as critical as ever. You can download the report Here. There is a lot to digest – but that is exactly the point. Thanks to Amy and her team for their continued support of this exploration process.

Hardships Are Real…But We Live In Someone Else’s Dream World

“For all the real hardships we face, we are also living in someone else’s dream world… and we now get to build towards our own future dreams.” – Jason Feifer

That is a quote from a recent Article about what the people of 1921 predicted for the year 2021. Those that follow my work as a Futurist know that I am a big believer in Applied History, with a recent focus on the thirty-year period starting in 1915. That work was recently articulated in my post on a Post Pandemic Society. In the referenced article, author Jason Feifer states that the people of 1920 recently survived World War I and the Spanish Flu of 1918, and they were witnessing a technological revolution. That was the era of electricity, commercial aviation, radio, and many other inventions in a period of great invention. Given all that transpired, those alive in that time were wondering what our world would look like in the future; something that we are also experiencing today.

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Thirty Experts and Their 2021 Predictions

Source: Unsplash

It is the time of year when predictions become a popular topic of conversation. To that end, Fast Company senior writer Mark Sullivan asked startup CEOs, executives at big companies, investors, and other experts for their predictions for the year ahead. Those predictions can be found Here. Here is a glimpse at what thirty experts believe we can expect.

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Non-Obvious Mega Trends

I just completed another book titled “Non-Obvious Mega Trends”. Author Rohit Bhargava focuses on seeing what no one else sees, and helping his readers do the same. Per the Amazon abstract, in the past ten years, his signature annual Non-Obvious Trend Report has helped over a million readers discover more than 100 trends changing our culture. The opening section focuses on the art of non-obvious thinking. From there, he explores the five mindsets of non-obvious thinkers, and reviews his Haystack Method for curating non-obvious Ideas.

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Technology Pioneers Describe How the World Will Change By 2025

In a recent Article via the World Economic forum, author Saemoon Yoon identified 17 ways that technology could change the world by 2025. While the current pandemic exposed our vulnerabilities, it also shows what is achievable through collaboration. While efforts to collaborate globally must improve, a heightened visibility to the issues combined with an appreciation for the power of science and technology is a step in the right Direction. Here are snippets from the article that captures insight from 17 experts related to the world of 2025.

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The Future Today Institute – 2020 Tech Trends Report

2020 FTI Tect Trends ReportLast year I was introduced to the Future Today Institute Tech Trends Report. The free report provided a great view into 315 different trends. The 2020 Version was just released, tracking 406 strategic technology trends. As their website describes, a broad view of these trends is the best way to see around corners and spot emerging disruption. Amy Webb and her team provide one of the best reports of its kind. The link above provides access and the download page provides the following additional highlights:

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The Mega-Trends that Shape the 21st Century

In a recent Article by Bryan Walsh, he describes the mega-trends that are likely to shape this century. These trends are driven by the Acceleration of innovation and a growing set of Societal Factors. In describing the seriousness of these trends, our author points to a forthcoming book titled “The Precipice”. In the book, author Toby Ord of Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute gives one in six odds that humanity will suffer an existential catastrophe during the next 100 years — almost certainly due to our own actions.

In the book The Fourth Turning, authors William Strauss and Neil Howe  illuminate the past, explain the present, and reimagine the future. They offer an utterly persuasive prophecy about how America’s past will predict its future. Here is what they had to say:

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Looking at Possible Futures

Many Future Scenarios are spawned by convergence across multiple domains. The most obvious Convergence is occurring between science and technology. I have been posting links to numerous articles that explore possible futures. These futures are important for us to understand, as they usher in a very Pivotal Decade. Here is another set of articles that help us envision the future.

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Change Has Never Been This Fast – It Will Never Be This Slow Again

Happy New Year all! As we enter the next decade, an expression that is now popular rings true: Change Has Never Been This Fast – It Will Never Be This Slow Again. It is not just the speed of change – which many attribute to Exponential Progression driven in part by the Convergence of Science and TechnologyFuturistic Developmentsbut the sheer number of Dots Connecting in what is a very complex system. As is customary this time of year, there is no shortage of content focused on the year or decade ahead.

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What things are Likely to Disappear in the Next Ten Years?

To dematerialize is to become free of physical substance; cease to have material character or qualities. In the digital age, many things have dematerialized. The iPhone for example has eliminated cameras, GPS devices, and several other pieces of hardware. More is likely to disappear in the next ten years, as innovation renders relics from our past obsolete. Here is a List of ten things that are likely to disappear in the next ten years.

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Life in 2030 could be Unrecognizable

Predictions for the new year are a normal phenomenon as the current one draws to a close – but the close of a decade is different. As we approach a new decade, predictions focus on the broad arc of the coming decade – and this Article does just that. Author Eric Mack seems to view the 2020s through the same lens that I have – a society-altering decade may lie in wait. As the author notes; life in 2030 could be unrecognizable if some of what he describes is realized. Take a read to explore these possibilities:

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A Pivotal Decade Lies Ahead

The world is about to enter a pivotal decade. This decade is likely to be remembered as the launching pad to a very different future. The next ten years are marked by uncertainty, complexity, and an inability to predict how an overwhelming number of Dots Connect to shape the decade. In a 2018 post, I looked at some work by Karen Harris and others that focused on some of the Macro Trends that drive the decade. In the supporting insights report, the authors see volatility emerging from the Collision of Demographics, Automation, and Inequality. These three factors drive a very Turbulent 2020s and Beyond.

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Can Artificial Intelligence Predict the Future?

AI Predicting the FutureArtificial Intelligence is expected to handle many things in the future; is predicting that future one of them? In a recent Article by The Economist, an AI called GPT-2, created by Openai, was asked to do just that. GPT-2 answered questions on the big themes for 2020. At this time of year, predictions are front and center. What did our AI have to say about the year ahead? Read the article to see how GP2 answered these questions.

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Ray Kurzweil Predicts: Disease, Reality, and Brain Interaction

Ray Kurzwiel has always been very good at predicting; which will make some of his recent predictions scary for some and fascinating for others. That’s the general reaction when people are exposed to some of what Futurists see coming. Out of the 147 predictions he made in his various books, only 3 turned out to be totally wrong. With that knowledge in hand, this recent Article describes some of Ray’s recent predictions. Scary, fascinating, or some combination of the two? Here is a look at three of his recent predictions:

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Trends that could change everything in the next decade

CCS Insight delivered a set of future predictions at its annual future-gazing event in London on Thursday 3 October. CCS InsightA longer than usual time frame was the focus, stretching to 2030. A total of 90 predictions were released. I include some interesting ones below.

 

PREDICTIONS

By 2021, algorithmic and anti-bias data auditors emerge to tackle “pale, male and stale” artificial intelligence.

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Future Today Institute: 2019 Trends Report

As leaders struggle with a very uncertain and complex future, the pace of change serves to complicate any effort to understand that future. Organizations like the Future Today Institute (FTI) provide leaders with a window into possible futures – and the methods required to track signals. Amy Webb – Founder and CEO of the Organization had this to say:

“We cannot know exactly what the future holds — which is an excellent reason to track signals and decisions not just at the start of a new year, but all year long. Don’t wait for your next big quarterly meeting to make decisions. Think exponentially, look for intersecting vectors of change and figure out ways to make incremental decisions as often as possible. Always remember that the future isn’t yet written. You and your team have the power to build your preferred futures, today.”

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What to Expect in 2019

With the start of a new year, the traditional focus on predictions has begun. Prognosticators do so at their own peril – as this New Yorker Article clearly articulates. It seems that in 1968,  the Foreign Policy Association (formed in 1918 to promote the League of Nations), celebrated its fiftieth anniversary by publishing a book of predictions about what the world would look like in fifty years. Well, here we are fifty years later, and if history is any guide, futurists have very little credibility. Although predictions these days may be even more difficult given our complex systems are progressing and scaling at an unprecedented rate, a macro-level focus can provide an ability to scan beyond the horizon. So rather than attempt to predict, here are my 2019 thoughts on several macro-level forces.

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Mary Meeker: Internet Trends 2018

On May 30th, Mary Meeker delivered her now famous Internet Trends Report for 2018. She covered:

Mary Meeker Internet Trend Study 2018

Enjoy.

2017 Predictions

“I am blown away by how palpable the feeling of exponential change has become. I’m also certain that 99.999% of humanity doesn’t understand or appreciate the ramifications of what is coming”

-Peter Diamandis

On Wednesday January 4th, I participated in a Game Changers radio program focused on predictions for 2017. The program, hosted by Bonnie D. Graham, included 15 other guests in an hour long show made up of four segments. A rebroadcast can be found here.

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