Future Predictions In A Laboratory At The Vortex Of Hyper Speeding Transformation: It has become increasingly difficult to predict the future when the present moment in itself is speeding ahead of you. It is as if the present moment was becoming increasingly smaller in terms of it timeline significance -- the present vanishes into the past (into history) faster than ever before, with very little temporal stability to allow any Futurist enough time to even consider all of the variables and work involved in forecasting.
This will be one of the most frightening/exciting, mind-stretching, dissonance-provoking articles you will read in The Global Futurist Blog. Change is happening ever faster -- not only faster, but at a shockingly accelerating rate.
The increasing analytic relevance and applicability of Moore's Law, Schroedinger's Cat and The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle have made a dedicated Futurist's life more of a study involving 1) history and its lessons about cause and effect chains; 2) behavioral psychology (especially in how people respond to radically-decreasing signal-to-noise ratios, multi-sensorial over-stimulation and repetitive stressors); 3)the rise and fall of dynasties and civilizations; 4) the extinction of various species of flora and fauna; and, 5) longer-term recurring socioeconomic waves and cycles (over a geological time frame) than merely trend-spotting or chit-chatting about applications, robotics and gadgetry, as many of my colleagues are inclined to do.
I am, as you are, in the epicenter of a hyper speeding tornado-like funnel of cataclysmic change -- it's rather like trying to take a picture when the scenery changes far faster than your shutter speed can accommodate. The distortions and contortions tend to blur the line between reality and imagination -- in fact, you may be inclined to believe that either 1) reality is subjective (i.e., it doesn't exist, so we invent it, or agree upon it by some social consensus), or 2) that there are many realities or universes within us and/or around us.
In fact, before I take your breath away, you might want to savor the blend of futurism and fantasy that the World Future Society provides in its newsletter, just to relax you a bit with some isolated forecasts; but when you've finished, come right back here and let me into your mind. If clicking on the logo below doesn't do the trick, just click on http://www.wfs.org/forecasts/
And now, readers of The Global Futurist Blog, The Internationalist Page Blog, The CFI - CrowdFunding Incubator's "Notes From The CEO," and The Business And Project Planning And Management Blog, I am offering some very general but highly significant predictions of MegaTrends during these next 25 years. In arriving at these, I have used limited tools (some of them are obsolete or displaced before I even finish using them) and tried to compensate with an extrapolation of what I believe are the most significant long-wave trends, behavioral and industrial psychology, economics and banking, and a bit of helpful input from the scientific community regarding major environmental and ecosystem events, climatic change, geological changes, and technological tendencies.
Candidly, I have given a great deal of weight to selected long-wave cycle technological trends, economic trends, geological predictions made by others more well-versed than I and have applied behavioral science to them:
1) The PC (even surviving as a dumb terminal with an uplink to the cloud and with a QWERTY keyboard) is here to stay, despite the prevalence of apps, smallerization, the cloud, all manner of mobile devices and gamification. The reason is that the comfort of the tactile keyboard, and the posture of sitting upright and working are hard-wired into our culture, and perhaps even our genes. PCs and notebooks may not be front -page news, but they are riveted into a see, sit and touch culture -- a culture of owning things that can be hidden safely away from others and truly possessed;
2) Fossil fuels will first be supplemented and then supplanted by other technologies -- but the same roster of Big Oil Club members playing with our lives will acquire any of these technologies which appears threatening; "if you can't beat 'em, buy 'em.";
3) The European Union will become divided and exist only nominally, as members part along both sovereign and ethnic lines;
4) Satellite access will begin to replace internet and wi-fi -- cellular telephones, and other compact mobile devices will become more prevalent due to the decreasing expense of these devices and the widespread belief that satellite communications are far more private and less prone to hacking and hijacking;
5) The world's supply of potable water will be declining due to a combination of climatic change, offshore oil drilling, clandestine waste disposal and the emergence of rapidly-evolving biological (microbial, bacterial, viral) pollutants, radiation and disrupted ecosystems.
Water will be a commodity and will be exchange-traded. The few countries with the world's best desalinization and decontamination technologies (such as Israel) will become very rich through leasing their technologies and devices to other nations who have become too de-industrialized to develop or manufacture their own super water distilleries.
6) Non-militia private armies (spawned and groomed through the "war on terror") will be springing up and combining interests with major conglomerates which will need defending in an increasingly hungry and hostile world. Each of these major conglomerates will be like a feudal fiefdom or kingdom in a world where governments will be subservient to their interests and increasingly irrelevant. Nation-States will try to maintain their controls over the poorer populace in order sustain themselves through taxes and script, but loyalties will lie with conglomerates which, in turn have no loyalty to any individual nations. All militaries will be privatized, with their only true competition being the well-armed and sophisticated multinational drug cartels.
7) Prisons will be privatized, and the number of prisoners, as a percentage of the populations of industrialized nations, will steadily increase to quell political attacks on governments, and to fuel this profitable industry. Just as lobbyists virtually write up legislation in the world's great representative chambers, these private prisons will "assist" the legislature in imposing stiffer financial penalties and longer terms of incarceration to enable these port-o-prisons to flourish and multiply due to increased capacity demands;
8) Anticipate tremendous turmoil and loss of life in the Middle East, Africa and Islamic parts of the South Pacific as Fundamentalist groups do battle with each other for domination of the Muslim world. This will be fighting both within and between nations as various militant factions divided by loyalties, and by faiths (i.e., Sunni Muslims versus Shia Muslims). Iran will become an increasing treat and an increasing agitator, but it is unlikely that they will engage in direct warfare -- more likely than not we will experience rocket attacks, drone strikes (they will acquire that technology) and other terrorism directed at Israel, but intended to get the ire of the USA up.
9) In 25 years from now, the United States will be predominantly occupied by Hispanic peoples, African Americans and Asians. The population of Caucasians remaining will be very small, and more than half of the populace will be working government agencies, and quasi-governmental entities. There will also be an increasing percentage of both Hispanics and Asians to Canada, which will still remain predominantly Caucasian, but will experience an influx of Asians from the United States.
10) Potential longevity will have doubled with the use of stem cell and robotic technologies, but the declining standard of healthcare will keep the mean age of survival down. There will be an obvious divide in the life expectancy of the few very rich and the multitudes of working and non-working poor. There will be very, very little remaining of what once was the Middle Class.
Lastly, most every major company will have an in-house hacker of its own -- and these "Systems Research Professionals," "Data Analysts," and "Information Systems Protection Officers," will indeed be sharing the C-Suite with the rest of the traditional cadre of C-Suite denizens. How respectable. How sensible, too -- How do you protect your informational integrity from hackers? By hiring your own to either detect their attacks early (heuristically), or by engaging in pre-emptive industrial espionage.
Think on that for a while. I'll keep you posted.
Thank you for reading me and sharing my articles and work with your social media groups. I appreciate this very much.
Douglas E. Castle