The Futurium report I covered in a previous blog post is mostly the usual obvious stuff about what’s likely to happen in the near future, which any regular reader of Wired will be familiar with. But here are some of the report’s fresher and less obvious ideas, that I spotted…
* “The practice of history and historical research will change with burgeoning sub-fields around biographies, living history, stories, and trans-generational narratives”. Due to an ageing society, which finds ways to manage and benefit from ageing. Interactions between disparate generations will spawn new niches in retail and services.
* Increased efforts to conserve cultural diversity, partly because of the lessons the ageing West can learn there — in terms of natural therapies, plant medicines and risk avoidance behaviours.
* “Micro multinational firms”, where each individual is capable to running “a one-man shop with global reach and industry-standard competencies”.
* “Will it be possible to build new and sustainable welfare systems that cater for different [and overlapping] employment/activity periods over the whole lifespan of individuals?”
* “More and more individuals will find each other through social interactions around shared learning interests. The number of “talented amateurs” as teachers will grow as technology and social networks make it ever easier to share and co-learn and as methods for receiving compensation for teaching evolve. … Society will formally recognize new credentials and standards [from new types of learning]”
* “Individuals will (perceive themselves to) connect over shared interests rather than common platforms.” Some types of people start to prefer virtual or Web-distance relationships over face-to-face relationships. Software will offer a “large degree of control the user has over interactions, social conditions and self-image” in such digital relationships.
* “Schools will completely dismantle birth-year-based organization [in favour of] sophisticated arrangements based on [tested] competency and individual development”
* “a coherent set of trading rules” evolve around Big Data, with value partly quantified by assured trust levels.
* The “First creative genius emerges [and claims their obvious talent as] a result of neurological download or other [smart drug, embeddable technology, etc] enhancement.”
* Small-scale social financing will be made increasingly sophisticated and useful. It may even be found to be scalable, or cluster-able in synergistic federations of successful projects.
* Scientists increasingly work on complex models of processes which claim to mimic the world, but the sheer complexity of the actual world defeats most proposed applications. Bio-mimicry research and technology has far more success, because it comes direct from nature, and nature has already learned to deal with infinite complexity. Better, humanity can now add a few new tweaks to natural solutions at the genetic level.
* A future in which useful products from the past are always available and never become obsolete.
* Biodegradable snack and drinks packaging, leading to street rubbish that vanishes within a week of exposure to rainwater. Vast arrays of tiny sensors used for monitoring ecosystems, rivers etc are also set to naturally decay after the end of the project.
* The rise in mega-cities and their employment patterns will lead to unavoidable “sorting effects” in terms of rewarding intrinsic ability.
* Governments find some viable ways to informally tax the shadow economies.