Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Web Secret 399: 20 predictions for the next 20 years (part 2)

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of their existence, Fast Company published an issue that reviewed both the most important events of the past 20 years and their 20 key predictions for the next 20.

Here is the second half of that list of predictions - condensed - which should be required reading for (let me think) EVERYONE.

11. Medical Training Will Be Rewritten. As our library of medical knowledge expands beyond any doctor’s ability to retain all that information, the doctors of the future will have to become data interpreters, tapping into Watson-like technical tools to both diagnose conditions and optimize treatments.

12. Human Empathy Will Be Central. As machine learning and artificial intelligence insinuate themselves more deeply into the workplace, the one arena that will never be usurped by technology is human-to-human communication.

13. Entrepreneurship Will Not Be for Everyone. Entrepreneurship is hard work that requires both high-intensity risk taking and a steel-stomach capacity for absorbing disappointment. Some people are psychologically suited for this roller coaster; many of us are not.

14. Bubbles Will Burst. There is always a bubble somewhere. Some investors will get burned; others will get rich. Which is which? We’ll know once it happens. When major bubbles burst, almost everyone is taken by surprise and even those who aren’t are generally upended nearly as much as the rest of us. What’s most important, is remaining adaptable: If the arena you’re involved in turns out to be a bubble, it will be time to change arenas.

15. Simple Will Be More Difficult. New technologies often rise on the promise of making everything simpler, better, and cheaper. Rarely do things remain simple for long. Consider the advertising marketplace, which once seemed pretty straightforward. Marketers can now target specific pools of customers and track their activity. There are more avenues for reaching customers than ever, and managing a variety of social, web, and mobile programs makes the old days of TV’s hegemony seem quaintly appealing. The industry will become more effective at targeting the right message to the right person in the right way, but it will also be more complex.

16. Cybersecurity Will Be Costly. Every company is a "tech company" today because we all use tech­nology to operate. The necessary corollary to this fact: We are all vulnerable to cyber­disruption, whether from hackers or our own or others’ incompetence. Every enterprise will need cyber­protection in ways that haven’t historically been budgeted for. Costs will rise. Count on it.

17. China and India Will Dominate. It has long been predicted that the "sleeping giants" China and India would awake to challenge U.S. and European economic dominance. In the past 20 years, the progression down this path has not been a straight line—but it has been un­deniable. The manifestations have been counterintuitive too: Apple is effectively a China-centered manufacturing giant with an American design and marketing arm. The impact of these rising economies will continue to deepen.

18. Food Will Be Healthier. It is undoubtedly true that we are more aware of what we are putting into our bodies than ever. Consumers are willing to pay for higher-quality products and, even more, to demand them. What once was luxury will, over time, become commonplace.

19. Cash Will Disappear. Electronic payments via phones and chips are the wave that will wash away the need for cash entirely.

20. We Will All Be Family. The ongoing wave of technological change will only draw us into closer proximity. It will be increasingly difficult to ignore the troubles in other parts of the globe, and we’ll have a vested interest in maintaining peace. Of these 20 items, this is the one with the largest measure of hope: that our increasing knowledge of and intimacy with one another leads to greater understanding and opportunity for all.

Think about it.

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