Two more months and stop, it closes. A decade is over and the focus is on the next: what will the 20s bring us? From the premises they will be anything but boring.
The automation revolution, increasingly dangerous artificial intelligence, the geohacking of the planet and radical advances in biotechnology. A lot of things await us: this is what the world will look like in the next 10 years in 11 forecasts for the future.
Disclaimer: making predictions about the future is easy, the hard part is getting them right. The premise is clear and obvious. Also because in here there is no tarot card. Anyone would like to discover their future, but I am not an oracle and my site is not the book of oracles. It must be said, however, that when one observes the tangible emergence of some trends, the hypotheses always make sense. It is then that we start talking not of 'predictions of the future' but of predictions of the future :)
1 The new industrial revolution
The great growth of automation and the consequent onset of technological unemployment raise more than one concern. Indeed, the next decade will result in significant cuts in the human workforce. It is the result of constant improvements in robotics and artificial intelligence.
Not everyone sees it black, however: a forecast of the future comes from a search for the World Economic Forum 2018 who proposed the loss of 75 million jobs worldwide by 2022 due to automation, offset by the birth of 133 million jobs linked to this transition. In all, therefore, the forecasts for the future show a net increase of 58 million jobs which should represent a nice "rebound", a push for change in the entire industrial sector.
Editor's note: A post that challenges Covid
A note in retrospect: this post was released on January 7, 2020, on the eve of a total upheaval, that of the pandemic. The world in the future, life in the future and the things that will happen will absolutely be affected by this event as well. The world in 50 years will be different than it would have been without the spread of the coronavirus. I know, we know. But these future predictions have remained absolutely valid and intact, and even Covid has accelerated them.
I could not guarantee the quality and compensation of these new works, net of their number. They will not be free, however. The fate of many workers is unfortunately out of the game. In any case, this change will require a significant requalification and other important adjustments of the professional figures. A likely trend in the 20s, however, will be jobs involving cobots, robots that do not replace humans, but are created to collaborate with them by diversifying their functions. It could be the "right means" that also drives SMEs towards low-cost automation: to provide a class of cheaper robots that speed up work but do not compromise human resources.
2 The world of the future: a peaceful and lasting revolution
In his predictions about the future the writer PW Singer (one who could really predict the future because he had love for the future) says a simple thing. He says we should focus less on fear of a robot "riot" for years to come. Perhaps, worry more about the start of a peaceful and profitable revolution.
"We are entering an industrial revolution similar to the rise of the steam engine and factories"Singer explained. “A wave of automation and artificial intelligence is affecting all sectors of society, applied everywhere from the farm and home to the battlefield. There will be incredible improvements in efficiency and paths that humans could never have done on their own. "
Singer said that people have already forgotten the traumas inflicted by the previous industrial revolution, but we are already seeing the disruption of jobs and roles, the alteration of voting policies, the rise of new legal and ethical issues, and new policies. and ideologies.
"The latest industrial revolution has brought everything from our conception of modern capitalism to the ideologies of socialism, communism and fascism, which we have spent shaking the next few centuries"Singer said. It is clear that the predictions on the future of the 20s will probably leave aside subtle but profound transformations in the emotional and social fabric of the world.
3 The decade of autonomous driving
Second Lyndsay Wasser, co-chair of McMillan's privacy and data protection group the impact of widespread autonomous vehicles it will be "huge".
“A number of industries will be affected and job losses are inevitable, including both direct impact organizations, such as taxi and truck companies, as well as associated industries such as auto insurance, gas stations and the parking facilities ", has explained Water.
The widespread introduction of autonomous vehicles will also affect how people and families approach transportation. What will the world be like in the future of the automotive industry in the coming times?
"The cost of owning such a vehicle makes it unlikely that most low and middle-income families will buy such a car in the near future"Says Water. “Many consumers are likely to give up ownership in favor of vehicle-sharing ecosystems. While there are many anticipated benefits associated with AV, such as increased safety and mobility for people who are unable to drive, technology is associated with significant risks. In particular, an autonomous vehicle could be used as a weapon if a hacker or malicious cyber-terrorist gains control. The volume of data generated by autonomous vehicles also generates real privacy concerns. "
4 Autonomous vehicles: vertical ascent
Sarah Kaufmann, associate director of the New York University's Rudin Center for Transportation, is keen to reveal that much of the 2020s will be characterized by the rise of autonomous vehicles.
“Everyone and everything will move to fleets. Fleets of taxis, UPS trucks, bicycles and drones. No vehicle ownership in town. People will travel as part of a larger online intelligence network. Terranno track of that person's calendar, mood, physical composition and travel needs: they will be matched to the right vehicle ".
Forecast for the future? Phones will introduce us to things like: "You ate too much pizza last night: ride your bike to work today" or even suggest vehicle types according to habits: "Since you are taking your son and his three friends to practice hockey, use this SUV".
All vehicles on the road will detect and move in perfect concert to avoid collisions and conflicts. And guess what? They will move more slowly, but safely.
The machines will be able to drive unsupervised, generate compelling news articles and fully automate many jobs, including basic secretarial work and investments. At the same time, and as a side effect of this progress, the cognitive gap between people and machines will also increase, which means that the degree of intelligence that separates AI from humans will get bigger and bigger and certainly not to our advantage.
The 20s could also see a dramatic change in the way we live in movable and immovable property. The boundary between vehicle and home will be increasingly blurred, and also the intended use of an inhabited area will be mobile and changeable. The very nature of work, which is increasingly dematerialized (also in terms of VR solutions for business) will allow a new generation of "digital nomads" to live and work practically anywhere.
5 A fake world. On the contrary: deepfake
If the development of technologies deepfake will continue with the current speed, to say if a news is false or true will be a pure bet. This state of affairs will have an unprecedented impact on our democracy and social cohesion, as well as on law, privacy and security.
Forecasts for the future of Finn Brunton, associate professor of media, culture and communication at New York University, say there will be several manipulation strategies related to this technology.
"The ability to generate mostly synthetic or totally synthetic videos will become easier and faster, perfecting the method will allow you to produce personalized and targeted videos on different subjects." A bit like Cambridge Analytica's propaganda, but with personalized videos.
Some of these fakes will be rough, he said, but many people will still fall for these tricks.
Instead of trolling on Twitter to manipulate public opinion, the actors willing to persuade "will create, reinforce and amplify small isolated subcultures to push their ideas and beliefs more and more in the directions in which their creators want to see them go."
6 Killer drones
The development and spread of autonomous drones could lead to the emergence and proliferation of terrorist or demonstration actions that make use of armed drones "do-it-yourself". It will sound spooky, but in the 20s we could see the first assassination of a high-ranking Western politician or major public figure at the hands of a remotely operated, or perhaps autonomous, drone. (EDIT January 5, 2020: the first example has already happened in the East with thekilling of General Soleimani). This also raises the questions that I would like politics to ask: knowing that just pressing a button to make anyone in the world die is not a good feeling.
7 The advent of artificial superintelligence
Artificial intelligence is destined to become increasingly unpredictable, and in some cases inexplicable and incomprehensible, both for the general public and for experts. The problem of the 20s may no longer be to create one AI super capable. It could be to question an AI in the right way to understand its logic and behavior. In other words, we will begin the great run-up, with strong chances of losing it. If that happens we will be out of the AI decision-making process, "she" will give us huge potential problems and perhaps even large-scale catastrophes.
Will AI take over men or not?
Our ability to read and limit any artificial super intelligence once it emerges remains an open question. It may not happen, but we should prepare accordingly for any eventuality.
In 1999 the futurist Ray Kurzweil predicted that a superintelligent machine would not appear until about 2045-2050. He may still be right. To occur in the next decade, this eventuality would require a significant technological leap.
In any case, in the next few years social awareness will increase on the dangers represented by AI, a bit like environmental awareness emerges today. Douglas Vakoch, astrobiologist and president of METI (Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence), says that as computers acquire power and become more human-like in function and form, “We will feel increasingly threatened. It will increase the fear that our creatures can overcome us, and perhaps destroy us “.
8 Hack the planet
If AI gets scarier during the 2020s, climate change is no joke. By 2020 we should, unfortunately, witness an increasing number of hardships and catastrophes, multiple heat waves and drought until the rise of marine waters, storms, floods and fires. Discovering the future in these cases can be a very painful exercise of love: you want to stop divination.
There is a strong possibility that the nations of the world will still not reach their climate goals. In place of internationally binding agreements and treaties, we are likely to undertake our first clumsy efforts to repair the environment by other means, such as geoengineering.
The proposed solutions include efforts to increase the reflectivity of the clouds, the construction of giant space reflectors, the fertilization of the oceans, the introduction of stratospheric aerosols, among other ideas. The problem with geoengineering, however, is that we could completely ruin the planet and further damage the climate. We should expect to see debates on the geoengineering perspective.
9 The danger of 'climate delay'
There is of course the possibility that governments are actually working to reduce carbon emissions, but the effects will not be immediate due to a phenomenon known as "climate retardation".
In other words, a delay between reductions in carbon emissions and sudden changes in temperature. Today we could reduce all carbon emissions and we will most likely see continuous temperature increases for the next two decades.
An obvious environmental problem, but also a political one.
What can be said to citizens who have agreed to make big changes in their lives, even sacrifices, if they don't see seemingly positive results? Saying "could have been worse" or hoping for luck rarely works.
10 Better and more powerful biotechnology
Biotechnology will continue to advance during the years 2020 to 2030. It will probably take another or two generations to see genetically engineered "babies," but important progress in this area is expected over the next 10 years.
At present, scientists in the United States and elsewhere can genetically modify human embryos for experimentation, but the cells must be destroyed within days. Don't expect this to change in the 20s, but the 30s may be a different story.
11 The medicine will be personalized
Predictions about the future of medicine in the 20s have a key word: personalization. The so-called "precision medicine" should finally make its appearance in the 20s. Healthcare professionals will customize their therapies based not only on genetics but also on the patient's context or lifestyle. Genetic analysis and AI will allow healthcare professionals to develop personalized treatments instead of our current one-size-fits-all approach.
12 CRISPR will continue to cause a sensation, indeed more
Jennifer Doudna is co-inventor of CRISPR and biochemistry at UC Berkeley (and subsequently to this post won the Nobel for chemistry). He stated that, in the next 10 years, “We may see new drugs and individualized approaches based on CRISPR to treat and potentially cure most intractable genetic diseases, such as cystic fibrosis ". In agriculture, researchers will apply CRISPR to grow more nutritious and robust crops and establish "genetic protections" to control the spread of infectious diseases such as malaria and Zika virus.
The 20s could see the first attempts to genetically modify living organisms such as mosquitoes. But "To ensure the responsible development of these wide-ranging applications", Doudna claimed it will be "It is vital to continue the public discourse on uses and regulation" of these powerful technologies.
13 New perspectives of our role in space
Finally, the next decade will see a dramatic increase in our understanding of the cosmos, and perhaps also of extraterrestrial life. Next generation telescopes, such as the James Webb Space Telescope andEuropean Extremely Large Telescope, they are ready to redefine our knowledge of the galaxy.
Advances in computing power will provide a big boost to SETI. We will be able to scan the skies for signs of intelligent life at a rate ever so fast. I want to be clear on this, and make a solemn prediction (free oracles, indeed!): By the end of the next decade, humanity will have counted a million nearby stars. This is a large enough number to give us some realistic chance of finding life in the cosmos. The chances of discovering that we are not alone in the universe however will be higher than until now.