Some years ago I made a number of predictions about the future among family, friends and colleagues which have come true. To me and many others, these predictions made perfect sense. In fact, to any informed person they did not seem like predictions at all, but were simply self evident "weather forecasts" based on trend observations. What about the coming five years?
I'd like to share a few observations that I almost take for granted, but that may, to some people, be startling statements sounding almost like "prophecies".
I wonder what you're thinking when you consider my thoughts about some of the exciting things the future might bring us..?
Five Years Ago
Let's first take a quick look back in time...
For instance, only five years ago I pictured my entire family with online cell phones and instantly shared calendar updates. To me it was self evident. When I shared the vision of this, not many people believed it would come so soon, let alone comprehend why this would be so significant or even necessary. I said it would make sense and improve the quality of my family's life and interaction. Today it's a reality and my peers take it for granted. Interesting phenomenon!
Like the above example, I could share a number of many other predictions I made at the time, but my purpose is not to prove that I was right back then. Rather, let's repeat the exercise of making predictions. Why don't we share some thoughts about the future? The future, as we believe it will be five years from today!
Here are some of the things I believe about the future. (Are you prepared to share some of your beliefs, too..? ;-)
Five Years Into the Future
I'd like to take the web as my stepping stone, as it seems to be an interesting starting point for some of the really BIG and significant changes we'll be witnessing in the years ahead. Here's a quick list of spontaneous examples of what I think we might see:
Individual Privacy Challenged
From today and at least five years ahead in time I believe "an educated person" without one or more maintained online profiles will be rare (exept for "the oldest generation"). Sharing of personal data will increase dramatically. Serious mistakes will be exploited. People will learn and awareness will grow. Security will become an increasingly important isssue. Schools will integrate the social web both as a teaching and collaboration tool, combined with an ongoing warning to be careful.
Growing Collective Genius of the Masses
More and more people will be online around the clock. Human interaction will become increasingly transparent. Enormous amounts of free content will not only increase, it will explode. And to such proportions that it will affect every aspect of our lives (socially / emotionally, physically, spiritually, mentally). We will continuously be surprised about what can be found online and how it can be used.
Lifestyle changing innovations will appear more frequently by how the world makes information and content available to us in smart and adaptive ways. An educated person becomes more and more someone not only with knowledge, but mostly wisdom to find and apply what's in the cloud. (i.e. One that knows how to find and utilize helpful online information in daily living and good decision making.)
This will in turn feed existing challenges, such as an increased gap between rich and poor countries, as well as rich and poor people domestically. On the other hand, it will also enlighten the people and put an end to grand scale manipulation and "tyrannies will fall". E.g. a) big companies with malfunctioning hierarchic structures and b) corrupt nations with controlling and dishonest leadership, to name a few examples.
Growing Entertainment Industry
The media will become highly interactive. Realistic scenario testing will prevent potential disasters and make possible enormous and ever bigger, more sophisticated and risky projects. More and more people will have to deal with virtual reality, where effective people use technology to improve the quality of life and ineffective people become victims of addiction and the loss of a social life.
These are just a few examples of what I believe we'll see more of...
...and can you see how this is just the beginning of a lengthy list of fascinating thoughts and ideas about the future? Why not carefully reflect back on history and forward on the future? I believe it makes living in the present much more interesting and rewarding.
Like I said, if you're looking out for some of the basic trends in society you'll probably consider most of these so-called "predictions" I've just made to be pretty self evident. However, and this is my point; surprisingly many people are living in "isolation" or unconsciously, as it were, by how they seldom reflect on neither history nor the future. They're not up to date... To them, these trends and events gradually appear, but they are stripped of opportunity and value by the way that it reaches them just a little bit too late... (i.e. futuristically) and with little appreciation for how things now can be done so much better (i.e. historically).
Last but not least, if you share your thoughts about the future the majority of people around you may regularly either consider you a "prophet" or a lunatic.
Your Turn to Share
Help me learn from the past, live in the present and look to the future, folks. Share with us your insight and opinions of what's coming around the next bend..!
p.s. It'll be interesting to revisit this blogpost in 2015 ;-)