I thought it would be fun to write a post on significant changes coming in this decade. The fun will be in reading it in 10 years.
While I should have done it in January, it’s never too late. And now it is especially interesting due to COVID-19 throwing the plans of the whole world into the bin.
All the predictions below are what I believe to be long-term directions for the world. COVID-19 has accelerated some of them, and some might be changes the world will experience due to the pandemic.
P.S. They are not set in any particular order.
1. Education Moves Online
People are increasingly catching up and realising that classroom education is obsolete. The current education system was made for a different time in human development, and now it’s served its purpose.
Universities have become 1) factories – churning out new graduates with no real skills or job prospects, and 2) corporations – making billions of dollars and putting students in lifetime debt, making them dependent instead of independent.
Education will move online except for fields that require physical presence like medicine.
Students will now learn from doers from around the world with real-life practical experience.
It will be interesting to see what happens to all the real estate owned by educational institutions and to academics whose only skill is writing journals no one reads and seeking validation from peers.
2. eSports Overtakes Traditional Sport
eSports revenue last year was just over a billion dollars, with an audience size of about 500 million. This is still tiny compared to traditional sports with FIFA World Cup alone watched by 3.5 billion people.
However, a lot of sporting clubs, leagues, and even whole sporting codes might not be able to recover from COVID-19. There will definitely be pay cuts, lower advertising revenue, and maybe fewer fans as people reduce travel and avoid big crowds once the outbreak is over.
eSports will continue to grow quickly and as technology like VR improves (see no. 6 for VR), so will the experience for both players and fans.
3. Spiritually/Religion Makes a Comeback
The past decade was marked by peak “atheism”.
I believe many people were afraid to mention religion or talk about their beliefs in public (Trump’s win was an example of that). This was mostly due to the fear of discrimination or ridicule by the thought police.
Things are starting to change slowly. More people seem to be (anecdotally) voicing their beliefs in public. Poor economic conditions from COVID-19 will push some of the non-believers to religion or other forms of spiritually.
4. Localism/Communities Flourish
In the middle ages we had localism, then the industrial revolution, globalisation, protectionism, and then globalisation again.
Due to COVID-19, the technology that allows for remote work, and increasing pressure on cities and people in those cities, localism has a good chance of taking off.
I think people will increasingly buy local and attempt to avoid big tech platforms and form smaller online communities.
As bureaucracy centralises power (see no. 10) and people embrace localism, there will be a growing divide and disconnect between the two.
5. Personal Brands
Personal brands will become even more important and widespread.
The middlemen will increasingly lose out. The people with strong personal brands will have more leverage, influence and trust than ever before.
6. VR Experience Blurs Reality
VR is getting really good, and the possibilities are endless. People will get to experience things they never thought possible before.
People might even buy fewer things in the real world because they are available through VR.
Note that I’m not talking about AI, which I think will make little progress during this decade.
Watch this short video:
After being stuck in the same space for so long, I decided to try mapping it to a virtual treehouse for a more relaxing atmosphere. I think it would be great new feature if Oculus could make the home environments mapped to your real home pic.twitter.com/dL7XCOtXEe— Emanuel Tomozei (@eman_insilico) April 4, 2020
7. Regenerative Agriculture
Regenerative Agriculture is a system of farming principles and practices that increases biodiversity, enriches soils, improves watersheds, and enhances ecosystem services.
As someone who spent early childhood on a small farm, I find regenerative agriculture to be just a normal, common-sense way of doing farming.
However, it has become a rare sight over the last few decades due to commercialisation, increased size of the farms, and use of pesticides.
Regenerative agriculture is a new name but an old concept that will make a comeback this decade. It won’t replace current farming practices, but more people will start practising it, and consumers will become more knowledgeable about the origins of their food.
Dark kitchens (kitchens that sell meals exclusively through delivery) are already popping up.
This trend will continue to grow exponentially, especially after COVID-19. It makes sense for both the kitchen owners and consumers.
Most of all, it’s probably the only way all the food delivery services can become profitable, and they will push hard to make ghost kitchens happen at scale.
9. Space Still Far Away
This is one area where we won’t make much progress this decade.
I’ve been cheering Elon Musk for years and would love to see humans do more in space.
However, while my knowledge of space exploration is peripheral and I’ve been following it on and off for a few years, I don’t think we will get anywhere near having a base on Mars or sending more than a few select people to space as tourists.
10. Bureaucracy/Surveillance State
This will be a big negative to come out of the COVID-19. The extraordinary powers granted to governments due to the pandemic will not be lifted after it’s over.
Despite all the failures, the governments around the world will grow even bigger, increasing centralisation of power, and having even more people dependent on the institutions.
Surveillance and data sharing between countries and between governments and corporations will increase.
Social distancing might make people even less able to organise to protect freedoms and keep governments in check.
The Bottom Line
Most of the above predictions are positive. I believe that in 10 years time, the world will be an even better place than today.
Now is the opportunity for all of us to build that world.
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