Our November 2013 survey gave us a good indication on the relevance of the thems to be prioritised.
The theme which received the highest average preference from our electorate of 449 voters was new economic models with 7.87 out of a maximum of ten points.
Voting on futures has an established role in foresight so we wanted a poll to conclude the themes exercise.
The results don't aspire to scientific or democratic legitimacy, but are intended to be indicative of preferences.
Here are eleven themes that will likely shape policiy making in the coming few decades.
Advanced robotics, automation, and manufacturing will bring most of today’s production back to a local sustainable dimension.3D printers will make possible the self-production of many consumer items like clothes or furniture. Only large artefacts (e.g. aircraft) will still be produced in a few centralised plants.
In 20-30 years the world's economy may change significantly, driven by the advent of new technological and societal innovations.Advanced robotics, automation, and manufacturing will bring most of today’s production back to a local sustainable dimension. 3D printers will make possible the self-production of many consumer items like clothes or furniture. Only large artefacts (e.g. aircraft) will still be produced in a few centralised plants.
In 20-30 years, people will be able to work throughout their life and change jobs according to varying personal needs and aspirations.The idea of the steady, permanent job will become a relic of the 20th century. Only a minority of the population will still experience linear/sequential life cycles (i.e. study => job => family => retirement). Citizens instead will do what they like, irrespective of their age.
By 2050, a new form of human (a trans-human) will emerge, where ICTs and bio-medicine will fundamentally improve the human condition and greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities.The augmentation of human beings' cognitive and intellectual abilities through technological implants, such as memory and energy storage, will be possible.
In 2050 people will live longer and healthier lives than ever.Organs will be re-generated in vitro and implanted with 100% success rate, similar to plugging new devices into 20th century computers. Unlimited stem cells will be used to grow or repair any type of organ, in-vitro or in-situ. Transplant rejection will no longer be an issue, and with the exception of the brain, amputated organs will be replaceable by new ones.
The education landscape in 2050 will be characterized by a “blurring of boundaries” between the different levels and directions of education, between higher education and industry.It will provide greater flexibility in designing educational pathways tailored to individual needs, and combining several education modalities into a life-long and stimulating learning experience.
In the coming 20-30 years, people will be more empowered than ever to share knowledge, become aware of their environment, and take informed and responsible decisions.They will become active players in the global scene.
Social media will replace traditional editorial media as the dominant media arena over the next 20-30 years.The evidence is already accumulating: people like to curate their own lives through social media. They become ever more expert in creating their own user-generated content, as new cohorts of youth become active, dramatising and exploiting it through social media. Scarcity of attention means less time for editorial media and fewer resources.
The Internet will continue its expansion as global connector, pushed by the advances in underlying technology foundations (e.g. photonic networks, quantum, organic computing, etc.) and by the need to support more and more sophisticated application scenarios bridging the physical and virtual worlds instantaneously.Its complexity and significance will dramatically increase as we move to the new era of nano sensors and devices, and of virtual spaces and 3D social networks exchanging zillions of bytes of data every month.
The challenges facing humanity are revealing themselves as increasingly global and highly interconnected.The next few decades will give us the tools to start mastering this complexity in terms of a deeper understanding, but also in terms of policy and action with more predictability of impacts.
Cities will grow into megacities, which will be highly vascularized by eco-friendly and energy-sustainable transportation means, and filled with new dwellings and buildings made from innovative construction materials.All elements of the city will be connected to a higher supra-network, the future Internet, on which a whole new service-economy will thrive.
In the coming 30-40 years, societies will be characterised by continuous tension between individual and collective interests, leading to a continuous tension between two opposing models1) a society where only a few decide for all, either as elected representatives, or because new forms of oligarchic power emerged to exert societal manipulation;
2) a society with neither classes nor hierarchies, characterised by participatory leadership and new forms of "chaordic" organisation, where all have the possibility to co-decide on most if not all issues that matter to them.