Outlook 2015 – by World Future Society

I. WORK AND THE ECONOMY
II. INNOVATION AND EXPLORATION
III. ENVIRONMENT AND RESOURCES
IV. POLICY, GOVERNANCE, AND WORLD AFFAIRS

I. WORK AND THE ECONOMY
– Two billion jobs will disappear by 2030.
– Climate change could increase the costs of doing business; it could also offer more business opportunities.
– Advances in artificial intelligence could create a rapidly accelerating economy, but one that pushes more human workers aside.
– Teachers may be glad to be replaced by machines when it comes to grading papers. And AI will offer fairer, faster scoring.
– A looming pension crisis could engulf state and local governments.
– The talent shortage in the United States and other developed countries will grow, as baby boomers retire and younger workers fail to pick up the needed skills.
– Knowledge workers, say goodbye to IT departments.
II. INNOVATION AND EXPLORATION
– Computers will perfectly understand our words—and may use them against us.
– Soldiers will gird up in iron suits. So will elderly civilians.
– Computer chips will shrink to the size of dust—and become just as ubiquitous.
– Hybrid materials will blend the properties of living and nonliving things.
– Drones will become vital tools for environmental management and protection.
– Plants that “talk” to us could become our allies in ecosystem monitoring.
– Smarter sex toys: The technologies of intimacy will become more interactive—and more intimate
– Microbes will help us colonize space.
– Teleportation is getting closer, photon by photon.
– The path to Mars goes through the Moon first.
– If extraterrestrial life is out there, we will develop the tools to find it.
III. ENVIRONMENT AND RESOURCES
– More animal species will go extinct wherever human population density increases.
– More power for more people will strain electricity supplies. Increasing demand may drive development of renewables.
– Many forests will grow old before their time.
– Plants will offset some climate change by ingesting more carbon dioxide.
– Biomass could become a staple transportation-fuel source.
– Mega-fires in forests around the world will become more frequent.
– Urban forests could keep humans better connected to nature and each other.
– Small-scale energy for households could one day come from rainwater.
– The rodents will rise! Rats could play a more-prominent role in Earth’s ecosystems.
– Earth’s oceans will disappear entirely—in about a billion years.
– Wise local gardeners will feed the world.
– High-value goods from low-value woods could help restore the world’s forests.
HEALTH AND WELL-BEING
– Swallow that sensor! Better health through big data.
– We will engineer ourselves to be ageless and disease-free.
– Future dreams may be sweeter, thanks to specially designed aural enhancements.
– Plasma will offer a new weapon against antibiotic-resistant bugs.
– Touch-sensitive prosthetics will give users a better feel for their environments.
– Synthetic biology could pave the way for improved medical treatments.
IV. POLICY, GOVERNANCE, AND WORLD AFFAIRS
– Growing disparities in wealth portend increased potential for civil war.
– Listen up, leaders of China! Social media will become increasingly important in political uprisings.
– Chinese, Russian, and other languages will play a greater role in online content.
– Spanish may ultimately conquer indigenous languages in Mexico.
– Liar, liar, brain waves on fire! Brain scanning could one day replace jurors as finders of facts.
– Driverless cars could reduce burdens on courts—and put auto insurance companies out of business.
– Militaries will be able to read the minds of potential traitors, preventing insider attacks.
– Science collaborations may bring distrustful nations closer together.
– Data will give police a new weapon for fighting crime.
– Religious values may become a key consideration for developing policies on such issues as water management.

Outlook 2015 – by World Future Society