Adjiedj Bakas: Megatrends
Yesterday's speaker was Adjiedj Bakas, one of Europes Megatrendwatchers who gave us a view into the future. He adressed some 9 megatrends ranging from a 'world without oil' to a 'shift in power'. Here are just a few thoughts from that presentation:
One of the trends we're going to see in the near future is a shift in balance. Geographical nations will change into new communities. National identity will shift to corporate identity as we will see the growth of some stellar companies. In many ways this trend reminds me of the dystopian society of Gibson's Neuromancer.
Technology drives us forward, be it for good or bad. The world has changed through technology:
- We used to book our flight tickets at a travel agency and receive the ticket at home. Now we book online, have to print our e-ticket ourselves and check in online. Did it make prices drop? No, it just gave the industry a better margin.
- We're seeing unmanned cashregisters appear. Do the prices of groceries drop? Nope, it just gives the company a better margin.
- We used to go to banks to make a cash withdrawal. Now we've got cashmachines and we draw our money from the wall. It didn't get cheaper for us.
It is sold to us as extra service while the business actually crowdsources its workload to the consumer. We are getting prosumers.
Under pressure, everything becomes liquid. Although we've only used about a quarter of our oil reserves yet, we do have an energy and environmental problem. We'll see new technology in the very near future that will reduce energy consumption.
- In the next two years we will see the ECO-Hummer, a CO2 eating humvee (Hummer 02).
- We'll see a shift in building. For instance look at the Burj Al-Taqa Energy Tower in Dubai, this commercial high rise will produce zero emissions and use sun, wind and water to create all of its own energy and more, enough clean energy for 10 others.
- EasyJet, one of Europes price-fighting airline companies has designed a new jet which it will take into production next year, as well as Boeing.
- British Petrol is working on creating a new enzyme that produces oil (project stalled due to ethical discussion with the Vatican), whereas Shell is working on oil producing fungy.
Do not underestimate the power of the Asian world. Just being statistical: China has more high-IQ kids than the US has kids in total. For every 20 kids born in the USA, about 250 are born in China and 350 in India. Do not overestimate the power of China either: Up till the industrial revelution, China has always been good for about 30% of the world economy. They just had a dip and are working their way back to where they belong. Yet in these times, when China had 30% of the world economy, the Netherlands still managed to have its Golden Age. We just have to do the right things.
A random thought (I forgot which trend it belonged to)
If you read the New York Times you'll get more information in a week than the average guy got in his entire lifetime in the 18th century. This year we're producing about 1.5 exabytes of information, which is more than we've done in the past 5,000 years.