What’s Our Future?

This robot prepared, partial forecast of the future of this topic predicts massive changes in the way we all live, learn and work during our lifetimes. Read on to find out how the human condition could change over the next 10-35 years.

What is changing?


  • New technologies like drones, virtual reality and autonomous cars will generate new jobs and be all around us.
  • By 2017, an estimated 3.4 billion people worldwide will own a smartphone, half of whom will be using a mobile health app.
  • The next decade will be about virtual reality, implants, transhumanism.
  • In ten years 39 per cent of people do not think they will need to use cash and more than a quarter expect to be able to payments via watches and other wearable devices. Mobile payments could very well become the new norm.
  • In 2018, people will spend $100 billion on smart-home technology and 45 million smart-home systems will be in use.


  • Through the evolution of massive online open courses (MOOCs) and similar courseware, more people than ever will have access to hands-on training.
  • Kids that don’t have the skills to do tech are going to see less and less and less exciting career options available to them.


  • Labor will be scarcer in the future because there will be more, older people and more workers will be doing healthcare jobs.
  • There will be millions of people around the world that can no longer trade their labour for capital.
  • Paid-by-the-hour workers will make up as much as 40 percent of the U.S. workforce by 2020.


  • With 1.5 million people moving into cities and towns every week, the construction and refurbishment of urban infrastructure will account for one third of the remaining global carbon budget.
  • Between 2014 and 2030 estimates say 2.5 billion new middle-class consumers will join the crush.
  • Millions of additional U.S. acres will be needed for homes, schools, offices, andinfrastructure to support the burgeoning population while conserving open space and preserving agriculture.
  • By 2050, there will be more than two billion people aged over 60 years.
  • In the ASEAN region, over 50%, more than 350 million people (more than the entire United States) will still be aged 30 or under by 2030.


  • Aging populations throughout the developed world will result in significant increases in musculoskeletal conditions.
  • China will face enormous numbers of premature smoking deaths.
  • By 2025 it is estimated that there will be over a million people living with dementia in the UK.
  • If the trajectory does not change, 17% of adults will be obese by 2025. There will be 170 million adults with a BMI above 35, which is the threshold for urgent medical treatment, such as gastric surgery, to reduce the amount people can eat.
  • Our world is aging at a rate never before seen and for the first time in history most people can now expect to live beyond their 60th birthday.
  • Progress on improving the lives of the world’s poorest people will be limited.

Climate change

  • Decreases in agricultural output due to climate change will most affect women.
  • Biology will be crucial for feeding a world of seven billion people today.


  • Catastrophic food production shocks from extreme weather will become more than three times more likely by 2040. Changing environmental conditions around the globe caused by human activity could negatively impact the healthof millions of people by altering the amount and quality of key crops.
  • U.S. officials worry that any attempt by the Russian government to use vulnerabilities in critical infrastructure like global stock exchanges, powergrids and airports as pressure points against the West could lead to a broader conflict.
  • Making extreme carbon cuts and moving to renewable energy could save millions of people living in iconic coastal areas of the United States.
  • Failure to tackle gaps in the provision of public transport data via mobiledevices could result in older and disabled people being excluded from “basic human rights of independence, mobility and social exclusion”.
  • High migration is a threat to national cohesion and higher education institutions must be prepared for a drop in international student numbers.
  • People are starting to expect to access the world through their smartphones and tablets – this is going to apply to anything your firm does online. A successful digital transformation will not be possible unless people are confident about the security of both Smart Services and their personal data and convinced that the physical infrastructure can be reliably controlled by digital means.

Search for these ‘Future Indicators’ via the front page of Shaping Tomorrow to see more drivers underlying the change in human capabilities:
technology · countries · power · bank · customers · online · health · cars · growth · jobs · money · cities · mobile · climate change · investment · infrastructure

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