In 2022, the way we share will intensify. We will share collectively owned cars, accommodations, and equipment rather than rent them from businesses. The push-and-pull between regulators and sharing services today is a mere glimpse of the ways in which these markets will be fundamentally changed. Anti-corporate sentiment will all but vanish, since consumers themselves will own the world of business.
In 2022, drones will be a common sight in farmer’s fields and on factory floors. New regulatory frameworks will allow the global market for commercial drones to eclipse existing markets for personal and military drone applications. Drones and automation technologies will have led to the automation of nearly 50% of the world’s farms and factories.
In 2022, successors to the CRISPR gene editing technology will make it possible to engineer the biological world to spec: from mosquitos with immune-boosting bites to humans with inborn resistance to common degenerative processes. Countries with more permissive values around augmentation will enthusiastically embrace the potential for gene editing, subjecting the rest of the world to highly unanticipated externalities caused by second- and third-order changes.
In 2022, many of us will have become backseat drivers as 20 million driverless vehicles— including taxis, shipping trucks, public transport, and personal cars—have taken to the road. Driving automation will unlock vast new potential for work and leisure, and it will completely transform the design of cities and transportation infrastructure. Large swaths of highway and tracts of development will either be repurposed or fall into disrepair.
In 2022, the world will be blanketed with 100 billion Internet-connected objects connected to countless sensors, processes, and people. The ocean of data created by the Internet of Everything will contain 20 trillion dollars of new value. Privacy in this world is an antiquated notions, since it would mean keeping your actions away from the prying eyes of not just people, but displays, streetlights, and clothing.
In 2022, the sectors most resistant to change – government, education, and healthcare – will shrink 5% to 10% as they are cut out of more and more deals by the rise of decentralized, peer-to-peer technologies. The spaces and places associated with these institutions will be less important as people connect with one another in virtual space. Loneliness in the digital landscape, however, will be epidemic.
In 2022, technology companies will have to contend with the problem that computing power has outstripped any real need than the majority of users will need. As a result, the impact of Moore’s law will no longer have a direct effect on technology customers’ experiences. Tech manufacturers will turn away from technological innovation as a central tenet of their business and will become experience companies that focus almost entirely on providing branded work and entertainment experiences.
In 2022, global weather patterns will be erratic and dangerous enough to force large populations to migrate away from soon-to-be uninhabitable places and into urban centers. These climate refugees will move and further complicate local and global political tensions. The political and economic effects of these shifts will be profound, and the current models of government will be stretched to their breaking points. New political organizations will begin to challenge centralized governments as every population is put under pressure.
In 2022, the availability of unsecured credit will shift due to a global financial crisis and its detrimental impact on individual financial security across the globe. Governments will continue to be uninterested in doing very much about the financial situation, and individual security will erode to the point that people no longer own much more beyond their consumables and their mobile phone. More and more companies will offer subscription and rental models as alternatives to ownership.
In 2022, many countries once considered “emerging” markets will begin to take their place at the forefront of the development of green and sustainable infrastructure. Unburdened by protectionist attitudes toward legacy energy infrastructure, they will emerge as leaders because they will choose to invest in more technologically advanced infrastructure developments.
In 2022, while technologies will have incrementally improved and the climate will have gradually declined, life will continue much as it does now. Human beings will continue to love, hate, fight, and reconcile at all levels of experience. The future will be populated by people who do not change that quickly.
In 2022, we will still be a long way from any developments in artificial intelligence that could lead to the singularity. Ray Kurzweil will continue to age.
In 2022, a revitalized publishing industry will continue to innovate by returning to an older model of on-demand book production that now uses new technologies to expand its reach and lower costs. Customers will be able to select from a catalogue of works, choose from a dizzying number of printing and binding options, and have a custom-bound book delivered within hours. These books will be social markers of luxury and refinement just as custom-bound volumes were in the 18th century.