Our Changing World: Facts and figures to blow your mind

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Our team at TomorrowToday Global tracks the disruptive forces shaping the world right now, and attempts to predict where some of these will take us. We don’t have a crystal ball, but for nearly two decades we’ve been honing our ability to do this, and have a fairly good track record so far.

Without any explanation or detail, here a few of our team’s favourite facts, figures and predictions that indicate we’re living at an era-shifting time in history. We’ve arranged these using our TIDES Model of Disruptive Change, which identifies the five most significant forces shaping our world right now. Click here more information of this model, or to contact our team to see how we can assist you and your organisation to prepare for disruptive change.

Technology

  • Asian manufacturers have just released an Android smartphone that costs $ 30. Soon everyone will have a supercomputer in their pocket.
  • Right now, about 2 billion people are connected to the Internet. By 2020, more than 4 billion people will be. And so will over 50 billion devices. It’s called The Internet of Things.
  • Driverless cars are already legal in a few States in America, and are being live tested in England, Germany and Japan right now.
  • By 2040, driverless cars will not only be legal in most cities in the world, they will be compulsory in some. This new network of automated cars and traffic signals is going to be one of the biggest revolutions in how we live in many centuries.
  • Wearable fitness devices that track our movement and vital statistics will be implanted in humans by 2020, and provide ongoing, real-time information about our health.
  • By 2020, we will have devices linked to our brains that will allow us to control devices and machines: just with our thoughts.
  • By 2020, a $1,000 computer will have the processing power of the human brain. By 2040, a $ 1,000 computer will have the same computing power as the whole human race combined.
  • Within the next 2 or 3 years, real time translation from any language to any other language will be available on every cellphone. For free. It’s already available for free in Windows versions of Skype.

Institutional Change

  • 50 years ago, the average lifespan of the top 500 companies in America was around 60 years. Today it is closer to 18 years.
  • The health insurance industry will not exist by 2030. When everyone’s personal health information is known real-time and their DNA can be sequenced within a few hours, there is no unknown data in health, and therefore no way to insure people for their health. We’ll know what diseases we will get, and when.
  • More than half of the world’s population will not be using banks by 2030. Alternative means of managing money will be the norm.
  • Trade between emerging markets will grow faster than other form of trade for the next 25 years. By 2050, trade between emerging markets will be larger than trade between established economies.

Demographics

  • Half of all the people who have ever turned 80 are still alive.
  • Almost everyone who was born in the 1990s will live beyond 100 years old – and so will live in three centuries.
  • Today, about 4% of the world’s population lives and works outside their country of birth. By 2050 that number will be 15%.
  • Today, about half the world’s population lives in cities. By 2050 that number will be 75%.
  • Between 1990 and 2005 the number of middle class people in the world almost doubled, from 1.4 billion to 2.6 billion, rising from one-third of the developing world’s population to half. In China, alone the middle class rose from 174m to a jaw-dropping 806m in just 15 years. In India the numbers rose from 147m to 264 million. These numbers will continue to rise for the next half century.

Environment and Ethics

  • North America pumped more gas than Russia and more oil than Saudi Arabia in October 2014. This signals a significant shift – America will soon be energy independent.
  • Graphene was discovered/invented in 2010 at the University of Manchester. It is a new super material. It’s a single layer of carbon, that is lighter than air, 200 times stronger than steel, harder than diamonds yet flexible like rubber. It can conduct electricity and be programmed like a computer. Sounds like science fiction, but it isn’t. It’s going to change the world in the next few years.
  • The number and intensity of extreme weather conditions, especially droughts and floods will dramatically increase worldwide in the next decade.

Shifting Social Values

  • By 2030, nearly half of today’s jobs will either be automated or outsourced.
  • The fastest growing job market in the world is freelancers, and half of all office workers will work on a freelance basis by 2030.
  • About 25% of today’s workforce will lose their jobs to robots and algorithms in the next 15 years.
  • About a third of the jobs that will be available for the young children entering school this year do not yet exist.

There is a great slideshare on 100 facts about the future of business that will give you even more: http://www.slideshare.net/sap/99-facts-on-the-future-of-business.

What would you add to this list? And why?

Looking at the future

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