WHAT AWAITS US IN THE NEXT 10 YEARS?
We sit at a crossroads. The ever-accelerating evolution of technology is changing the way we live, work and play — both as individuals and communities. Industries that once took decades to form are being invented and upended in a matter of months or even weeks. And though the innovations driving this disruption have the potential to solve some of humanity’s most pressing challenges, they could just as easily generate a whole new host of questions and concerns.
FUTUREX LIVE: SHAPING YOUR FUTURE
On April 30, 2019, Moxie held FutureX Live: The Next 10, a full-day conference dedicated to exploring what the coming decade of tech and innovation may bring. Close to 1,000 people from diverse industries converged in Atlanta, Georgia, to hear some of the world’s brightest and most inventive minds share their insights, revelations and predictions on how tech and the choices we make will change our lives in the next 10 years. While there were potentially countless takeaways from the day, we’ve identified 10 top trends we believe will have the biggest impact on our future.
THE UNIVERSAL TAKEAWAY THAT CONNECTS ALL 10
THE FUTURE OF INNOVATION LIES AT THE INTERSECTION OF TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT AND HUMAN POTENTIAL.
THE END OF 2D SCREENS
Tech from Magic Leap, Apple and several others are merging the
physical and digital to transform our world into one massive, interactive
screen. The advent of mixed reality is upon us. Headsets like Magic
Leap One (still only available to developers) are shattering the
astigmatic vision of Google Glass and introducing a new frontier for
human innovation. Now, digital representations of everything (think
social feeds, games and news) and everyone (think coworkers, teachers
and friends) can be integrated seamlessly into our physical spaces — and vice versa. Get ready to put down your smartphones. You’ll be living in them.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE BECOMES EVEN MORE HUMAN
It’s hard to imagine interacting with tech that is indiscernible from an
average human being in terms of how it thinks, behaves and reacts. But
if Ray Kurzweil’s predictions come true, you won’t have to. Kurzweil,
who is the director of engineering at Google, believes that artificial
general intelligence (AGI) will be fully functional by — or even before
— 2029. The implications here are profound. Will AGI have rights?
Will it be considered a product or a property or even a person? Who is
legally responsible when this tech goes awry? From the future of the
workplace and the political world to the social landscape, global economy
and beyond, this tech will forever transform the fabric of human society.
VIRTUAL BEINGS WILL BE OUR COLLEAGUES AND COMPANIONS
As our physical and digital worlds merge and human-level AI becomes
a reality, so too will virtual beings. You might be picturing an android
right now — and that’s not too farfetched — but what’s more imminent
is the proliferation of interactive AI personalities like Magic Leap’s MICA. Whether they manifest in physical or digital form (most likely both), virtual beings possess an unmatched ability to access and control the billions of IoT devices and sensors that already surround us. This ubiquity, when paired with their ever-expanding computation power and capacity to interact seamlessly with our world, means they won’t just be our personal assistants. They’ll also be our coworkers, celebrities and even our companions.
HUMAN NEEDS WILL BE MET WITHOUT HUMAN LABOR
The assumption that AI-powered tech will take over the world’s function focused tasks is both long-standing and well-founded. Soon, machines will be able to make the machines that make virtually everything. We’re already using this tech to produce meat, build homes and grow organs. Essentially, most human needs will be met without the need for human labor. That means we’ll be free to spend our time doing what even the smartest AIs can’t do: imagining, inventing, creating and collaborating. Our quality of life will soar, and at near-to-zero cost, thereby rendering wealth and poverty irrelevant. So how will we keep the human-driven economy going? That’s where the Universal Base Income comes in — an evenly distributed stipend that meets our daily needs while keeping consumer demand alive.
WE CAN READ EACH OTHER’S MINDS
In his book “The Future of the Mind,” physicist Michio Kaku predicts the rise of brain-machine interfaces that can connect our minds directly to the internet and one another. Sound far-fetched? It’s already happening. Advancements in non-invasive brain-computer interfaces (BCI) are enabling humans to collaborate using only brain-to-brain communication. And companies like Neurable are developing fully functioning BCI headsets. By allowing us to directly share our thoughts, ideas and feelings, BCIs could dissolve the barriers of language, identity and culture. And the ability to extend our ideas to each another and AIs will generate an intelligence explosion that could solve some of humanity’s most intractable problems.
THE MAJORITY OF THE WORLD LIVES IN SMART CITIES
Cities are often thought of as the greatest human invention (so far). They allowed us to form communities, learn from each other, collaborate together, invent new technologies and more. For centuries, the trend has been toward more, and even larger, cities. And that trend is accelerating: It’s now predicted that, within the next decade, two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities. This level of density demands tech that optimizes every millimeter of space. Autonomous transportation and logistics systems — both on-ground and in-air — will be the norm, as will the ubiquitous connectivity of every physical and digital element
surrounding us (yes, the IoT). And as smart cities become exponentially
smarter, we’ll have the capacity, tech and time to augment our society,
ourselves and our world in ways that far surpass anything we’ve achieved,
or even imagined, to date.
THE WORLD IS CASH-FREE
Perhaps the most interesting fact about the invention of money is that its value is invented, too. We must simply agree that a thing is (a) worth something and (b) how much. Even if it’s just a shell. Yet its invention was a revelation for commerce because it eliminated the friction-laden system of its predecessor, bartering. Which is exactly why cash will soon, too, be a thing of the past. Physical money is cumbersome to use, hard to trace, dangerous to carry, easy to steal and more. Digital currency removes all these negatives. Like a fiscal superhero, it can travel at the speed of light and instantly transform itself into any form of global currency. It’s more secure, since it leaves a digital trail, and, because it’s housed in a digital wallet, is a lot harder to steal — especially when it can only be accessed using your biometric data. Because of these and other benefits, the trend toward digital currencies in the U.S. will likely accelerate to the point that, by 2029, the only legal tender will be found in museums and private collections (which will, no doubt, be worth a lot of money).
DRIVING WILL BECOME ILLEGAL
From playing games to evaluating contracts, AI already outperforms humans in a range of domains. It only makes sense to apply that level of reliability to a task that causes tens of thousands of deaths per year in the U.S. alone: driving. Elon Musk claims that Tesla will deliver on the promise of self-driving vehicles by 2020. Even tempering that estimate with time for regulatory approvals, social adoption, etc., we still see autonomous vehicles being the norm by the mid 2020’s, with human driving being banned (except on private property) by 2029. In addition to saving lives, autonomous vehicles will also save time — to the tune of 84 billion collective hours annually for Americans. That’s more time to work, play, sleep and socialize. Even better, it’s more time to solve problems bigger than ourselves.
LIFESPANS WILL BE INDEFINITE
From CRISPR CAS9 to 3D bioprinting, exponentially advancing medical technology will ultimately enable us to reach Longevity Escape Velocity, where life expectancy is extended longer than the time that’s passing. We could live indefinitely. Researchers have already 3D-printed a heart, and other tech, like intravenous medical nanorobots and biotechniques that reverse the aging of human cells, are underway. Once fully realized, these advancements will allow us to adjust our biological age, effectively obliterating the concept of human mortality. There are, of course, ethical and moral implications to consider. And yet our age-old pursuit of the Fountain of Youth continues.
HUMAN POTENTIAL IS EXPONENTIAL
From the moment we first knocked two rocks together to create fire, humans have used tech to our singular advantage. Today, we stand at the edge of a future with almost unlimited possibilities. A future without disease or death. A future where our intelligence is expanded trillionfold. A future where we are an interplanetary species. It’s all possible. Yet now, just as in our past, human innovation does not always lead to optimal outcomes. We used fire to warm our bodies and cook our food just as eagerly as we wielded it to burn down our neighbors’ villages. The potential of our current and near future technologies is exponentially more powerful than anything we’ve had access to since we first emerged more than 200,000 years ago. Homo sapiens is the only surviving species of the genus homo. In Latin, our name translates to “wise man.” How we choose to apply these unimaginably powerful technologies will ultimately define how wise we truly are.
Moxie is a modern marketing solutions agency that expertly leverages the value of channel, data, content and technology to help our clients grow with unprecedented pace. Founded in 2000, Moxie has over 400 talented employees in Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York and Pittsburgh and is a transformational component of Publicis Media.