What will happen in the 2020s

A well respected investor Fred Wilson’s shared his predictions for the 2020s, including some pretty bold claims like -

Plant based diets will dominate the world by the end of the decade. Eating meat will become a delicacy, much like eating caviar is today. Much of the world’s food production will move from farms to laboratories.

(which, you’ll be surprised to know, is him talking his own book)

I’d be curious to hear anyone here’s predictions for the next decade, if you’re feeling clairvoyant.

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The comment on lab grown meats being more common place is something I can see happening. We are in trend at the moment and I find it exciting to think where this could head.

Three other predictions that I agree with:

4/ Countries will create and promote digital/crypto versions of their fiat currencies

We are seeing more innovation in this space and bigger more influential organisations are now starting to show their cards. A country making the complete move might be a big step but something like the Facebook Libra becoming common place I can see happening.

7/ The exploration and commercialization of space will be dominated by private companies

It’s an exciting but slow moving area. Currently there is little to be gained but hopefully with more improvements to our technology and understanding of space, we can start to venture out into the stars.

My guess is commercial space trips becoming something that the rich and famous can do, but for the average Joe we will see improvements to general aviation as the skys become more cluttered and innovation is required.

8/ Mass surveillance by governments and corporations will become normal

Isn’t it already? :joy: Jokes aside, this will only grow as data becomes even more valuable.

I expect to see new ways for end user to monetise their data. Clearer data models where you choose to share your data in lieu of cash payment. Similar to the old models of pay for the app or see adverts, but a bit clearer this is in relation to your data.

What would I have as my predictions?

Drone automation
Drones, fully autonomous taxis, general robotic automation of labour tasks.

Drone regulation and innovation has been making good progress. There are a lot of valid use cases which can solve problems today. I’m not sure we’ll get the Amazon Airship but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the concept. Drone ports which work in a similar way as logistic depos.

Fully autonomous taxis would be introduced in a limited capacity. Seeing how people generally act towards machines when there is little consequence (and even other people for that matter) and the hostility towards new taxi solutions, I doubt we will see any large roll out.

Shuttle services, select cities, and maybe a few bus runs which blur the lines of shuttles and regular bus trips, would become more common. That said we may have a few more years of a “controller” or human driver present just in case.

Always Live Services
This is more related to the gaming industry. We have seen the growing trend towards games which have an ongoing service and support. We are moving away from the days of a triple A release followed by some planned DLC, we are now moving to always online digital subscriptions and services.

This trend will only grow. Franchises will move away from regular annual releases and into an always online solution. As internet usage across their core users grows this new more profitable and less CAPEX intensive approve will be very desirable.

I don’t think we’ll see the end of home consoles or any domination of one particular brand, but I do see always online becoming a future requirement.

Urban Farming
I believe we will see more innovation and growth in the space as customers demand local and fresh solutions. With urban sprawl being an ongoing issue, and the demand for cheaper spot solutions, I see a growth in local urban farms.

This could be converting brown field sites to act as industrial farms or even new programs where you grow your own food. I don’t see this as a solution for just the wealthy, though that will be the primary driver at first. I see the cost effective solution of growing what is needed at the source being highly effective at bringing healthy fresh food to poorer communities too, that is where the real impact will happen.

Major Service Providers Enter Banking
You will bank with Google, Facebook, Tencent, and Apple.

They will provide holistic financial solutions for all life stages. There will be no reason to use a range of services as these brands will become one-stop-shops for all of your basic life needs.

While they may not directly provide the service they will partner with the best in class to provide a deeply personalised user experience.

You buy your take aways with Google, they outsource it to Deliveroo etc.

Brand Commitment
A slightly dystopian take on my comment about. I see brands becoming very deeply integrated into your life, and becoming more hostile to one another.

Governments will have to fight for your data to truly belong to you, as these large firms start to cover more of your life needs, they will slowly lock you into the brand over time. Unless these larger firms can be broken apart (i.e. the prediction above doesn’t happen) then we’ll likely enter an era where you are forced to use a brand’s subpar solutions due to being locked into their ecosystems.

Hopefully not all my predictions come true but and interesting thought experiment!

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