May 20, 2020
Predicting the future is not only hard, but also uncertain. However, it is still exciting to imagine what our lives will be like in the next 10 years. Will there finally be flying cars like in Back to the future? or will we have robots that would lighten our lives like in the Jetsons?
After our visioning workshop “The world in 2030 – if we get there”, we asked 5 colleagues 8 questions about the future. Some were easy to answer, some sort of tricky. But all of our colleagues helped us visualize the year 2030 by answering the following questions, where they shared their thoughts as well as their predictions of the not so distant future.
Patric Moammer: Conventional office spaces will be replaced by company showrooms/brand experience spaces. Teams will work remotely from all around the world detached from a physical meeting point, the digital nomad lifestyle becomes normality. Fixed office work hours will be replaced by individual time management considering individual work/free time balance needs.
Tommaso Martucci: I dream of a future with a strong humanistic approach. It’s probably about the next 30 years, so in the next 10 we might be at half way to it. I imagine that the work-life would not be considered work at all anymore, we will not call it even a “job”. And so everyone would fulfil their life time by focusing on personal growth, by improving themselves with activities that would result simultaneously as profitable for the whole society.
We believe that the expectations of what work is and what it will be like within the next 10 years will change, especially as more and more millennial and Generation Zers enter the workforce. Flexible work is no longer seen as a benefit but as an expectation or necessity. The shift to greater flexibility is also not only benefiting the younger generation but is having a major impact on more experienced workers who need time to care for their families and themselves.
Almost every job will have some degree of flexibility. Overall, the work of the future will be more fulfilling – we hope so.
Florian Witt: My hometown (Wentorf) will be overgrown by the near city of Hamburg. I see more and more people moving away from the crowded, expensive city center into suburbs again to find affordable housing, more space and be closer to nature.
Patric Moammer: In parallel, suburbs will evolve into the new city’s neighborhoods due to a better connection to the city.
Tommaso Martucci: I am from Napoli, a city that has always stood out for human innovation rather than technological innovation. So I think it will retain this special character. And I hope it will remain so genuine and natural, taking advantage of the latest technologies only to put an emphasis on the micro-moments that can facilitate the daily activities of the entire population.
Nissarg Acharya: Petone, Wellington will still be paradise, but I don’t think the same amount of open space will be realistic in New Zealand. Cities will become denser and the dream of owning a house with a backyard will be replaced to an apartment with a balcony.
Florian Witt: “Virtual narcotics”, i.e. devices that stimulate the brain & body into a drug trip-like experience without chemicals. They will be promoted as safe and legal alternatives to narcotics. However, they will be highly addictive.
Eunji Park: Do I see a business opportunity here? Like a membership-only, extravagant Virtual Narcotic club exclusive to the privileged? (LOL, yes I’m being sarcastic but it’ll definitely happen one way or the other...)
Tommaso Martucci: I thought about this a few times.
I focused on physical goods first, like robots, micro-and macro ones, drones and wearable devices. Then I focused on services, like virtual reality, big data, IoT, or systems to organize people. But then I remembered what my grandpa used to say very often “you only need an idea”. So what would be the next big thing for me? A new currency that would replace money. I’d love that. If it’s too much, I’d be happy about organ-printing and any other human body parts, so that health would not be a problem anymore.
Patric Moammer: Cars will still exist, but car ownership will not. Driving (steering) your own vehicle will be replaced by numerous automated/autonomous transportation services. Looking back to the times where you were allowed to drive a vehicle yourself will feel crazy.
Eunji Park: "Micro-mobility" will evolve into macro mobility - bicycles, e-scooters, other lightweight vehicles, and potentially new modes of transportation sharing will dominate the streets. Owning a car will be extremely rare, as there will be an extremely high bar to get a license and permit, which includes a behavioral and psychological test to restrict the number of private cars as well as mindless driving that once was a thing of ultimate pleasure.
Tommaso Martucci: Some of my friends and family members still keep and buy some 30 years old cars and motorbikes. This makes me think that the evolution of society would not stop the romantic values that we constantly seek. So to stick to the question: “Yes, sure, they will exist for way longer”. Then, will cars be the daily transport system for most of the global population? On this point, if we look at “car sharing” (ShareNow) and “grouping services” (Moia, etc), we will still move around on products with wheels. What will definitely change is the service behind those, and so the meaning of the car will be different.
Patric Moammer: Eating meat will be the new smoking - Outdated and highly despised. Veganism will become the standard in society. Advanced “alternative meat” developments will make “real meat” consumption obsolete.
Tommaso Martucci: I personally love meat. And probably it’s important to focus on the right problem, and so on the right question that comes along. What’s the real problem, eating meat or animal abuse? If those futuristic laboratories will abuse insects rather than cows, then the loop will start again, just with a different subject.
Nissarg Acharya: I think in 10 years meat consumption will be reduced because of consumer preference: better quality meat opposed to mass produced. I don’t think the killing of animals will be the driving factor, but more from an environmental standpoint to say “Hey, we have a limit to how much resources we use for Livestock” - but this would only come from a government intervention. This would boost innovation on solutions such as vertical farming to reduce land area, sustainable fish farming, and alternatives like insect or lab grown products.
According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, world food production will need to increase 70 percent. Feeding that many people with traditional meat production will require double the amount of deforestation, which will increase greenhouse-gas emissions by 77 percent.
“There’s no way to produce enough meat for 9 billion people. Yet we can’t ask everyone to become vegetarians. That’s why we need more options for producing meat without depleting our resources”.
Florian Witt: “Safety” will become a relative and contextual term in developed countries, for good and bad. In a crime context, classic “physical” safety will increase ever further, with violent crime rates going down. However, “digital” safety will decrease with computer crime going up. Outside threats to our “systemic” safety from authoritarian regimes will also increase.
Eunji Park: "Conspicuous consumption" is over. Conscious consumption is the new norm. The "consumer" will be an antiquated concept as the majority of people shift towards responsible purchasers and users of goods. The act of shopping for entertainment, show-off, or status will be disdained and considered uncivilized.
Tommaso Martucci: I agree with Eunji, and I would add: By following the current scenario, it feels like the words “consumers” and “behaviours” are not matching the new generations anymore. The most innovative brands consider the final “consumers” as the first “ambassadors” for their brands. So not just “consuming” any more, but “choosing” that specific brand and product as a representative fetish of the values they/we believe in. This new dynamic came up with the advent of social media, where everyone is empowered and in right to promote a choice. By taking a snapshot of me wearing a product and sharing it on a media channel, I’m promoting that brand and that product. That’s what e.g. Pepsi and Nike are promoting with the youngsters.
Nissarg Acharya: I also agree with Eunji, but this is true in “well to do” or richer environments. It would take a while to change the mindset in developing nations or lower socio-economic demographics. I mean: survival and getting something cheap will always trump responsible purchasing... until you have more wealth - Then you have a chance to be conscious or charitable.
Florian Witt: In short, no. We will see instances of AI that appear to be very “life-like”, but a convincing reproduction of a deceased human being will only be possible in very confined applications and target groups (like putting a dead musician into a new music video or on stage as a projection today). The hype around AI as an answer to everything will generally subside.
Tommaso Martucci: I hope not! Playing God has never been a smart game ;) But some nice tech tricks combined with the powerful memory of our HDs might give us an opportunity to preserve more authentic memories of our past experiences with our beloved ones. But then the question would be, is it what we want? No one of us is meant to stay on earth for more than one round. On the other side, as far as our digital twins will not be destroyed after our death, then they will keep living. So our digital version can be immortal.
There is definitely a long way to go until 2030, where new and better technological innovations will surely come and will make it easier for us to improve the way we live. However, I think the most important change will depend on us. The future that we want to create for our next generations is in our hands. It is up to us whether or not we have a more humane and more aware world.
Thank you Patric, Florian, Nisarg, Tommaso and Eunji - our lovely colleagues - for answering our questions.