NEW DELHI: History will record a very different kind of world by 2050, with a totally new balance of power, new global cultures, new industrial giants, new forms of government and new social habits, says noted futurist Patrick Dixon.
The generation born in 2030 will all be adults in 2050, and most of those who are born to middle-class families will expect to be alive in 2130, he writes in his new book "The Future of Almost Everything".
The man, whom the Wall Street Journal describes as a 'global change guru', looks at how the future will be. For him future is a combination of Fast, Urban, Tribal, Universal, Radical and Ethical.
It will be a future of boom and bust and great economic change as the emerging markets grow up; a future of great advances in medicine and also greater threats from viral epidemics; a future of political shocks and greater conflicts; a future in which people will strive for more privacy and businesses will change the way they relate to their staff and their customers; a future in which there will be driverless cars and solar power generated in the desert will power cities thousands of miles away.
The book, published by Hachette India, highlights what every business needs to be aware of and prepare for if it is to prosper and survive in a world where customers and markets, politics and demographics, technology and skills, and opportunities and choices will be very different.
"We face the greatest threats to survival in human history, while new technologies will give us the greatest opportunities ever known to create a better world. Some decisions made today will affect life on earth for a thousand years," Dixon writes.
For him, this is an extraordinary time to be alive. "Our world is being shaken by seismic events, which are overtaking governments and corporations. At the same time, many trends are developing relatively slowly, people’s lives are evolving rather gradually, and history shows that the most shocking predictions are usually wrong. So we need to pay close attention to what is most likely and plan for the unexpected," he says.
"Either you see the future as something to prepare for, or as a world to shape by your own actions. This book is therefore about being futuristic rather than fatalistic. Take hold of the future or the future will take hold of you.
"You may have the greatest strategy on the planet, but if the world changes unexpectedly, you just travel even faster in the wrong direction. As I learned in my first career as a cancer doctor looking after the dying, life is too short to lose a single day doing things that are a complete waste of time, or that we don't believe in, so we need to know where we are going," he writes.
According to Dixon, one single factor will drive the future more than events, economics, innovations, technology, demographics, religion or politics – emotion.
For the author, all reliable, long-range forecasting is based on powerful megatrends that have been driving profound, consistent and therefore relatively predictable change over the past 30 years.