Over the course of the next two decades, we can expect technology to make major changes to the world around us which will be difficult to cope with for some but for others, the chance to level the playing field between the richest and poorest nations in the world will be on offer. Over the course of the mid to late 20th century, the birth of the information age took place with a growing reliance on digital technologies providing the driving force behind the innovations which have led to the start of the current digital age. The question of whether we have reached singularity between humans and technology is one on the lips of many scientists and technology experts who feel this time is closer than ever before but may not have occurred before the expiration of the next two decades.
One of the most feared areas of the changing face of technology in the coming two decades is the rise of artificial intelligence and the robot workers, many people believe will bring a vast change to every aspect of our working lives. The McKinsey Global Institute estimated, the rise of artificial intelligence will see between 45 and 70 million workers lose their jobs across the next decade and the situation grows even worse for many low-skilled workers in the coming years.
The loss of low-skilled jobs to robot workers has resulted in a number of different opinions forming about whether the impact of this will be positive or negative for society. Some experts believe the rising use of artificial intelligence in most developed countries will lead to a higher standard of living for the majority who will largely be concerned with how to distribute the wealth fairly and efficiently; others believe the largest amount of wealth being created with the elimination of the lowest paid jobs will be distributed to the top one percent and see a growing gap between rich and poor be made even worse.
Not only will the technology change affect the work life of millions of people across the planet but it will also play a role in the way work is conducted and from where. One of the most important changes we are currently seeing is the switch from a specific role within a company climbing the corporate ladder to a multi-dimensional lattice pattern of movement throughout a company. Businesses have been removing multiple layers of management since the 1970s and left little room for upward movement in a traditional sense; developing multiple skills is one of the most important aspects of the changing face of corporate advancement which allows sideways movement to the most important areas of a business throughout a career. Understanding many different options open to a company in using technologies allows an employee to seek advancement through multiple sideways movements over the course of the next two decades.
Workplace monitoring is already a part of the lives of millions of workers across the planet but for many, the use of fitness monitors and even chips implanted in the bodies of employees will become an everyday occurrence over the course of the next 20 years. Research company, Garner revealed in 2014 a total of 10,000 companies across the planet had already offered their employees fitness monitoring equipment and this number will only rise as the good health of employees will no doubt become a major factor for companies in the U.S. and the rest of the world where healthcare costs continue to rise over the next two decades. A good example of the use of fitness monitoring is the need for employers to be able to monitor the sleep patterns of employees which have recently been seen to have a direct link to the level of concentration seen during the working day.
One of the most well-known areas of technological advancement in recent years has been the development of driverless vehicles which have been pioneered by major technology groups such as Google and Uber, which has been well publicized but also creates a difficult choice for consumers who must place their trust in the latest technology. Electric vehicles are already making an impact on the environment and many experts believe the development of driverless cars could cut down on the number of vehicles on the road; in 2017, the Tesla organization has already developed automated technology to allow their cars to self-drive which puts the company at the forefront of the changing face of travel over the next 20 years in the view of experts at the University of California at Berkeley. Some experts have stated the first driverless vehicles could be using the roads as early as 2020 but the development of testing grounds in the U.S. and U.K. will see an increase in technology which should make the use of automated vehicles safer for all to enjoy in 20 years time.
Virtual reality is already having an effect on the lives of millions of people around the world but a change in the way we play games in 2017 is having an effect on how the gaming industry is evolving for the future. Over the next two decades, the rising use of cooperative games has been identified as allowing scientists and major organizations the chance to solve problems using video games as the base for the completion of research. The days of playing sports and games purely to win, appear to be coming to an end with video games being used by 2038 to treat a number of issues including anxiety and depression.
As mentioned earlier, the initial aim of many of the pioneers of the internet was to develop computers and web space allowing the movement towards the singularity to grow over the life of the internet. Unfortunately, many of those have enjoyed the freedom of the internet over the course of the last few decades. By the middle of the 2030s, it is expected, the end of net neutrality will lead to a more commercial Internet where individual pages are no longer searched for, but environments and feelings are expressed across many areas of the Internet.
Technology and sport have become all the more intertwined over recent years with the development of aerodynamics in the sport of professional cycling leading to a seachange in the way many different sports and equipment have been created. In the early 1990s, the broadcast of sports was changed forever when Rupert Murdoch’s Sky Sports channels purchased the rights to broadcast the English Premier League and developed many of the new technologies seen in the broadcast of sports across the planet. In 1998, high definition broadcasting became more than a novelty when it was introduced for the 1998 FIFA World Cup and has led to many of the latest advances in broadcasting technology. One area which could result in major changes by the 2030s is the development of hologram broadcasting technologies which experts believe will be available by 2037 allowing a more intimate viewing experience to be obtained for TV, sports, and movies.
As with all looks into the future, the ability of a single individual to provide a successful glimpse into how the future will change as a look at previous attempts show. However, many of the effects technology will have on life included here have been created by experts from around the world and are those I feel have the greatest chance of coming to fruition by 2038.