Sunday, August 26, 2007

Futurethink - What Are Big Issues for the Future

I ran into this website while researching future trends. The blogger did an excellent job of laying out some possible major issues of the future. Some of the comments were outstanding. I couldn't help myself, so I commented

Aging Population - Aging Labor force. It seems likely that we will see major increases in productivity that will result in needing less labor rather than the other way around. The seniors won't need to go back to work as some may think as, but they may want to to increase sense of being valuable. Many young adults will be bored out of their skulls like some of the wealthy young adults are today, since the average person will enjoy a lifestyle like a rockstar today. If that seems crazy, imagine what the average person has today vs what they had in the 30's or even 50's. There will be a major business opportunity and use of labor for entertaining these bored people.

Health Care costs will peak and decline- There will be no field where innovation will drive down costs more than this one. The incentive to invest in this area will drive huge amounts of capital into faster, less expensive cures, and lowered drug cost. Changes in the method of delivery of health care is already happening (see WalMart health clinics, for instance.)

China and Russia may be the major threats of the future, but they may just as likely integrate into the community of nations without any real confrontations of consequence. The Extremist Muslims will be marginalized by all "mature" nations. As Mideast oil becomes less important (due to oil from other places and new sources of energy), the rest of the world will no longer be held hostage, and will be able to use all necessary methods to root out the bad guys from the tinpot dictatorships.

Solar energy will be the future energy method that will win the day. New materials, new storaage approaches, and computer optimization will combine to find a way. Solar is the obvious ultimate victor, because it is ubiquitous, and can't be owned. This months Wired magazine shows a new material that may dramatically increase the ability to maximize available sources of sunlight in a small area.

The issue of rich vs poor will never go away, and many will still be arguing for redistribution of wealth. It won't work. Take all the money from the rich and give it to the poor. Wait 10 years and the distribution will work its way back to the way it was +/-.

Global cooling will be the big political issue 10 years from now as the Sun enters a period like the 50's - 70's. The foolish among us will once again claim the sky is falling and that the next ice age is just around the corner.

Pollution will become a non issue as the cost of controlling it becomes substantially less (orders of magnitude.)

As history will prove, the real issues of politics will be unintended consequences, ruthless desire for power by sociopathic leaders, and folks with IQ's of 100 and 180 who fall for the garbage offered by such leaders.

Religion will be alive and thriving as the rest of life becomes less and less meaningful. We tend to find meaning in our occupations, our children, our possessions, and our creative output. All of these things will have less meaning. (e.g. See LA Times article on luxury goods losing their cachet.

I agree with the idea that runaway science in any of a number of places is the greatest threat to our futures: Nano anything, genetic engineering, robots, etc.

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