The Roaring 20’s and the #Futureof2020

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With a new decade in front of us, what happens when the confluence of politics, economics, society, technology, environmental, and legislative forces meet the forces of humanity? Here are seven deep trends that will emerge to impact the next decade and more:

1. Human Ingenuity vs Intelligent Automation

In a world of AI possibilities and pervasive technology, when will society automate, augment a machine with a human, augment a human with a machine, and fully trust human ingenuity? This question will impact the future of humanity. Should society over rely on automation, will humans lose the ability to gain intuition, will society become dumber, do humans become over-reliant on technology? Will intelligent automation widen the gap between the smart and the less intelligent? Do we create further digital divides? Over time, AI ethics will emerge taking people centered principles.

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2. Autonomous Decade

The future is autonomous. Machines will deliver services that are continuous, auto-compliant, self-healing, self-learning, and self-aware. The need for greater precision decisions will require connections to data-driven digital networks and for more and more sources of data. This battle for public, private, and shared data will shape who wins in new networked economies.

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3. Authenticity vs Deep Fakes

In this world of relativism and enhanced technologies, humans can no longer discern authenticity. The blurred line between reality and fiction creates issues that can cause riots, incite violence, sway public opinion, and bilk others of value. The need for authenticity still remains and those brands, enterprises, and individuals who can deliver authenticity will win over trust and significant business.

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4. The US vs China, Open Vs Closed

China’s salvo to dominate the world models after how colonial powers ruled the past and how America rose to the top. From infrastructure investments to trade deals to foreign affairs, this new war for ideas is more than just open vs closed. China seeks to ensure its relevance and future before its population dynamics turn it into Japan. In the US-China trade-war, the implications move beyond just trade:

  1. Currency manipulation
  2. IP theft
  3. Access to China markets
  4. Reserve currency for dictatorships
  5. HK protests
  6. Spratly Islands debate
  7. Belt & road
  8. Battle for Africa
  9. Freedom of Taiwan
  10. AI dictatorships

However, like the Soviet Union in the 1950’s and 1960’s, many are attracted to the opportunities for personal enrichment at the expense of personal freedoms. This war for ideas with a backset of socialism vs capitalism will play out in the 2020’s

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5. Stakeholder vs Shareholder Capitalism

The shift away from shareholder capitalism represents a backlash towards extreme capitalism in a winner takes all market. In simplistic terms shareholders own a part of the company while stakeholders have an interest in the performance of the company. Today’s wide definition of stakeholders includes employees, suppliers, the environment, and other ecosystem players. With the growing societal discontent in play and businesses caught in the cross-fire, organizations such as the Business Roundtable and World Economic Forum have embraced the stakeholder capitalism theme and mantra as a potential solution to the inequities in the market as well as addressing societal ills exacerbated by political systems and ineffective government leadership. Unfortunately a real divide will occur when institutional investors challenge the effectiveness and performance of stakeholder capitalism run companies vs shareholder run companies.

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6. A Culture of Abundance Vs A Culture of Scarcity

The recent societal unrest and backlash against institutions has come from those who experience a culture of abundance and those who experience a culture of scarcity. Because basic needs are met and expectations often remain low in a culture of abundance, individuals are more willing to share, collaborate, take time to build long-term relationships. In a culture of scarcity, individuals fight for basic needs and create defenses and alliances of mutual self-interest. With rising expectations and a culture of entitlement, the recent societal unrest have come from a belief that injustice, inequality, and divide have come from those who live in a culture of abundance and that those in a culture of scarcity must attack those who are successful. Add mistrust of today’s systems and institutions, and society now must fight to defend a culture of hard work and meritocracy versus identity politics and social injustice.

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7. Privacy as a Property Right

Data driven digital networks power most new companies and startups. Data to date has mostly been a free natural resource. As organizations have mined individual’s digital exhaust, digital foot print, genomic data, and personal information for profit without payment, a movement to make privacy a human right has taken hold. However, existing laws to govern this right vary from authority to authority and the policies remain inconsistent. Yet, should individual privacy data become a property right such as land titles for physical property and patents for intellectual property, existing laws could apply. Individuals would then have the authority to not sell, donate, provide one-time access, provide recurring access, or provide life-time access for value exchange. One caveat, in this model, only the rich would have privacy as they would not need to broker their data for monetary and non-monetary value exchange.

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Your POV.

Will you be ready for the new decade?  What uber trends do you see for 2020?   Add your comments to the blog or reach me via email: R (at) ConstellationR (dot) com or R (at) SoftwareInsider (dot) org.

(Cross-posted @ A Software Insider’s Point of View)