Beyond of remote work we've seen an explosion of virtual stay-at-home everything. From telemedicine appointments [...] to Zoom-based classrooms, it's really hard to understate the magnitude of this shift. While many people are already transitioning back to in-person work, shopping and learning, most forecasters believe that many of these behaviors will stick for the convenience and flexibility they offer. This pattern suggests we should all keep thinking about enhancing and improving virtual versions of everything going forward.
Digital transformation has been the story of my career.
Pandemials, they're are the more than one billion children and younger adults who have lost a year or more formative, educational, and employment opportunities, and compared to older adults, they give up the most during lockdowns compared to their own relative health risk.
What big, bold ideas are on the verge of breaking through over the next 3 to 5 years? Universal basic income, income share agreements, learning cryptocurrencies, preparation payments, a gross national health measure, and a global data convention.
Online Education, especially for digital careers.
More education leads to higher participation in the workforce. More productivity, more innovation, higher GDP, less strain on social services And despite all of this economic value generated by students going to school, students themselves aren't sharing in the wealth that is created through own efforts to educate themselves, at least not right away. So according to this bold idea, we need to flip the system, instead of students paying to get an education or working for free to educate themselves, we should be paying students for each learning block they complete and every skill they acquire. And in fact, the World Bank has been running experiments and pilot studies to do just that. Where online learning platforms can payout cryptocurrencies similar to Bitcoin to students as they complete assignments and tests. The currencies in their program right now have been exchangeable for mobile phone credits. Now, here you are on Coursera learning online, how would you like it if every time you completed a course, the government sent you a nice big fat check, or they paid for your phone bill just because you took a class?
Or I could get a tax return.
Students who are watching the COVID-19 pandemic play out have good reason to be wary of taking on traditional loans for college with what could be a slow economic recovery and high rates of unemployment for years to come. So we're seeing a lot of action in this space right now. 60 colleges in the United States, for example, have started offering students income share agreements in lieu of traditional tuition or loans.
Or cost of education could be reduced.
An increasingly, popular idea is a one time COVID-19 wealth tax.
I haven't heard of this idea, but it's an interesting idea.
Lost school time will have long-term consequences too. In previous pandemics, disrupted schooling for those aged 14 to 17 led to lower wages throughout their working lives, compared to their just-graduated peers.
You've probably already heard the statistic, the bottom 50% of the world holds only 1% of the wealth. And COVID-19 is on track to make this problem much, much worse. A recent study on the economic effects of five previous pandemics between the years 2003 and 2016 found that income inequality in affected countries increased steadily for five years following the end of the pandemic. And the effects were higher when the pandemic led to a contraction in economic activity, which is definitely the case with COVID-19. We're looking at most likely a decade or longer of worsening economic inequality, if bold actions aren't taken now.
Broken health systems, economic inequality, racial injustice, brittle supply chains, political divisions, fragile public trust in the climate emergency. These pre existing conditions have made the pandemic so much worse and so much harder to recover from.
It's the world economic forum's annual global risks report. It's put together by a team of researchers who survey, this year over 650 top world leaders from business, government, and global development. The leaders all share what risks they are currently most concerned about and they rank and prioritize the urgency of each risk. They also make predictions about when exactly each risk will have a global impact, this year, next year, five years from now, 10 years from now. All of this collective intelligence is analyzed and aggregated into a very clear road-map of what is keeping some of the most informed and influential people in the world up at night. This report is a real eye-opener.
Google 'Global risks report', 2022 is out
What can't be different in the future? The sun rises in the east and sets in the west once a day, every day. I admit it is very hard to imagine that changing in the next 10 or 20 years. But when I started looking for articles and experts on the future of sunsets, I quickly discovered evidence that for some humans, sunsets could be different in the future. Here's why. Perhaps you recognize this image. This is a sunset not on earth but on Mars. A day on Mars is longer than a day on Earth. So on Mars, you'd get fewer sunsets over the course of your life. The colors of the sunset are different due to different atmospheric gases, the sun looks two-thirds smaller because Mars is farther away from the sun than Earth. But does this really matter? I mean, who's going to see a sunset on Mars besides the rover robot? Well, it could be you or it might be your children. Let's take a look at some more headlines. Check it out. Elon Musk's SpaceX company reports that they are on track to get a million people on Mars by the year 2050.
I teach a class at Stanford University's Continuing Studies program called How to Think Like a Futurist. On the first day of class, I always challenge the students to stump if the futurist, that's me, by coming up with a list of things they believe will not be different in the future. I asked them to name things that are true about how the world works today. Things that they believe will definitely still be true ten years from now, no way it will change. The two answers I hear most often are, you'll always need a man and a woman to make a baby, and humans will always need oxygen to breathe. Fair enough, whatever they come up with, I take that list back to my colleagues at the Institute, and together we try to prove my students wrong. We look for evidence that these seemingly unchangeable facts are already starting to change today. What do you know? Very first time I taught this class, this headline popped up just a few weeks in Exclusive. The world's first three parent baby was born. It's a new experimental method called the pronuclear transfer. It combines the genetic material of two women and one man to make one, three parent baby. It's being used today primarily to help parents avoid passing on genetic diseases.
Any useful statement about the future should at first seem ridiculous
The only constant is change.