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Humans and technology

Five forces that will shape the future

These are the big trends of the coming decades that need to be considered for any new technologies to be successful.
February 26, 2020

 

US wealth gap

Since 2007 the bottom 50% has had zero or negative wealth (i.e., debt).

1980 

  • Top 10% of people: 65% of wealth
  • Middle 40% of people: 34% of wealth
  • Bottom 50% of people: .01% of wealth

2014

  • Top 10% of people: 73% of wealth
  • Middle 40% of people: 27% of wealth

Source: World Inequality Database (2018)


Data explosion

We’re going to need better storage, processing, and privacy.

bar chart

Source: IDC Research, The Digitization of the World. From Edge to Core. (2018)


Rise in average global temperatures

As surface temperatures increase, so will sea levels, extreme storms, and habitat disruption.

thermometer showing temperature rise

Source: NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, Climate at a Glance (2020)


Language extinction

From 1950 to 2010, 230 languages went extinct. Today, a third of the world’s languages have fewer than 1,000 speakers left.

Source: UNESCO World Language Atlas (2010); Ethnologue: Languages of the World (2019)


An older population

Today, 9% of the global population is over 65. That’s going to grow in the next decades, redefining work, health care, and our economy.

Source: United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2019). 

Deep Dive

Humans and technology

illustration showing various types of ancient and modern legal tender
illustration showing various types of ancient and modern legal tender

Money is about to enter a new era of competition

Digital technology is poised to change our relationship with money and, for some countries, the ability to manage their economies.

worldcoin orb
worldcoin orb

Deception, exploited workers, and cash handouts: How Worldcoin recruited its first half a million test users

The startup promises a fairly-distributed, cryptocurrency-based universal basic income. So far all it's done is build a biometric database from the bodies of the poor.

Las Vegas aerial view of neighborhood near desert
Las Vegas aerial view of neighborhood near desert

House-flipping algorithms are coming to your neighborhood

Despite millions of dollars in losses, iBuying’s failure doesn’t signal the end of tech-led disruption, just a fumbled beginning.

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Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

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