This week the Economist Annual predictions issue hits the news stands and I am really looking forward to it. Here is a preview from the Editor, Daniel Franklin. The Economist podcast also had a terrific installment on 11/23 featuring Paul Saffo from Stanford, one of the people to be in the Annual this year as a futurologist.
I found his comments fascinating. Here are some paraphrased notes:
- When looking at change there are three types of things: constants, cycles, and novelties, and the novelties are a tiny minority. One novelty to watch going forward is the fact that more people live in urban environments than rural environments for the first time ever. A trend that has been underway for maybe 5,000 years.
- It takes 15 years to become an overnight success. If you are looking for something that is going to be big next year, look for the thing that has been failing for the last 15 years. Robotics fits the mold for next year.
- Pessimism is the new black.
- The nature of capitalism is changing. There could be three flavors going forward: Entrepreneurial in the US, Community in Asia, and Cultural in Europe.
He rounds it out with the prediction of a totally new religion. We have not had a new god in 2,000 years. Here is the print version of that part.