Saxo Bank is a sober banking institution, not given to wild conspiracies or headline-grabbing predictions.
But its latest Outrageous Predictions has some interesting, well, predictions for 2021 Here’s a sample:
- Revolutionary fusion design catapults humanity into energy abundance: it concludes that alternative and green energies are not the answer to humanity’s needs. The world urgently needs a disruption in energy technology, and it seems this may have arrived in the form of the SPARC fusion reactor from MIT. Using Artificial Intelligence, engineers have been able to increase the energy gain factor by 20, “creating the biggest paradigm shift in energy technology since nuclear power.” The mastery of fusion energy opens up the prospect of a world no longer held back by water and food scarcity, thanks to desalination and vertical farming (growing crops in vertically stacked layers).
- Blockchain tech kills fake news: The fake news industry is booming more than ever, polluting reliable news sources we have trusted for decades. The spread of disinformation is accelerated by algorithms that favour engagement, funnelling readers to extreme, attention-grabbing positions on blogs and biased new media outfits. Even worse, new developments in deep learning research have enabled the creation of realistic deep-fake images and videos, able to show politicians and other people in power saying things which they simply never said. Tackling this trend, companies like Verizon and IBM are developing technologies to counter fake news with verification using a blockchain network.
- Universal basic income decimates big cities: The Covid pandemic has decimated parts of the economy and boosted others, creating to so-called K-shaped recovery that is leading to ever greater income inequality. Add to this the job displacement caused by AI and automation, and city office real estate companies are staring at 50% over-capacity. Universal Basic Income has been offered as a solution to this predicted income disparity, which is set to grow. This will prompt a move out of cities, and younger people will be able to stay in the communities where they grew up.
- In the coming decade, up to a quarter of the current jobs as we know them will be displaced as automation replaces physical labour and AI replaced many information age jobs. Oxford University researchers even project that half of US jobs could become obsolete by 2030. This dynamic will aggravate both inequality and increasingly polarised modern labour markets. The march of technology, combined with reliance on the legacy principles of the free market economy, is already undermining the social contract and even tearing at the very social fabric; Covid-19 has only accelerated these trends.
“In 2021 and beyond, our society will have to find a new policy path if we are to avoid deepening injustice, but also political upheavals, social unrest and systemic risk. So what is to be done?” says Outrageous Predictions.
The great disruption – where will the opportunities lie?
“Every crisis brings with it the required energy for making bold changes. In 2021, policy comes in for a major overhaul, with a whole new approach to reducing inequality that has little to do with adjustments to the tax code. Instead, a Citizens Technology Fund is created that transfers a portion of asset ownership of capital assets to everyone, with an extra portion going to displaced workers, allowing them and everyone else to participate in the productivity gains of the digital era. The policy is spun as a Disruption Dividend, and goes a long way to relieving the economic and social anxieties for those who have been losing out on the share of economic output in recent years.
The Disruption Dividend frees up enormous entrepreneurial energy at the individual and community scale as millions have more time and energy on their hands away from repetitive and stressful jobs. More meaningful
work in community restoration, artisanal crafts and food production explode in popularity. Leisure-related sectors boom as well, from hobbies to recreational sports and activities, real and virtual.
Where the growth will appear: education, art, crafts and hobbies. But also in the digital spectrum, virtual reality, gaming and E-sports.