Predicting the Future from 2020

Sunday January 12, 2020

What's going to happen in the future? I will tell you. The future will be basically like now, but some things will be slightly better, and some things will be slightly worse.

By 2021

By 2025

By 2030

By 2040

General trends: Climate continues to change. Unemployment gets worse not because companies don't want to hire but because they can't find employees with positive marginal value. Rich continue to get richer while the poor are largely left behind. Some governments sell the poor totalitarianism as populism while others move toward socialism. Warfare is as targeted as possible; assassinations become more common. International psyops are generally opposed to wealth redistribution.

In thinking about these predictions, it's striking how much more significant my personal choices generally are (for me) than things that happen in the world. I'm very fortunate that even the biggest things in the news don't affect me very much. I've never been forced to migrate anywhere, for example, and I don't expect to be.

Most big changes in my life are independent of the news. Ten years ago I lived in Korea, five years ago I lived in New York, now I live in DC. For most of the last ten years I was a childless single renter, and now I'm a married homeowner with a daughter.

Most technology doesn't change terribly much. Ten years ago, I had an iPhone, I searched on Google, I translated things with Google Translate, and I programmed with Python. I drive a hybrid gas/electric car that's over ten years old. All these technologies are better today than they used to be, but they aren't fundamentally new.

One technology that has seen dramatic change over the last ten years is deep learning. It's been really neat to be a small part of that. I wonder what technology might be the equivalent in the next decade. I suspect it isn't going to be any of the buzz words (VR, AR, crypto, etc.). Maybe something biological?

I'm curious to hear predictions from others, and I look forward to reflecting on all these predictions in the future!