As we near the end of 2016 and prepare for yet another trip around the sun, our plans and ideas for the future are often reduced to whimsical “New Year’s resolution” statements about changes we want to see happen.
But big changes in how we live, driven by social and technological trends we’re seeing now, are already in motion. And according to author Kevin Kelly, these changes are inevitable—more revolution than resolution.
In his latest book, The Inevitable, Kelly describes how 12 different forces (see sidebar for our Top 5) will radically transform our world in next 30 years. These forces overlap and are mutually supportive. They will completely revolutionize how we live, work, learn, communicate, and buy things.
Products will become services and processes; companies like Uber and Airbnb have already begun to disrupt established industries with their innovative business models based on sharing—one of the revolutionary forces discussed by Kelly in his book (see Chapter 6).
Driven by the “interacting” trend, artificial intelligence (AI) will become cheap and plentiful, embedded into almost everything we manufacture. As Kelly writes, “The next 10,000 startups are easy to forecast: Take X and add AI.”
It’s fascinating to watch these changes emerge in the financial sector—traditionally an opaque business with a rigid customer pecking order and closely held information. Yet the growth of alternative asset classes and retail investing (for Kelly this is “cognifying” and “flowing”) is helping to break down those status quo barriers.
We can see “sharing” in the recent emergence of new factors based on alternative data like social media sentiment. Using social sentiment for trading and investing is still a relatively new methodology, given that widespread social media use just mushroomed over the past decade. The financial sector is so staunchly traditional it takes at least 10 years for disruptive innovations to break through.
But as Kevin Kelly points out, even with our current obsession with social media we’ve barely begun to explore the amazing power of the crowd. As we continue to evolve, “crowdfunding”, “crowdorganizing”, and “crowdmaking” will give us a million new ways to share unexpected things in unexpected ways.
In the next three decades the greatest wealth will be created in ways we can barely imagine. By harnessing the sharing of the crowd we’ll go much further than we think.
Here’s to an exciting, prosperous, and revolutionary 2017!
5 key trends that will transform our world
One of the best books I read in 2016 was Kevin Kelly’s new book, The Inevitable. Kelly is a futurist, technologist, author and speaker, and a co-founder of Wired magazine. His optimistic view of how technology changes our world for the better really resonates with my own thinking.
In the book, Kelly writes about transformative forces that are already trending; each of his 12 chapters reflects a different force. Here are our 5 favorites:
- Cognifying – Artificial intelligence (AI) will be a utility, like electricity. It will be cheap, plentiful, and embedded into everything, changing the nature of how things work.
- Flowing – Everything will flow in real time as we grow to depend on unstoppable streams from creators to consumers who are themselves creators.
- Sharing – Massive collaboration on a global scale. Everyone creates and it’s all shared. Ideas, thoughts, expressions or artifacts can be contributed to by anyone and experienced by anyone.
- Tracking – This will become more transparent as everyone tracks and is tracked everywhere, all the time. “Coveillance” will emerge, where the watchers and the watched track each other.
- Questioning – Billions of connected people are creating a new level of organization where questioning is the norm and answers emerge from the collective. Unimagined questions beget unimaginable answers.