What are the 10 things that will bring the biggest changes in people’s lives over the next 10 years?
The Digital Transformation affects every aspect of our lives, but in my opinion, over the next 10 years, the 10 biggest changes will happen in Healthcare, Virtual Reality, Computational Power, Hyperconnectivity, knowledge of the world around us, 3D Printing, Transport, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence and Food.
Today, Healthcare is inefficient, bureaucratic and expensive. This is a multi-trillion dollar industry, so what better field to change? Thousands of startup companies, along with giants, such as Google, IBM, Apple, Samsung and many others are entering this industry and will fundamentally change the way people are treated today. And this will lead to a much better, more effective and cheaper Healthcare.
Healthcare will be the most transformed field of all in the next 10 years and the changes will be enormous. That is why I will pay special attention on them in this text.
Robot surgeons will make perfect operations without human error at a price of several dollars! Nanorobots, the biometrics of wearable devices, Big Data, translational medicine (the transfer of knowledge from fundamental sciences into clinical practice) and Artificial Intelligence create the conditions for a breakthrough in the treatment of cancer. Using them, we will be able to detect cancer at a very early stage, and the removal of cancer cells will be done with ever greater precision. Reducing the size of nanorobots will allow them to reach places that were inaccessible or too delicate for conventional surgical instruments. Personalized Healthcare will become a standard over the next 10 years to pave the way for the next step in the coming decade when stem cell pharmacies will be widespread in the future.
Just like the Human Genome Project that made the cost of reading the genome of each one of us just a $1000 and cutted the timing to just a few hours, the simulation of the human brain will too become possible. The exponential growth in the computing speed will make it possible to form accurate models of every part of the human brain. At present, only individual regions of the brain are studied in detail. But after 10 years scientists will be able to combine all areas and make a real-time simulation. Again, like the Human Genome Project, many scientists say this will not be possible, but they miss the exponential growth of computing speeds of computers. The development of nanobots for medical needs and simulation of the brain will lead to a huge change in Healthcare and will make a number of diseases, that are considered deadly, fully treatable within 10 years.
Another major driver of change in Healthcare is the 3D Printing. Instead of ink, the 3D printers print with materials – polymers or metals, overlaying a layer onto a layer and creating a volume. Nowadays, parts that are used to build body implants are being printed, but the development of technology will allow the production of personalized organs. Instead of polymers, the printer puts layer after layer of cells placed with a precision of micrometer distance. After 10 years, fully functioning complex organs, developed with a stock of enough nutrients, oxygen and growth potential to survive will be reality.
After that moment, although some organs (the not too complicated ones) will still be upgraded, they will be replaceable with printed ones. In the coming decades, more and more of the 78 organs in the human body will be printable. And instead of waiting for years for transplant, the patients will be able to get the personalized organs they need.
The implanted printed organs will allow the insertion of sensors in them, which will monitor the status of both the organ itself and the entire organism. This will lead to highly personalized healthcare, better prevention and treatment.
- Virtual Reality
The emergence of screens, first on TV, then on computers for the last 20 years and last on phones and mobile devices for the last 10 years, changed our entire lives. Do you remember you life before the mobile phone? Do you remember how the communication looked like then, just 10 years ago? How did you search for information, how did you connect with people?
Imagine those screens disappearing!
In 10 years, they will all be replaced by something that you wear on your eyes – glasses, viewers and depending on the technological advances maybe lenses. In front of our eyes we will have a whole new reality – a combination of the real, surrounding world and virtual reality. Few months ago Microsoft demonstrated its technology and platform Hololens, which allows a person’s presence simulation that can physically be anywhere as long as there is a network connection.
Meanwhile, the first apps have come. You can now have dinosaurs in the house, or watch a movie or a football match in your living room in the company of the actors themselves.
This is happening today!
The billions of dollars invested by Facebook in Oculus, by Google in Magic Leap, by Sony in Qualcomm, and many others, already gave their first products. Within few years, wearing glasses and viewers that create virtual reality will be standard, and the fashion industry will be struggling to impose this new trend. This in turn will lead to other changes. And now technology helps people with physical disabilities write by watching their eyes while choosing a letter from a virtual keyboard instead of pressing the letter with a finger. This technology will evolve and, in combination with the instrument that I have showed in several TV programmes for following of brain activity, will bring a new connectivity between the man and the machine. Although not very accurate at the beginning, with the necessary technology we will be able to send a SMS, call a friend or turn on and off the lights, music, or dimming the windows at home.
- Computational power
Imagine being able to buy a brain for €1000. After 10 years the computers will be able to make the same amount of operations as our brain – 10 trillion cycles per second. This exponential growth will lead to changes in every part of the human development and the lives of everyone.
In 2026 new 5 billion people will be connected to the web. This was the whole population of planet Earth in 1987. In 2000 the total number of Internet users was only 740 million. In 2015 the ITU data showed that their number had grown to 3.2 billion. The new billions of connected people will come mostly from Africa and Asia and their connection will be mobile.
8 billion people who exchange thoughts, business, art, research, finance and more online! Those people will be quick with the presence of Google, Amazon, Facebook, VR, Big Data and 3D Printing.
These are huge markets and entirely new economic reality, which is already happening and within ten years will almost completely replace the names of the 500 companies on Fortune’s list. Google (Project Loon), Facebook (Internet.org), SpaceX, Virgin (One Web) and many others are developing their projects for accessible internet for every person on the planet. At the end of last year, the Egyptian government allowed and then suspended Facebook’s service Internet.org and people familiar with the motives say that not the creation monopoly prerequisites (created by such services), but the lack of the options to trace the users is the thing that led to the suspension of the project. Anyway, adding 5 billion people to the 3 billion that are already connected will create a new business and social reality and that is inevitable!
- Knowledge of the world around us
If the knowledge about everything that is going on on Planet Earth, every detail about the wind in Sahara, the growth of the grass in Mongolia, the birth of an elephant in Masai Mara and trillions of other events per second, as well as structuring, studying and analyzing this information push us closer to the perfect knowledge, then by 2026 we will have the perfect knowledge about everything that is happening in our world. Internet of Things (IoT) or the broader Internet of Everything (IoE) describes a system of connected people, devices and data.
In its predictions the giant Cisco expects IoE to generate $19 trillion. In 10 years there will be over 100 billion connected devices – the telephones and computers are already connected and they have number of cameras, biometric devices etc. The drones, satellites, cameras and sensors in the private and public transport are getting more and more.
In the near future cars, houses, refrigerators, bulbs, stoves, shoes, clothes and new screens will become a part of the connected devices arong with the billions of industrial ones on Earth, the Atmosphere and in Space. Assuming that each connected device has several sensors, camera, detectors for temperature, pressure, touch and others, we can estimate that by 2026 there will be over 300-500 billion connected devices.
They will give us information about everything that happens somewhere on the planet with a millimeter accurancy and a dynamic and structured information about the changes it is going through.
- 3D Printing
3D Printing emerged in the mid-eighties of the last century, but only in 2014 was the breakthrough in which 3D Printing became faster than mold casting (traditional production). Print speed continues to increase, doubling every two years, in a model that is similar to Moore’s Law. By 2026 it is expected to be 32 times faster. So the detail that now takes 4 hours to print in 2026 will take just 7 minutes.
Today, 3D printers can create everything from a miniature figure to car and even a house. With the development of materials and speed, in 2026 we will print our clothes, accessories, some organs, household items and more. This will make the low-skilled labour in tailoring factories and plants unnecessary!
Transport is a field, in which changes are extremely noticeable. Not long ago Tesla announced more than 130 000 orders for its Model 3 at a $35 0000 price. The model will be on the market later this year. These are over $4 billion for a car, which is still basically a prototype that nobody has seen yet, except from the stage it was presented. This car is an electric vehicle that incorporates huge number of sensors for proximity, location, cameras for traffic conditions and more. It is also a car with an integrated autopilot. In other words, a car in which the driver can be replaced by a computer. And this is happening.
After 10 years, the percentage of cars without drivers will be significant and will grow annually. Whole industries will be changed – the transport of people and goods with trucks, busses and taxis. In a decade millions of people around the world will have to reorient and look for a new livelihood.
If the Hyperloop project, which is a tube system in which a capsule full of people or goods moves in a vacuum environment, is developing as planned, the first hyperloops will soon emerge in America, Europe and the Middle East.
You may not have heard about Blockchain (Blockchain’s founder is among the speakers at Webit.Festival Europe in Sofia), but I guess you have information about bitcoin. If you want to stay up-to-date, I highly recommend you to get acquainted with the matter. Bitcoin is an extremely secure cryptocurrency that is based on Blockchain. Based on that technology, it is safe to transfer money, shared, contracts and any kind of information without an involvement of an intermediary (banks). Personal data may be stored and to be the foundation of your personal identification (instead of the serial number of your passport or an electronic signature), medical records and information etc. Blockchain is an innovation and a protocol that democratizes economic relationships and creates prerequisites for the preservation and protection of personal data and space.
- Artificial Intelligence
After the victory of IBM’s DeepBlue over Gary Kasparov in 1996 the sceptics said that chess has a rather predictable strategy and the computer can never beat a human in the Chinese game Go, which is tens of times more complex and requires human intuition to be won. In other words, the game is something like a super, mega, hyper chess! Not long ago, one of the living legends of the game, winner of 18 world titles Lee Sedol was defeated in 4 out of 5 games by a machine. Now Google’s AlphaGo computer is the new proud bearer of the “divine” Ninth dan!
If you are using Siri and Google Talk today and think it is convenient, then wait for another 2-3 years and see how it will evolve and will answer more complex questions. In 10 years artificial intelligence will be an integral part of our lives – we will give it access to our conversations, our emails. It will monitor our health, advise us on what clothes to year, depending on the time and agenda we have for the day. It will tell us what to eat, how to care for ourselves, how much and how to practice sports, drive our cars and much more.
The increasing population, development of technology, climate change, reduction and depletion of resources, including the vital for the human race – water, lead to changes in the way people grow their food. The so-called vertical farms are already gaining momentum as prototypes and development models. While there is still no commercially successful model in the required scale, vertical farms are climate-independent vertical systems in which climate, light, humidity and other important factors are controlled by humans, producing the output at a height of separate layers (floors) like a vertical greenhouse – skyscraper.
Scientists and environmentalists defend the thesis that vertical farms create conditions for a greener farming than the traditional agriculture. Either way, genetically modified foods will inevitably become part of people’s diet, because the demand is much greater than supply.
Climate change will make many areas unsuitable for growing crops and animals that have been traditional in certain places, and this will exacerbate food shortages. In this sense, technology will provide solutions as cited above.
To summarize I can say that we live in a time that never happened before in the human history and there is no equivalent or historical lessons to learn from. The powerful combination of digitalization and globalization that we are witnessing changes our lives every single day.
All of the 10 major changes listed above and many others, related to space, biotechnology, energy, etc. will mutually induce their potential and the changes will become more and more rapid.
The future will be the way we make it. People can live happy and enjoyable life while robots perform dangerous and harmful activities. More and more often, in our technology industry, we hear voices about minimum income of every person that guarantees the basic needs and standard of living. Although a few years ago this was perceived as an utopia, more and more scientists, technology investors, entrepreneurs and economists are thinking and working on the topic today.
I am writing this text and sharing my thoughts and knowledge, because I believe that I am helping people in Bulgaria. Because I am convinced that only trained people can create the future and live in it happily. The global events and communities of Webit, the business I invest in, and the consultations we make for large businesses about their digital transformation and collaboration with startup communities for innovation are part of this mission – to create people ready for the future – the future, in which life will be better.
Inevitably, changes will affect everyone. If someone is thinking that his life or his work will continue the same way is profoundly mislead. That is why it is especially important that everyone is ready to adapt and take advantage of the opportunities that are being discovered and are about to be discovered.
Above all, never stop learning! Before us are the opportunities for humanity to develop for better and better opportunities for Bulgaria as a state and a nation!