What will the world look like in 2050?

Social entrepreneur, keynote speaker and co-author of Fast Forward Files, Igor Beuker shares his future vision.

What will the world look like in 2050?

Social entrepreneur, keynote speaker and co-author of Fast Forward
Files, Igor Beuker shares his future vision.

In an era of uncertainty and rapid technological change, there is a great need for seers who do not shy away from answering the question: what the world look like in 2050? Humanity will change more in the  next 30 years than the previous 300 years.

Imagine flying a drone with your mind, a machine generated New York
bestselling book, robotic surgeons and virtual worlds beyond our imagination. Just watch sci-fi movie Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg) to see what the future Facebook will look like. It is futurists, trendwatchers, scientists, nonlinear minds and Hollywood Sci Fi makers who are capable of showing us the future and how we can coin the limitless business opportunities of the 21st century.

The most important question is: Are you ready for disruption? Do you have the mindset, culture and DNA to adapt to an era in which the only constant will be change? Business leaders are often just like the rest of the population: Everyone wants innovation, no one wants to change.

Under the hood of Industry4.0 – Advertising may win
quarters, innovation wins decades

Do you have the future vision, foresight and imagination the see the future of society and humanity? Can our linear minds keep up with the exponential technologies out there? Do you have digital leadership and cyber punks at the top of your organization – and throughout its ranks? Do you have access to the talent of Industry 4.0?

This era is about mindset and having a trend-driven, opportunity-seizing innovation culture, digital transformation and acceleration. This is the era of adapt or die.  

Industry 4.0 will shake up the world as we know it. The music industry, video rental, classified ads came first. Next media and retail were demolished by outsiders.  Industry 4.0 will disrupt all industries as far ahead as 2050 – and much faster than we all think it will today.

Laws can speed up or slow down trends and technologies. But if self-driving is approved by lawmakers, tens of millions of truckers and Uber drivers will be unemployed. By 2040, 3D printing could have slashed manufacturing, international trade and logistics by 50%.

Modern companies like Airbnb, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Netflix and Tesla all realize that trends are now more valuable than ever before. That’s why they keep coining the limitless business opportunities of the 21st century.

Their ROI? They are innovating on a scale that we have never seen before, embracing exponential growth that is unprecedented in human history.

These are the Math Men. They don’t rely on advertising because it might win them a few quarters. They rely on trend-driven innovation, because it will win them decades. Look at modern-day leaders: Bezos, Musk, Branson, Ma. These outsiders and outliers are taking over entire industries within less than a decade. They are disrupting and demolishing incumbent brands.

Legacy brands usually fail to significantly coin trends. That’s why they are slipping away every day. The lifespan for Fortune 500s is declining at a pace we’ve never seen before. These are run by the Mad Men generation – stuck in the behaviour of the past. They are addicted to advertising and delusional about new trends, technologies and consumer behavior. Blockbuster, Kodak, Nokia, and ToysRUs neglected trends. Against all odds, they kept spending billions of dollars on advertising, consultancy firms, old school R&D and backward-looking market research. Still they lost.

Retailers can blame the Amazon-effect but the undisputed truth is that they were in denial for too long. The problem isn’t Amazon, it’s retail’s lack of customer centricity. Winning in the future means being proactive, not  reactive. The Risk of Inaction should be clear by now.

By 2050 the winners in business will all be wildly innovative, persistently disruptive and laser-focused on their customers. Customers used to be king, now they are dictators. If you don’t give them love and personalized attention, they will swipe you out of their lives forever.

Towards 2050, Industry4.0 will be about having foresight and radical vision, selfless leadership and social innovation. Sustainability will become the new way to grow profitability. Huge transitions come with great responsibilities. We will need to develop new ethical standards, morals, values and new laws to guide us. We will need to find a new balance between man and machine. We need to work together and not compete with them.

For CEOs, one of the biggest challenges will be exponential technologies versus our linear minds. When dealing with the future, it’s far more important to be imaginative than to be right. What will help us? Using our human AI. Our Ancient Intelligence. The other AI will not be more socially intelligent than human beings – even by 2050.

Igor Beuker
Igor Beuker

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