Ray Hammond is a world-renowned futurologist and businessman. The expert, who has published 17 books and even podcasted his lectures on Google, forecasted the importance of the internet 33 years ago and today at the Innovations Forum Innovation Drift he talks about 6 problems, which will shape the world in 2030.
1. Disproportionate growth of the population
The United Nations (UN) has been counting that in 2030 there will be 8.2 billion people on Earth and this number will reach 11.2 billion the end of our century. This number is going to become a concerning problem, because our planet will have to supply food, energy and water to all these people.
"The biggest challenge of the future world will be clean water supply. Our food industry can potentially feed 8 or 10 billion people, we make further steps in energy production every day, however the shortage of clean water is already noticeable today. The solution to this problem is evident – we must find an invention or a process, which would allow to purify salty or polluted water and use it in the poorest countries," says R. Hammond.
2. Medical science revolution
"Perhaps the biggest change will be within the medical sciences. At least four revolutions are awaiting us, which will ensure that the biggest part of the audience here today will live up to at least to 100 years and there will be some, who will cross 120 mark. First of all, the DNA tests, which are already accessible, should be so common in 2030, that we will be researching the DNA of every unborn baby. What does it mean? We will be able to personalize medicine: today doctors must warn that the same medicine doesn't work for everyone and we have to find out by testing it ourselves. When the medics know the DNA, they will be able to immediately establish what is suitable for a person and what's not," claims the futurologist.
Two more innovations should reach us soon: nanomedicine, by using which a biodevice can be inserted into an exact spot in the body and with the help of digital tracking, will constantly monitor patient's blood pressure, blood sugar levels and other parameters, via the Internet of things and smart phones.
The fourth medicine revolution will be the stem-cell science. Today it already can produce new organs, but within ten years it will be able to create any functioning organ, except for the brain. It means that a 90 year old, who will have enough money, will be able to replace his heart, lungs and liver into 30 year olds. R. Hammond at Innovation Drift jokes that only one question remains: would he still want to go to dance in a club or would he feel too old for that?
3. Further climate change
According to the data of the World Health Organisation, climate change around 2030 will cost at least a quarter of a million lives a year. This will be the result of hunger, malaria, diarrhoea and heat waves caused by it. In the following decades there should be significantly higher number of people dying from storms, hurricanes and other natural disasters. If the entire planet will not start taking drastic measures soon, the well-known 2% mark (it is threatened that if it happens, it will totally change life on Earth) will be crossed in a few decades.
"The climate change itself doesn't cause hurricanes or earthquakes. However, it strengthens them significantly. This year the catastrophes that were destroying the earth were unique not because they happened, but because they were so powerful," says the futurologist in his speech.
4. Sustainable energy market
Humanity is moving towards the clean energy much slower than it would be desirable. The election of Donald Trump in the USA signifies big challenges that are awaiting our planet. The amount of solar and wind power plants needed to replace the biggest energy needs won't come without long-term development and further investments into coal and oil industries won't only add to the quickly worsening climate situation, but also keep further preparing people for the labour market, which soon won't be needed anymore.
"Recently, solar energy harvesting became 80% cheaper and wind energy became 50% cheaper. However, there is one very important detail: so far we don't have a battery, which would be capable of storing the energy. Half of Europe's energy by 2030 should come from renewable resources, however, when this model is transferred to other countries, there will be a need for batteries, which could compactly store high quantities of energy," says R. Hammond.
5. All-round globalization
The futurologist comments that even though recently globalisation hasn't disappeared anywhere, it's no longer desirable to be discussing it. The USA and some other European countries instead of openness, on the contrary, put emphasis on distance. One may think that the pace of globalization is slowing down, however, a truly global culture exchange and mix has never been so important.
"When globalisation became faster in the nineties thanks to the opportunities the freedom of movement provided, we have saved a billion of people from poverty. Sometimes globalization in rich countries is perceived as not a very positive process, however during the attempts to end poverty, it had more direct influence than the total amount of aid to the poor countries since the II World War," says R. Hammond.
According to the expert, if we want to reduce poverty, we'll have to solve a question of traveling by robots, we must invent such machines, which businesses can send to poor countries for a relatively small cost and some earn profit.
6. Technologies are improving at exponential speed
In the end, all of these slogans will be have a common aim to adapt to every–day technologies, which will be so powerful; we can't even imagine that today. The futurologist himself demonstrated a device behind his ear, which allows using a mobile phone without actually touching it. And this is only the beginning – in 2030 it will seem like a distant past.
"When first cars appeared, the English speakers didn't know what to call them, so they named them horse-less carriages. Our phones and computers in 10 years will become thousands of times more powerful than the current ones and soon the first smart phones will remind us of a horse carriage rather than a luxurious car," says R. Hammond.
The Vilnius Innovation Forum Innovation Drift from 12-13th October is organised by the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Lithuania and Lithuanian Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology (MITA). One of the biggest futuristic events in the Baltic Sea region this year attracted more than forty scientists, businessmen and futurologists from 15 countries of the world.