We’re entering a new decade, and the pace of technological change has increased every decade since the start of the last century.  Does anybody think it will slow down now, with all the advanced mobile devices, 5G and the Internet, and the dawning of artificial intelligence as a corporate and consumer tool?

A recent article offered us a chance to consider some possible developments between now and January 1, 2030.  The first prediction is that autonomous self-driving cars and trucks will become widespread causing a decline in taxi and trucking companies, impacting auto insurance and gas operations, and eliminating the parking facilities in cities.  The garage in the family home will be converted to living space, as more and more people forego owning their own vehicles, connecting to a larger intelligence network of vehicles to meet their travel needs.  

In addition, it is not hard to imagine improving workstation connectivity and telescreen technology causing more workers to work from home.  Hacking will rise, and so will so-called “Deep fakes”: the ability to use images of people to make it appear that they are saying or doing things that actually never happened.  Social media companies will have to take on more responsibility for toxic forces on their platforms, and democracies will have to develop better strategies to defend their populations from digital threats.

Other predictions: artificial intelligence capabilities that mimic and even exceed human capabilities—and those AI systems will, themselves, be the architects of the next-level thinking machines.  We will begin genetically modifying peoples’ DNA, and so-called “precision medicine” will allow healthcare professionals to create individualized (genetically engineered) solutions to peoples’ health challenges.

Finally, next generation telescopes—the James Webb Space Telescope and the European Extremely Large Telescope—will finally make it possible to scan the heavens for signs of intelligent life.  By the end of the decade, humanity will have completed a survey of a million nearby stars.  Living in the 2020s could get interesting in a hurry.

This article was written by an independent writer for Brewster Financial Planning LLC and is not intended as individualized legal or investment advice.