The futuristic twenties – a decade of new technologies
This year marks the beginning of a new decade which, as a result of the accelerating technological revolution, may prove to be one of the most interesting in history. Without any evaluation, whether it be good or bad, the coming years may bring the world closer to many so far only futuristic visions. During the last 10 years, the world economy mainly rose from its knees after the 2008-2009 financial crisis. In the next decade, new technologies will be the main driver of change.
According to the objectives of the Artemis mission, man will be on the moon again in 2024, but this time he is to stay there permanently until 2028. The first mission to Mars is to set off, and transport on the border of atmosphere and space is to develop. In medicine, 3D printing in combination with nanotechnologies will enable the wide exchange of any organ for new ones. The world will probably find effective medicines for AIDS and cancer. All this will result in a further increase in life expectancy, with a life span of 100 years becoming increasingly common. Scientists predict that robotics, combined with the development of artificial intelligence, will result in the creation of the first cyborgs, so far mainly associated only with the Terminator film. This will probably mean a huge discussion on the limits and regulations of artificial intelligence or the possibilities of cloning. At the same time, automation and digitisation will completely change industry in particular, but also a number of service industries. The robotisation of the economy will, on the one hand, result in rich European countries regaining competitiveness but, on the other, may cause concern for jobs, especially globally, with the population still growing, which is expected to grow from 7.7 billion to 8.5 billion in the 2020s. The rich countries will continue to grow old, but in Africa and southern Asia there will be a demographic boom, causing tensions linked to migration to Europe.
The fight against climate change is already firmly on the global agenda, which represents an opportunity for the economy to gain a new investment impulse, but also the risk that the costs and benefits of adopting new technologies will not be evenly distributed, affecting changes in energy prices and the competitive position of many countries. A hundred years ago, the US did not join the League of Nations, and now it is abandoning the Paris Agreement. Without their involvement and that of China or India, it will not be possible to really get close to the path of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the 2020s in line with the objective of a maximum average temperature increase of 2 degrees C. May the next decade bring a change that will save the environment for us and for future generations. New technologies will also play a major role in the energy sector, especially energy storage, which would represent a turning point in the economy. Transport will also change fundamentally in this context. The large car manufacturers assume that electric cars will account for the majority of sales from the mid-2020s onwards. Modern rail transport will also experience a renaissance, and the aviation and maritime industries will witness a technological leap in environmentally friendly technologies.
Robotisation in combination with the dissemination of the "winners take all" strategy in many sectors globally will pose a risk to the labour market and increase wealth and income inequalities. Digitisation will continue to change the ways of communication and the media, and raise increasing questions about the authenticity of information, freedom of choice and privacy. As Europe has lost the technological battle for data and technology platforms that consumers use on a daily basis, the US technology corporations will be at the forefront of this change. The political debate on the new “mega-corporate” regulations will intensify in the dimension of trade war and internal political elections, as heralded by the US presidential campaign and the demands of Senator Elizabeth Warren. In this context, for example, the division of Facebook, digital taxes, new privacy, AI and anti-trust regulations can increasingly enter the mainstream political debate.
We are therefore facing an incredibly interesting 20th century! As always, wisely used technological, medical or energy changes can become a lever for development and positive social change in this and the next decades. Conversely, regulatory errors or lack of international cooperation can have fatal consequences. But this New Year's edition is worth looking at with optimism, so less about the risks this time.
2020 itself will not be a breakthrough in the economy, except for Brexit which, if it occurs with the agreement, should no longer cause any more turbulence. In Poland, we are facing a cyclical slowdown in GDP growth in the region of 3.0-3.5%, which still means a solid result against the backdrop of weak performance in the Eurozone. Salaries will increase strongly by nearly 8% on average, which will compensate for the inflationary leap in the region of 3.0-3.5%. However, interest rates should remain unchanged, because price increases will slow down next year. The economy will be in balance with a balanced budget and current account balance. In the pension system, Open Pension Funds will be transformed into private IKEs with the possibility of choosing ZUS by the participants, and PPK will become a the labour market standard also in small and medium-sized companies. There are many challenges, but may the coming year be a good start to an interesting next decade of global development and our economy, in which we have a chance to get closer to the EU level.
The text originally appeared in Puls Biznesu