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10 trends to change lives in future, from education to health

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Jan 05, 2022 - 06:50 AM

WASHINGTON/BERLIN (AA) – Ten trends in technology, career-making and finance are on course to radically change people’s lives in the next decade.

While the coronavirus pandemic has had devastating effects on public health and the economy, it has also accelerated technological progress in the worldwide effort against climate change and disease.

COVID-19 has forced companies and workers to be faster, more innovative, and productive, while experts emphasize that climate change cannot be effectively fought without new ideas and inventions.

Significant changes that have come about from this include virtual offices, cells modified with the help of artificial intelligence, advanced technology developed to help offset climate change, and less hierarchical working environments. While these have made their mark, technological progress is expected to break new ground by combining disciplines such as biology and artificial intelligence.

As the virus pushes companies large and small to undergo a digital transformation and put emphasis on innovation, competition has also heated up.

As a result, daily life has become easier with new and improved technology, mRNA-based vaccines protect humanity from viruses, and artificial intelligence delays climate change.

Ten trends in technology, business, and finance are expected to shape people’s lives over the next decade.

Technology can protect both climate, well-being

As the climate-related damage to the environment weighs ever heavier, climate change can be managed through technological advancements.

New technology will play a major role in combating climate change, with one example being electric vehicles that have become more widespread, replacing their gas-powered counterparts.

Electricity storage and batteries will also be a part of the solution. The average per-kilowatt-hour cost of a lithium-ion battery has plummeted over the last decade from $1,200 to $132.

However, batteries are less suitable for long-term energy storage. Many start-ups are testing novel methods to store energy, while researchers are intensifying work in the nuclear science, which carries to promise of clean, safe, and almost inexhaustible energy.

Countries like France are researching and building small modular nuclear reactors to boost safety and efficiency. Russia commissioned a type of floating power plant with such a reactor off the coast of Siberia in 2019, while China has been building the ACP100 mini-reactor since the summer.

In the US, billionaires Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are also investing in green energy, while construction of Europe’s first mini nuclear power plant is underway in Romania.

Metaverse on the way

In the next few months, Microsoft plans to introduce avatars on its business communication platform Teams with which for people will be able to join digital conferences.

Companies, research institutes, and governments are creating digital twins of factories, road traffic, or entire cities thanks to the progress achieved in computer performance.

Microsoft and Nvidia, a graphics processing designer, presented their technological foundations, concepts, and products for “corporate metaverses” at their annual customer conference a few weeks ago.

Competition for emerging platforms is expected to ignite among major tech and industry groups over the next few years.

Now, amid this flurry, organs and the human body have become an example as an area in which digital copies can be made to study new drugs or treatments and evaluate them more quickly.

While home holograms or 3D phone calls are expected to become common as part of Google’s Starline project, the global tech giant is now testing a phone booth that allows 3D communication without VR headsets.

Synthetic biology revolutionizes medicine

BioNTech, Moderna, and CureVac are currently working on mRNA-based vaccines against COVID-19 variants and other infectious diseases like influenza and rabies. Biotech companies are also testing a range of such active ingredients against other illnesses, particularly cancer, as well as some hereditary and cardiovascular diseases.

Experts say that cells could theoretically be programmed to produce any type of protein with the help of mRNA technology.

For many years, doctors dreamed of accurately predicting the structure of protein, while scientists could fold such molecules to better assess their role in the human body, as well as to diagnose and treat diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or cystic fibrosis.

Computer science has provided new means at the juncture of biology and medicine. According to the scientists, biology may be an “excellent” field for the application of artificial intelligence, just as mathematics has become the language of physics.

Tendency to acquire temporary skills

Experts say another trend that has emerged is for people to acquire skills to use them for only a short time when they are needed.

Nowadays, employers seek tangible skills and responsibilities in potential staff, rather than formal qualifications such as training. There has been an increased interest in micro-certifications that help acquire new skills and new knowledge.

Well-known business schools and academies are also following this trend, offering courses that can be completed in a few days or over the weekend. While most courses are offered online amid the pandemic, the demand for flexible forms of learning continues to grow.

Everyone to serve in boss role in future

New developments in the business world are also softening hierarchies within companies.

In the new working order, not only employees but entire organizations have had to improve and renew themselves, continuously.

Taking on more and more responsibilities amid this trend are side managers, or employees who are not senior but still to manage others, for example by running a project or a new product line.

Wage spiral spins faster

Salary is no longer the most important factor weighing for or against a job.

Linear resumes where people work with the same employer for 20 years are expected to become less common in the future, as phenomena such as more training, quicker job changes, and the wave of layoffs during the pandemic stand out.

Salary ranges of individual firms are expected to shift further in the future, taking performance into account. High performers may demand much more than in the past due to the worsening shortage of skilled workers.

Virtual company, new professional fields

Facebook, which changed its name to Meta, presented its VR meeting room Horizon Workrooms last year, after its new work platform “Infinite Office” announced in September 2020.

The app allows employees to create an avatar to collaborate with other people on chalkboards or laptops, just like in a computer game. Company locations can be digitally modeled and made accessible using virtual reality glasses.

In addition to Meta, US technology companies Microsoft and Nvidia continue to work on similar solutions.

More initiative to be required for pension

While countries must now finance more and more elderly people, life insurance, the majority of which is bond-based, is bringing in less and less interest.

Experts think the concept of a manageable retirement for those born after 1960 will no longer work. This is also due to the increasing demands on quality of life in old age.

While much more initiative will be required in the future, this would mean that an employee should start saving according to his or her age at the agr of 30, at the latest.

Experts emphasize that the longer the savings period, the less investors should worry about losses.

Investors benefit from innovation with Moonshot investments

US scientist Hendrik Bessembinder said that over the past century, more than half of US-listed companies have lost value or performed worse than an investment in short-term US government bonds.

When investors look for stocks that make them rich like a “gold rush,” this trend has been dubbed “Moonshot investing.”

Young people shaping new investment culture

The younger generation has been shaping a change in the culture of sharing with one another, being able to invest in a portfolio with press of a button on mobile devices.

More and more young investors are using their smartphones to quickly gather on a portfolio and discuss stocks, entry prices, and performance on social media.

Due to negative interest rates, the pandemic, and easier access to the stock market through online platforms, the number of young shareholders has increased in developing countries since last year. Asset managers describe it as “the attraction of gaming: entering the casino with a mobile phone.”

*Writing by Gozde Bayar

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