What will the future hold? It’s the question that fuels sci-fi novels, inspires scientists and stumps stargazers, and it’s really got us thinking here at Vodafone UK. That’s why we’ve engaged a group of futurologists to map what’s around the corner. Find out how your world could change over the next 20 years…

You may have noticed something a little bit different about Vodafone (and here on Vodafone Social) today. No, it’s not a haircut or a new coat, but we have had a style shakeup – we’re looking future ready!

But what exactly does being ready for the future mean? And what is coming next? Better yet, are you excited? We asked you for your thoughts…

What we found

Of the nearly 13,000 people Vodafone surveyed in partnership with YouGov across 14 countries, 62 per cent thought the standard of living in their country would be the same or better in 20 years’ time. Those in the 18-24-year-old bracket were most optimistic, and the largest percentage of respondents picked technological innovation as having potential to have the biggest positive influence. These figures are pretty promising, but there are still a few of you on the fence.

From the speed of technological advancements, environmental pressures and our growing and changing population, it’s hard to deny the need for evolution. But when you’re not too sure what that might mean, it can be difficult to embrace what’s on the horizon.

To help make things clearer, we’ve been working with consultancy, Futerra, and a team of futurologists to identify 10 of the top emerging trends set to transform the way we live and work. Prepare to be inspired when it comes to what’s ahead…

Grounds for optimism

Imagine turning today’s water, food and energy scarcities into abundance, or seeing, smelling and touching distant lands without ever leaving the classroom. According to leading futurologists from five countries, in just 20 short years, we could be well on our way.

In fact, based on what’s already possible, here are their top 10 emerging trends:

  1. Future Cities: Cities will be cleaner, healthier places to live with new green spaces, 3D printed homes and 4D furniture able to reconfigure itself to fit the differing needs of your home.
  2. 100 Terawatt World: Humans, in even the most remote areas of the world, could have access to five times the amount of energy produced today through the better capture, storage and deployment of renewable energy.
  3. Everything Online: More everyday objects will incorporate sensor technology connected to the Internet – allowing homes, companies and everything in between to operate smartly. Sensor use in agriculture could increase food production by 70 per cent.
  4. Intelligent Assistance: Forget robots taking our jobs. Instead robots will be making our jobs a million times easier by becoming the ultimate PA as they anticipate our needs and allow us to spend less time on menial tasks.
  5. Personalised Medicine and Healthcare: Advice and treatment will be tailored to our lifestyles, physiology and genetics – putting paid to one-size-fits-all healthcare – while 3D bio-printing and ‘living drugs’ will cut costs, reduce waiting times and potentially even end the need for donor lists.
  6. Purposeful Work and Priority Shift: The ethical and environmental values of the young will increase pressure on businesses to seek purpose beyond profit and as automation fills the ‘dangerous, dirty and dull’ roles, human creativity will result in more direct transactions between individuals to share ownership of things like cars.
  7. Mega Water Projects:Largescale water capture projects will enable every human plentiful access to clean water and enable arid countries to grow vegetables using nothing but sunlight and seawater.
  8. Travel Shift: Superfast mass public transport (like Elon Musk’s Hyperloop) and intercity trains travelling up to 600mph will replace air travel and rail in some countries, while a new generation of driverless vehicles will make travel a pleasure rather than a chore.
  9. Protein Shift: A wide range of meat-free protein and realistic meat alternatives will bring both global carbon emissions and heart disease down to an all-time low.
  10. Immersive Living: Education and entertainment will become more immersive than ever. VR, AR and mixed reality technologies will let you not only see, but also smell and touch your way through events and exotic destinations, and even learn about history by stepping into a simulation of the past.

It’s certainly big thinking, but when you consider 10 years ago we were iPhone-less, 40 years ago we didn’t have home computers, and 103 years ago commercial flight was only just getting off the ground, opportunities for a better world suddenly seem well within our reach.

In fact, we’re already getting underway at Vodafone with projects like SUB2, where we’ve teamed up with athletes to improve performance through more accurate sensor and GPS technology, and Mission to the Moon with Berlin-based start-up PTScientists, where we’re working to establish the first telecoms network on the moon. That’s alongside others like The Dreamlab app, which is aiding cancer research.

As we move towards a future reshaped by remarkable technologies, Vodafone UK will be at the forefront to help you adapt and prosper. Because this shakeup’s more than just a lick of paint, it’s how we see the world.

The future is exciting. Ready?

Find out more about emerging trends… Read more about our brand here.

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