There are many stories about the future of the economy. Technology often plays a leading role in this: Are robots taking over our jobs? Will cryptocurrencies supplant the current currency? Are we facing a new economic crisis? Will we make a timely transition from a linear to a circular economy? Will globalization continue or will an international trade war lead to a more closed economy? Will the European Union have a long life? Is the Dutch social care system sustainable in the light of an aging population?. If you are interested, visit techwear shoes.
Will cryptocurrencies supplant the current currency?
Is there anything left to choose from?
Does technology steer us towards a certain future, or is there something else to choose from? The question of what influence technological developments will have on the economy of the future was central to the Economics Outlook that the Foundation for the Future of Technology (STT) conducted between 2017 and 2019. The exploration led to the publication ‘How do we produce, consume and redistribute in 2050? Bioprinters, resource roundabouts, and brain internet?’ which is handed over.
Theme economy defined
In this exploration, the theme of the economy is broadly defined, namely as the system in which is determined what is scarce, how we produce goods and services, how consumers make choices and how we distribute wealth. During the one-and-a-half-year exploration, various instruments were produced, namely a trend overview, future scenarios, a serious game, and the final publication. These instruments are intended to facilitate the discussion about the future, in other words, to distribute the insights gained.
Trends are the basis for four scenarios
Technological developments are central to this exploration. For example, 3D and 4D printing, digital twins, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, neurotechnology, and blockchain technology. In addition, social trends, for example in the field of demography and geopolitics, are also taken into account. The trends are the basis for four scenarios:
Scenario A: Less is beautiful (2050)
In this scenario, resource scarcity has led to a fragmented world and a longing for the past has led to large-scale behavioral change. Close-knit communities use information technology, 3D printing, big data, blockchain, biorefinery, and autonomous transportation to be as self-sufficient as possible.
Scenario B: Big government (2050)
In this scenario, globalization has continued and strong international institutions are steering towards global sustainability, justice, and the interest of future generations. Advanced communication tools, based on technological developments such as mixed reality, the internet of things, and hologram technology, mean that we are moving less and less and we work together virtually in teams from all over the world.
Scenario C: Survival of the most efficient (2050)
The struggle for scarce resources has led to international tensions and a world of strong regional trading blocs. Highly urbanized, self-sufficient regions are relying on high-tech solutions in response to resource scarcity. Biotechnology, genetic engineering and quantum computing are developing new materials and restoring ecosystems, greatly reducing the pressure on the environment.
Scenario D: I am technology (2050)
In this scenario, global trade increases, and multinationals have much, if not everything, to say in this world. Fully autonomous companies and new jobs and tasks for people are created. We see the emergence of all kinds of applications in the field of human enhancement: people fit themselves into bionic prostheses and brain chips in order to be active for as long as possible and to be able to compete in the global labor market with advanced robots and AI systems.
Serious game: an instrument to sharpen scenario stories
In order to put the future on the agenda and to advise organizations on how to prepare for an uncertain future, STT has developed a serious game on the basis of which they entered into discussions with more than sixty participants from fifteen different organizations about what the future could bring. Executed in the form of a board game, this game is based on the trend overview and the scenarios from the exploration and has participants choose building blocks for a fictional society. Project leader Silke den Hartog: ‘The game is a good tool to initiate discussion about trends and scenarios. We can ‘playfully’ let people experience visions of the future and thus help them prepare for a future full of uncertainty and complexity.’