Five Predictions

One of my favourite pass times is to medicate myself then see what i can come up with.

I feel particularly inspired right now off the back of Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s Black Swan.

Most of my ideas I either immediately forget, like a cruel cerebral version of snapchat, or they are so boring they could put a crack addict to sleep.

These are the ones that made it.

  1. The digital advertising industry is unsustainable and will suffer a correction. Malware bots now make up between 15–20% of all online ad viewers and is going up all the time. Think about the hilarious situation where the videos and ad content are constantly being algorithmically adapted to the bots automated habits. There is a human-less feedback loop that literally destroys economic value on every iteration. Ad blockers and customers losing patients with the relentless ‘sell’ based on their data will compound these technical challenges. The digital advertising businesses know this and are diversifying but it won’t be quick enough.
  2. People will pay more for recommendation systems than they will for the actual product. Digitalised production methods combined with super cheap routes to market are making online media (like music and video) so cheap that they will be essentially free. This is great for consumers wallets but terrible for their time — how to you filter through all that noise. Current recommender systems are not only poor, but contribute to power laws, resulting in the top 2% of artists getting 98% of the sales. If you don’t invest in a good recommender system then you will be listening to ‘artists’ like Justin Beaber for the rest of your life.
  3. Countries will begin to experiment with ‘pure’ democratic systems rather then the ‘representative’ democracies we currently adhere to. The current system was the only viable option given the administrative impossibility of getting many people to vote on many policies, but the internet/blockchain/trend toward crowd power makes regularly voting on many issues relatively easy to service. This paradigm shift would require an equally significant shift in information availability and correctness — fake news would be catastrophic in this world. Don’t worry Sir Tim has a plan
  4. Despite most of the panic being around overpopulation, the world is about to enter agreat population shrinkage’. It took humankind 13 years to add its 7 billionth person. That’s longer than the 12 years it took to add the 6 billionth — the first time in human history that interval had grown. (The 2 billionth, 3 billionth, 4 billionth, and 5 billionth took 123, 33, 14, and 13 years, respectively.) In other words, the rate of global population growth has slowed. And it’s expected to keep slowing.
  5. There will be a Globalisation retrenchment, not caused by right wing political populism, but due to the ‘re-shoring’ of manufacturing. The great globalisation of the last 30 years has been driven by labour cost arbitrage [outsourcing labour intensive production to where labour costs are low] which is becoming less attractive with the advancement of robotics and 3d printing. This will have significant social impact in countries where governments will no longer be able to pull their people out of poverty by offering cheap labour i.e most of the worlds population.

I know right!?