DIGITAL TRENDSPOTTING 2019:1F — The Social Context in Summary

After a brief foreword and a short introduction about the foundation of the digital trendspotting 2019, we have finally reached the insights that last year gave us about the social context behind the digital development ahead, i.e., not taking the positive journey for humanity the last decades for granted, but assessing the impact of political and scientific development on this development last year, and its consequences for economy in the world.

A Good Time for Humanity?

We have, as a starting point for the entire analysis, first seen indications of how the world recently has moved in an increasingly good direction for humanity. Everything with scientific and digital development as a foundation, which has increased literacy and learning to a whole new level.

This has increased positive things such as dramatic efficiency in harvesting, water supply, survival from diseases, female leadership, and the proportion of protected nature and protection status for different species.

The last years development has reduced negative things such as extreme poverty, population increase, childbirth, child mortality, slavery, death penalty, childbirth, child marriage, women’s abuses and nuclear weapons, and certain good things for “mother earth” such as reduced number of hazardous substances and price of solar cells.

This positive development does not have come of itself, but precisely because, through solid trendspotting, one looks ahead to reduce the threats and maximize the opportunities. The greatest impact on all of us right now comes from digital development which is the purpose of the present trendspotting.

As a background to the digital trendspotting, the political and scientific developments in 2018 were highlighted here, and its consequences for the world economy during the year.

The Consequences of Politics this Year

While we have seen great development for humans in recent decades, 2018 has offered certain worries that, in the worst case scenario, could inhibit this trend, or even turn it over. We have politically seen how APAC is increasingly taking over, where we find a Jinping who now has taken total control “for life” over the world’s largest dictatorship, balanced by a democratic India becoming increasingly humanitarian, and a South and North Korea at least talking to each other.

Despite Asia’s increasingly strong influence, it is still America with Trump and his whims that not only received by far most media space but received an immense bigger number of online searches — 10 fold higher than neither Asian or European leaders — with trade war and termination of agreements on disarmament, human rights, environment etc. In the EMEA on the other side of the globe, Putin continues to take power and rattles with weapons, Saudi and Turkey also rattling, while in the middle we find the swaying 3M with a Merkel departing, a May who misses her contract for Brexit and a Macron attacked by yellow vests.

With a politically more powerful APAC, an increasingly turbulent Americas and increasingly swaying EMEA in the baggage, we have seen how the conflicts during the year were stained by Putin and his vassals suffocating not only terrorism but all rebellions in Syria, while Trump threatened to fail peshmergas in Iraq and leave Afghanistan open to Putin’s invites. We have seen how the UN, on one hand, ended the horrific Eritrean-Ethiopian war, while the war in Yemen worsened catastrophically.

For the environment, we saw an even worse development, where everything points to the earth not surviving the current trend towards doubling the UN’s goal of warming, with the best but insufficient efforts from European countries and India, and the worst environmental records from Saudi Arabia, Iran and the United States.

The Consequences of Science this Year

As far as the scientific development concerns, we have seen how Asian countries are increasingly catching up the west. For those leaning against the western world’s continued dominance, this is risky considering how the first section showed how the positive trends for humanity have been very much depending on exactly the scientific development.

Not least, this applies to Asia’s galloping development of today’s two most important areas. First in biotech where the crucial but sensitive breakthrough in the genetic science taken in the United States 16 years ago, in China this year received its first applications on both monkeys and now human babies.

Within the old race area, the space industry, China and the United States are now fighting about the 1st place, even though today it is primarily within infotech that the biggest battle stands. Here we have seen the struggle between China and Sweden over the telecom services for 5G during the year, while there is an intense battle between the US and China to win the race for 5G smartphones in 2019. As for the military and economic power so vital quantum computer, so far,

the USA is leading and Europe holds Cern as its trump card, though China now is investing 25–50 times more resources.

As for the digital development itself, the year has meant nothing less than an explosion. While the media flooded us with news about GDPR, sporadic tech lash and swaying stock prices, it is overwhelmed by the digital consumer usage in practice. This usage includes for the first time more than half of the world’s population online, who are online half of the day’s awake hours — where it is now the mobile that rules, apps are invariably the biggest use, Asia has by far most users, social media has taken over as a channel, while influencers are the next big power to count on.

The Results for the Economy this Year

This resulted in an overall economy with the worst stock prices for larger and more traditional companies in ten years. If we instead look at the younger growth companies, China has now run past the United States in a number of unicorns, where Europe is still taking inspiration from the latter despite the enormous results of the former. All with an effect on the average GDP growth of 3.7%, which is again decreased by the weak growth from Europe + Americas but continues to be strengthened by, above all, APAC + Africa which developed its economy by more than twice as much.

The big question now is what all this has had for consequences on the digital explosion coming up this year? And what effects it will have for you and me as individuals and society? More about this in the upcoming sections of the digital trendspotting, divided into three crucial digital parts — first starting here :)