We are approaching the middle of a decade in which we have already witnessed significant global transformation. Wars, pandemics, economic turmoil and shifts in political power both within nations and internationally mean the world is very different than it was at the start of 2020.
These megatrends will continue to reshape society, and we can only expect the pace of change to accelerate. For many, environmental concerns are clearly at the top of the agenda, and the need to mitigate the impact of the climate emergency will lead to profound changes.
Both powerful and often frightening new technologies The fact that we are presented with the potential to bring significant benefits to society, while causing unprecedented harm, will be a catalyst for further transformations.
With that in mind, here’s a look at what I believe will be the most important global trends in 2024. These are issues that will impact the lives of everyone on the planet, and how they manifest will have profound implications for the second half of the year. the decade and beyond.
The rise of intelligent machines
In 2024, artificial intelligence (AI) is part of everyday life and virtually no sector or aspect of our lives is spared. While this undoubtedly spurs innovation and creates efficiencies in areas as diverse as healthcare, space travel, and ecological conservation, it also creates a great deal of fear and uncertainty. The threat to jobs is real – although it will undoubtedly create new opportunities, just as it will create layoffs. Some also fear that handing over control of our lives to algorithms could exacerbate divisions and inequalities within society. The truth is, no one knows where the AI revolution will take us as a society or as a species, but our actions in 2024 will be essential to putting us on the path to a successful outcome.
Climate change is increasingly becoming a political issue
If we follow the science, it’s clear that the urgency to avoid the catastrophic effects of climate change is growing rapidly as we approach 2024. We often rely on technology to play a crucial role, and innovations like that clean energy and carbon capture will be leveraged. part of the solution. However, the willingness of individuals and organizations to take responsibility, as well as how the political and economic trends discussed here will play out, will likely be even more critical. How much suffering people will be willing to bear to reduce their environmental footprint will become an increasingly controversial issue in politics. 2024 represents a crucial opportunity to determine whether there is the will to make the changes and difficult decisions needed to avoid very severe shocks in the near future.
Elections will determine the course of democracy in the second half of the decade
Elections offer an opportunity for change and 2024 will see leadership contests in a number of countries where a shift in the balance of power could have profound global implications. Citizens from the United States, European Union, India, United Kingdom and Russia will be among those heading to the polls (with varying degrees of interest). opposition to the powers that be.) In many of these countries, there is increasing polarization between progressive and conservative, or nationalist and internationalist, parties and voters. Victory is likely to encourage the victors – regardless of which side they are on – to believe they have a mission to enact further social change. Whichever way the cookie crumbles, it will likely impact the course of every other trend on this list in 2024 and throughout the second half of the decade.
Turbulent times for economies
The continued slowdown in global economic growth is planned for 2024, which threatens to have widespread impacts on many aspects of society. Difficult economic times typically result in governments choosing to cut spending on public services and services, job cuts, reduced living standards, and increased civil unrest. Slow growth also threatens national and international efforts to achieve net-zero carbon targets, which could have serious consequences. The possibility of a recession in the United States, slowing growth in China and ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Israel are all factors to consider. At the same time, the growth of emerging countries, notably Brazil, India, Mexico and Turkey, will lead us into an era where we will see drastic changes in the overall balance of global economic power.
The evolution of work
Changes in the way we work will continue to impact many aspects of our lives and our society. Although some companies are implementing return-to-office policies, remote and hybrid work remains at much higher levels than before the pandemic. This has the effect of improving global mobility, with workers no longer forced to live in areas close to employment hubs. However, it can also lead to increased social isolation and increased social cohesion. Managing this change will be a significant challenge for organizations and individuals in 2024.
The generation gap
The generation gap in wealth and property will continue to drive global and social change in 2024. According to research carried out in 2023, the median wealth of millennials (born between the early 1980s and late 1990s) is less than half that of baby boomers (born between their 50s and 60s) at the same age. This could potentially lead to reduced social mobility as well as political polarization, leading to the risk that disenfranchised voters will be attracted to populist or extremist political parties.
Urbanization in progress
By 2050, the UN projects that 66 percent of the world’s population will live in urban areas – up from 56 percent in 2022. While this has the potential to boost economic growth and prosperity, it also brings other challenges, such as overpopulation, pollution and the increasing cost of living. Dealing with the impact of this huge change on many people’s lifestyles will be a priority for governments and industry in the years to come. Resources will also be needed to mitigate the effects of the brain drain on those left behind, many of whom are already underserved by essential services like electricity, healthcare and online connectivity.
The term culture war refers to an ongoing polarization of society, often characterized by left versus right or liberal versus conservative debate and largely waged via social media as well as what is increasingly called traditional media. The impact of this on society is clearly due to the emergence of the Internet as a tool that can be used to find information, including disinformation and propaganda. Much has been written in recent years about the echo chamber effect of online discourse in an ecosystem governed by algorithms. Increasingly, we are seeing audiences biased toward content that may confirm their biases while stoking feelings of injustice or inequality. Issues like immigration, conspiracy theories, and social justice stir up passionate feelings on both sides of the debate, but these are not mere chatter. Controversial opinions disseminated via social media are increasingly influencing political policy, as shown by rise of populist parties and policies all over the world, and even stir up extremist terrorism.
Gone are the days when education was reserved for young people. As work evolves, so do the learning models needed to prepare for work. The speed of technological innovation means opportunities are opening up in sectors that didn’t even exist when much of today’s workforce was educated. In advanced countries, there is a shift toward lifelong learning, in part enabled by the emergence of online and distance learning technologies. Employers will increasingly recognize the importance of retraining and upskilling valuable workers, especially as longer lifespans and later retirements lead to a more competitive workforce. old. In emerging economies, we will see a growing demand for teachers as more of the population moves out of poverty. Once again, new education models will be needed to serve citizens in crowded areas. megacities as well as children in isolated rural areas.
Migration and movement
Between 1970 and 2020, the number of people living in a country other than the one in which they were born more than triple. In 2024, some will be refugees fleeing war, others will be economic migrants seeking a better life, and still others will be seeking to escape to parts of the world where life is not yet too disrupted by rising temperatures and sea levels. Economies will continue to benefit from an influx of workers, most of them young, able-bodied and active. And fears about the pressures that could be placed on public services and services, or the impact of new arrivals on indigenous populations, will continue to fuel political divisions. In advanced economies, the provision of jobs, visas and education opportunities will increasingly be used to fill the skills gap and in trade negotiations with countries with emerging consumer markets.
You can learn more about future technology and business trends in my books, The future Internet: how the metaverse, Web 3.0 and blockchain will transform business and society, Future Skills: The 20 Skills and Competencies Everyone Needs to Succeed in a Digital World And Business trends in practicewhich won the 2022 Business Book of the Year award. And don’t forget to subscribe my newsletter and follow me X (Twitter), LinkedInAnd Youtube to learn more about future trends in business and technology.