Future Predictions


future-technologyby Robert M. Goldman

In 1998, Kodak had 170,000 employees and sold 85% of all photo paper worldwide. Within just a few years, their business model disappeared and they went bankrupt. What happened to Kodak will happen in a lot of industries in the next 10 years – and most people don’t see it coming. Did you think in 1998 that 3 years later you would never take pictures on paper film again?

Yet digital cameras were invented in 1975. The first ones only had 10,000 pixels, but followed Moore’s law. So as with all exponential technologies, it was a disappointment for a long time, before it became way superior and got mainstream in only a few short years. It will now happen with Artificial Intelligence, health, autonomous and electric cars, education, 3D printing, agriculture and jobs.

Welcome to the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Welcome to the Exponential Age.

Software will disrupt most traditional industries in the next 5-10 years.

Uber is just a software tool, they don’t own any cars, and are now the biggest taxi company in the world.

Airbnb is now the biggest hotel company in the world, although they don’t own any properties.

Artificial Intelligence: Computers become exponentially better in understanding the world. This year, a computer beat the best Go player in the world, 10 years earlier than expected.

In the US, young lawyers already don’t get jobs. Because of IBM Watson, you can get legal advice (so far for more or less basic stuff) within seconds, with 90% accuracy compared with 70% accuracy when done by humans. So if you study law, stop immediately. There will be 90% fewer lawyers in the future, only specialists will remain.

Watson already helps nurses diagnosing cancer, 4 time more accurate than human nurses. Facebook now has a pattern recognition software that can recognize faces better than humans. By 2030, computers will become more intelligent than humans.

Autonomous Cars: In 2018 the first self-driving cars will appear for the public. Around 2020, the complete industry will start to be disrupted. You don’t want to own a car anymore. You will call a car with your phone, it will show up at your location and drive you to your destination. You will not need to park it, you only pay for the driven distance and can be productive while driving. Our kids will never get a driver’s license and will never own a car.

It will change the cities, because we will need 90-95% fewer cars for that. We can transform former parking space into parks. 1.2 million people die each year in car accidents worldwide. We now have one accident every 100,000 km, with autonomous driving that will drop to one accident in 10 million km. That will save a million lives each year.

Most car companies may become bankrupt. Traditional car companies try the evolutionary approach and just build a better car, while tech companies (Tesla, Apple, Google) will do the revolutionary approach and build a computer on wheels. I spoke to a lot of engineers from Volkswagen and Audi; they are completely terrified of Tesla.

Insurance Companies will have massive trouble because without accidents, the insurance will become 100x cheaper. Their car insurance business model will disappear.

Real estate will change. Because if you can work while you commute, people will move further away to live in a more beautiful neighborhood.

Electric cars won’t become mainstream until 2020. Cities will be less noisy because all cars will run on electric. Electricity will become incredibly cheap and clean: Solar production has been on an exponential curve for 30 years, but you can only now see the impact. Last year, more solar energy was installed worldwide than fossil. The price for solar will drop so much that all coal companies will be out of business by 2025.

With cheap electricity comes cheap and abundant water. Desalination now only needs 2kWh per cubic meter. We don’t have scarce water in most places, we only have scarce drinking water. Imagine what will be possible if anyone can have as much clean water as he wants, for nearly no cost.

Health: There will be companies that will build a medical device (called the “Tricorder” from Star Trek) that works with your phone, which takes your retina scan, your blood sample and you breathe into it.

It then analyses 54 biomarkers that will identify nearly any disease. It will be cheap, so in a few years everyone on this planet will have access to world class medicine, nearly for free.

3D printing: The price of the cheapest 3D printer came down from $18,000 to $400 within 10 years. In the same time, it became 100 times faster. All major shoe companies started 3D printing shoes.

Spare airplane parts are already 3D printed in remote airports. The space station now has a printer that eliminates the need for the large number of spare parts they used to have in the past.

At the end of this year, new smart phones will have 3D scanning possibilities. You can then 3D scan your feet and print your perfect shoe at home.

In China, they already 3D printed a complete 6-story office building. By 2027, 10% of everything that’s being produced will be 3D printed.

Business Opportunities: If you think of a niche you want to go in, ask yourself: “in the future, do you think we will have that?” and if the answer is yes, how can you make that happen sooner?

If it doesn’t work with your phone, forget the idea. And any idea designed for success in the 20th century is doomed in to failure in the 21st century.

Work: 70-80% of jobs will disappear in the next 20 years. There will be a lot of new jobs, but it is not clear if there will be enough new jobs in such a small time.

Agriculture: There will be a $100 agricultural robot in the future. Farmers in 3rd world countries can then become managers of their field instead of working all days on their fields.

Aeroponics will need much less water. The first Petri dish produced veal is now available and will be cheaper than cow-produced veal in 2018. Right now, 30% of all agricultural surfaces is used for cows. Imagine if we don’t need that space anymore.

There are several startups that will bring insect protein to the market shortly. It contains more protein than meat. It will be labeled as “alternative protein source” (because most people still reject the idea of eating insects).

There is an app called “moodies” which can already tell in which mood you are. Until 2020 there will be apps that can tell by your facial expressions if you are lying. Imagine a political debate where it’s being displayed when they are telling the truth and when not.

Bitcoin will become mainstream this year and might even become the default reserve currency.

Longevity: Right now, the average life span increases by 3 months per year. Four years ago, the life span used to be 79 years, now it’s 80 years. The increase itself is increasing and by 2036, there will be more than one year increase per year. So we all might live for a long long time, probably way more than 100.

Education: The cheapest smart phones are already at $10 in Africa and Asia. Until 2020, 70% of all humans will own a smart phone. That means, everyone has the same access to world class education.

Dr. Robert M. Goldman MD, PhD, DO, FAASP has spearheaded the development of numerous international medical organizations and corporations.

This article was submitted by a third-party with the permission of the author


About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

Related posts

11 thoughts on “Future Predictions”

  1. Tia Will

    Work: 70-80% of jobs will disappear in the next 20 years. There will be a lot of new jobs, but it is not clear if there will be enough new jobs in such a small time”

    I would not venture whether or not the numbers are correct. But I believe that the trend is clear. With this in mind, remind me why we should not even be considering a UBI, or some other means of guaranteeing the  ability to meet the necessities of life without necessarily having what we have traditionally considered “a job” outside the home ?

    Taking only my own field of expertise into account. We are still largely reliant on the traditional in office doctor’s appointment for exam, diagnosis, treatment and follow up to ensure anticipated outcome. But we have moved very rapidly to a model in which the appointment is necessary only for a condition that requires either touch for evaluation  such as a clinical breast exam or some kind of procedure such as an Nexplanon implantation. Other types of consultations are now frequently occurring by phone, by video visit, or on line. Significantly more than 1/2 of my follow ups are now done by telephone or electronic message where as as recently as 5 years ago, I would have been seeing this patients in the office. This trend will decrease the need for doctors, but more impactful still will be the near complete elimination of the need for front office personnel, medical assistants and ultimately large medical office buildings as the number of in office visits declines while the number of electronic visits increases.

    1. quielo

      Because the future is destined to be dystopian with or without a UBI so why not keep the money? My money is on infectious disease to save us as it has so many times in the past.

  2. Tia Will


    Because the future is destined to be dystopian with or without a UBI so why not just keep the money ? “

    I do not share your view that the future will inevitably be dystopian. If we were to recognize that not all work now is compensated according to its actual value to the society and choose to “compensate” or provide for all individuals, I can easily see a way forward that would not be “dystopian”.

    For example, why should the person who either chooses to or is forced by circumstances stay home with an ill or incapacitated family member not receive the means to live on automatically ?  Why should the individual who chooses to stay home and raise children or care for an elderly parent not have enough to live on ?  We have arbitrarily decided to follow a model in which every family is assumed to have a primary “bread winner” and everyone else is supposed to be able to live off what that individual makes. Our current model clearly is not supporting this model, and this is clearly a matter of choice. There is nothing set in stone that states that we must continue with this outmoded system.

    My money is on infectious disease to save us as it has so many times in the past.”

    This implies to me that you believe that increased population will be the existential crisis from which we need saving. I disagree. What has been demonstrated is that as the likelihood that a child will live to adulthood, the birth rate in a society drops significantly with one important caveat. The women of that society must have some say over the frequency, timing and choice of partner for sexual activity. This would require a major change in attitude to achieve. We now have one additional benefit that we did not have during past crises. That is the presence of reversible highly effective contraception. What could possibly save us from the next existential disaster is the ability to choose to have fewer children thus ensuring a higher living standard for all. This of course would also require being willing to consider some redistribution of resources which brings us full circle to your questions of “why not just keep the money” ?

    My answer would be, because it is not only unjust, but also ineffective in meeting long term human needs if we are indeed to survive as a species.


    1. quielo

      The future Dr. Goldman predicts will certainly be dystopian and I have no idea what is coming. They used to say that the labs of the future would have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man’s job is to feed the dog and the dog’s job is to prevent the man from touching the machines. The idea that we have most of the population with nothing to do is very concerning. China has something on the order of 200,000,000 itinerant construction workers and much of China’s economic economic policy is driven by the fear of having 200,000,000 unemployed itinerant construction workers.

      If you look at our own society segments where people do not work and instead rely on government aid it does not give much reason for optimism.

      I do believe that “that increased population will be the existential crisis from which we need saving”. 100%. As a model I will use our friends the bacterial colony.



      “During the death phase, the number of dead or dying bacterial cells begins to outnumber the new ones. Again, this can be because of limited resources (food), because of waste production, or because of other changes in the environment around the bacteria. Cells in the bacterial colony will die off until there are few enough of them to survive on what’s nearby, at which point they will start to cycle back to the first phase and begin the process all over again.”


      Limited resources, waste production and changes in the environment, sound familiar?


    2. Topcat

      What could possibly save us from the next existential disaster is the ability to choose to have fewer children thus ensuring a higher living standard for all.

      I’m betting on the existential disaster.

  3. Tia Will


    The future Dr. Goldman predicts will certainly be dystopian”

    I am unclear why you believe this to be the case. True, prevention of a dystopia would involve embracing a totally new paradigm, but I do not see that as an impossibility. I can see just as easily that freed from the need to “work outside the home”, the majority of the population could devote itself to their own true passions whether that is art, music, sports, care for other humans….I see the possibilities as endless. I see this freedom as potentially very liberating for the human spirit. As opposed to millions not “having anything to do”, I see this as the opportunity for millions of people to have the opportunity to do what they love the most rather than having to devote most of their working hours to something that they may not care about at all just to stay alive and support their family.

    Limited resources, waste production and changes in the environment, sound familiar?”

    This absolutely sounds familiar. But unlike with the bacterial colony, we have the ability to recognize our situation as both individuals and as groups and the ability to choose different strategies rather than doubling down on the destructive models of the past.


    1. quielo



      ” I can see just as easily that freed from the need to “work outside the home”, the majority of the population could devote itself to their own true passions whether that is art, music, sports, care for other humans….I see the possibilities as endless.”


      Apparently your worldview was informed by repetitions of “Big Rock Candy Mountain”. I am somewhat more negative in outlook. Anyway one good virus will make it a moot point.

  4. Matthew

    Did somebody mention to Dr. Goldman that life expectancy actually dropped this year?

    This reminds me of something I read back in 2000 proclaiming the end of shopping at grocery stores… that basically there would soon only be delivery and drive through groceries because of the internet, and that this would happen very quickly.

    Sadly, Dr. Goldman has failed to consider how all the rent seekers in our society will slow these processes down. Either way, it’s nice to see someone offering optimism.

  5. Frankly

    Sounds like someone just finished reading the book “Bold”.   Highly recommended… especially for those with a stasis mindset.

    I do see a need for policies to help business choose human labor over software and machines.  It will be the new form of social spending as we learn that most people cannot get to self-actualization without meaningful work and a career path.  Robots doing the work while we all lounge around collecting our UB checks isn’t going to lead to a successful working utopia that liberals believe.

    For example, we need more human service providers that speak English well.  So government assistance might be necessary to help companies choose them over robots that do the job.

    1. quielo

      Pyramids have worked in the past to absorb excess human capacity. I suspect the new administration would find pyramids to be an attractive infrastructure project.

      1. Frankly

        I think there will be some of that… but bridges, etc.

        I think we need to study the social cost of an increased number of unemployed people and then determine what we should spend to counter the negative effects.   We only have to look at our black urban areas for the data.  Give government services to the people that cannot or will not work, and then look what happens.

        Here we are in that less than hair’s-width section of historical existence where the “struggles” we humans face are mostly psychological and emotional.  Look back over the centuries, and if you are not a God created people 6000 years ago creationist, then it is clear that we have not been prepared well for that type of struggle.  I think we need to work.  We need to be challenged to create for ourselves and satisfy most of our own needs.  We don’t do well jumping over the lower-level needs having those things provided by others (government) and then pretend we can be self-actualized.

        In other words… robots can certainly take the work from us, but we will need to replace it with something else like The Hunger Games or else we will devolve into some species of declining humanoids.

        I know too many young people that are dying inside because they don’t have enough meaningful pursuits available to them.  Most directionless young people find themselves through work.  And I see a lot of people that think they are satisfied in direction gaining multiple advanced degrees, but then lack common sense because it isn’t a natural path of human struggle that we have evolved yet to absorb.   The Giver really is just a novel.

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
Sign up for