Turning 20 in the age of uncertainty

I’m excited. You know why?

Tomorrow, I’m turning 20 in a world when the future has never been more interesting.

First of all, the number of options open to a 20 year old like me is staggeringly high compared to my parents.

Second of all, these options are only going to increase. In the day I turn 20, 650,000 people will gain access to the internet for the first time. That makes almost 4.5 billion internet users worldwide. A great number of these people will create new markets, new companies, new industries, new career pathways, new product categories, and new technological breakthroughs that will no doubt have an impact on my life.

Considering the current state of the world, you might be tempted to call the era we live in the Age of the Internet. But I think that’s missing the point. The biggest impact of the internet on the world so far has been rapid, consistent, and unpredictable disruption. More accurately, we are living in the Age of Uncertainty.

These days, the only thing you can predict about the world is that the future will be very different.

So, to celebrate my 20th Birthday, I’ve decided to make this post into a bunch of predictions about the future of the world and myself. Think of it like a reverse time-capsule!

Here are a few big things I can be pretty certain will happen in my working lifetime:

The good thing is, none of these things scare me too much. A lot of them are pretty exciting to consider.

But the most interesting parts of the future lie where I can’t see. When making predictions about the future, the unknown is often more important than the known.

Here are some things that might happen in my lifetime:

That doesn’t sound like a very positive future to you?

Well, that is partially true. Whatever changes you see in the future, you can be assured some of them will have very negative consequences. This has always been true.

But the above possibilities for the next 40, 50, 60 years is bloody interesting from the passive observer’s point of view. If you thought the Bachelor NZ was the best reality T.V. show ever, just wait until you watch the documentaries of 2100.

If the shit really hits the fan, I can always walk into the bush and join the Wilderpeople. Hopefully they’ll still have Wi-Fi so I can read this blog post.