This is the world of 2030
Finweek English|21 January 2021
Space, food, energy and institutions – the world is on track for big changes.
Johan Fourie

historians are good forecasters. They are good not because they possess some original insight into the future but because they are smart in their choice of time horizon: instead of speculating about life over the next few months, they prefer to predict the distant future. It buys them more degrees of freedom and less oversight. This is because humans tend to overestimate change in the short term but vastly underestimate change in the long run.

So, taking a leaf out of the historian’s playbook, let me try my hand not at predicting where we will be at the end of 2021, but rather the world of 2030. What could happen in ten years?

Space travel, for one. SpaceX will be the world’s largest company in 2030, rivalled by Amazon’s space spin-off. A permanently settled colony will be operational on Mars. Don’t expect large numbers of inhabitants yet, though. SpaceX and their BRIC equivalents will have small settlements inhabited by geologists, biologists, engineers and psychologists, building a template for a future society. We will see the first tentative steps towards Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ dream to outsource all heavy industry to space.

But space won’t only be about life beyond Earth. Space technologies could reduce the impact of natural disasters and connect those in remote parts of the world to high-speed internet. A new report by the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (Unoosa) is adamant that spacetech is key to achieve the UN’s ambitious sustainable development goals by 2030.

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