In this article I summarize some of the major points made by Mauro F. Guillén, (G.) who teaches at Penn’s Wharton School of Business and qualifies as an international expert on global market trends. His recent book is: “2030: How Today’s Biggest Trends Will Collide and Reshape The Future of Everything,” (N.Y.: St. Martin’s Press, 2020). I outline three points:
(1) Women around the globe will be tomorrow’s leaders. That’s already a work in process. In the U.S., women get more undergraduate and graduate degrees than do men. At Auburn University there’s only 3 percent more male students than female students, a gender ratio of 51 percent men to 49 percent women. Women in 2015 had more than 50 percent of the wealth globally, and in the U.S. over 40 percent of women who are married make more money than their spouses.
Women invest in a different way than do men, since women have a different perspective when it comes to the workplace. Though the number of women who are innovative or entrepreneurs is increasing, they are not quite on an equal footing with men, though they are closing the gap with men because of women’s new role in society in general and the economy in particular. By 2030, almost 50 percent of women around the world will launch new business ventures.
(2) For decades, we in the U.S. have struggled over the problem of immigration. G. argues that immigrants create jobs, not take them away. How so? Immigrants help the economy in a big way since they wind up being entrepreneurs. In this connection, think of Facebook, Intel, Google, Teleman Linked In. They were founded (or co-founded) by immigrants and have changed the U.S. and global economies for the better.
Immigrants are innovators because many have come to the U.S. as undergraduate or graduate students and have studied engineering and the hard sciences. That’s true of Auburn University, where students from various countries come to study subjects like fisheries, engineering and the biomedical sciences.
(3) Technology will transform our entire way of life. By 2030, we’ll see billions of robots, computers and sensors in homes and factories. Artificial intelligence (AI) does things that the human brain can accomplish, e.g., making decisions, recognizing speech, and visual perception.
New 3-D printers print very thin sheets in sequence. They form a shape in three dimensions by placing them on top of each other. The technical word for this is “additive manufacturing,” which reduces waste since it uses only what’s needed to make plastic parts and printed tissue for transplants. Branch Technologies, a company in Chattanooga, built a bandshell at a park in Nashville using a huge, free-form 3-D printer.
Experts say that 3-D printing will revolutionize the exploration of space, e.g., when the U.S. eventually goes to Mars, instead of taking equipment and components in a rocket from the Earth, a 3-D printer will use the materials on Mars for everything it makes.
Virtual reality (VR) goggles are extremely useful in terms of performing surgery. They also work to stimulate motor functions for those with lesions in their brain. They can be used to stimulate one’s nervous system and use neuroplasticity (the ability of the neural networks in the brain to change via reorganization and growth, such as learning a new ability), to stimulate cognitive and motor functions. Psychologists may use VR goggles to deal with people who have vertigo, fear of heights, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Nanotechnologies are useful to slow down climate change. How so? The clothing industry puts out roughly 8 percent of all carbon emissions on Earth. That’s more carbon released into the environment than maritime shipping and international flights put together.
Nanotechnologies are capable of manipulating matter on the atomic, molecular and supermolecule levels. Imagine if they can make particles as small as one-billionth of an inch. Hence, clothing factories can turn out materials that are cheaper, stronger and more friendly to the environment than regular materials or garments.
Finally, nanotechnologies are capable of making matter that can change its density, conductivity, shape and optical properties as they respond to sensors and signals. One coat or sweater made in this way may provide relief from the heat in summer and warmth in winter, similar to the pores on the skin of humans.
Matter that’s programmable could change its density, flexibility, and shape the wings of an airplane. In so doing, the wings would be more efficient energy-wise and simultaneously arrest the rate of climate change. This may be the miracle wave of the future.
Richard Penaskovic is an Emeritus Professor at Auburn University. His writings have appeared in the Birmingham News, Columbus- Ledger Enquirer, Montgomery Advertiser and online by Informed Comment and Politurco.