In the past I have written that as a futurist, it sometimes feels like I live in a state of déjà vu. I spend a lot of time researching and looking into the future to develop the forecasts and trends that I write and speak about. I experience them, see them, and have varying degrees of certainty when I publish or present them.
Since 2011 began, so many of the forecasts and trends I predicted over the last four years are coming true, I feel as if I'm in an almost constant state of déjà vu. Now, as I spend some 22 hours traveling from Chicago to Singapore, scanning stacks of periodicals from around the world, this feeling is amplified.
I will write a lot in the coming weeks and months about all these forecasts and trends. As a futurist, I should be judged in part on how accurate I am, so it is indeed gratifying that many of the events/trends I predicted have become reality in 2011. The purpose of all these upcoming columns is to be able to point to actual events as the manifestations of what I have been speaking and writing about since 2006, and 2007, when I wrote The Shift Age. This will help explain the truly transformative time we are now entering. In a few years, the world will look quite different from what it did in 2010. The early evidence is everywhere in 2011.
Here are some of the trends and forecasts I have made, listed with the events that are now making them real for the world and a déjà vu experience for me flying at 39,000 feet.
-Humanity would not globally exit the Great Reorganizational Recession of 2007-2010 until 2011.
Clearly, we are slowly and tentatively exiting the reorganizational recession this year.
-Accelerating Electronic Connectedness, one of the three fundamental forces of the Shift Age, would manifest itself in part with great political upheavals as connected individuals blow down the walled gardens of ignorance and political tyranny.
Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Libya as the beginning. The nervousness in Yemen, Syria, Saudi Arabia and China is palpable.
-Oil would trade in the $90-$120 per barrel range for most of 2011 and would cross $100 a barrel in the first half of the year.
As of this writing, the price of Brent crude is $104 a barrel and $94 on the NYNEX
-The warming of the planet, climate change and increasing abnormal weather would have a profound upward effect on the price of food commodities, with possible dire economic consequences.
Corn, wheat, and rice futures are way up compared with 2009-'10, and current estimates are that some 40 million people in developing countries will fall from the middle class this year because they have to spend the vast majority of their household income on food.
-Work and Place will separate.
Cisco's Telepresence suites and those of its competitors are being built around the world in ever-increasing numbers; Skype just came out with group video service; and as of last year, more than 50% of IBM employees worked from home.
-High Tech/High Touch – Technology will become ever more tactile and personal.
I checked in at the airport yesterday with a touch screen, used my iPhone at the airport, and my wife is playing a scrabble game and surfing the Internet with her fingers on our iPad. Sometimes it looks like people have a deeper personal relationship with their touch-screen devices than with the humans around them.
-Volatility in metal commodities and global stock markets will be the constant for the next few years.
Google or Bing the last six months of trending for global stock markets and the futures price of practically any metal.
-States and Municipalities would face and declare bankruptcy.
Just look at and read the media every day – a very serious stress on our country.
The above is just a partial list of the forecasts I've made – the ones that everyone can now see, not just this futurist. Déjà vu all over again! Watch this blog, my Free Newsletter, and the Shift Age Trend Report for deeper discourses in the coming weeks and months.