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  • By 2039, the world will look and feel very different.

  • The rate of change is itself speeding up.

  • And 20 years from now power will have shifted dramatically.

  • So who might be up and who might be down, twenty years from now?

  • Let me take you on a journey of possibles.

  • Up, Africa.

  • A rapidly increasing population could fuel Africa's surging economic growth.

  • With a pool of young, better educated and globally connected workers.

  • But the biggest revolution in Africa might be the spread of vast, super arrays of far cheaper solar panels.

  • To quote one energy guru:

  • "The world will have learnt to put solar panels where the sun actually shines."

  • Also up, China.

  • THE superpower.

  • After cornering many of the worlds vital raw materials, could it now control both its own people and many other countries struggling to repay its loans.

  • Could we see a world where China exerts its influence through movies and music too?

  • But if there are winners, which countries could be losers by 2039?

  • Down, perhaps most of Europe.

  • Financial services and banking will be overwhelmingly driven by AI.

  • So Europe loses much of its global edge.

  • Parents who once urged children to become lawyers and doctors, beg them to become designers, artists, even actors.

  • Anything creative, not easily done by robots.

  • Down but not out, the United States of America.

  • Eclipsed by China and paying a price for getting late to wind and solar.

  • Also down, the Middle East.

  • Largely ignored internationally because no one needs its oil and gas anymore.

  • So what commodities could be driving the future in 2039?

  • Fossil fuels have become the new forbidden fruit.

  • Oil has lost most of its value, alternative fuels plus a collapse in the use of plastics has seen to that.

  • Water, clean water, will be more precious than ever.

  • Water wars have replaced oil wars, along the Nile or any mighty river.

  • Conflicts could break out as states closest to the sea fight those further upstream, accused of taking too much of the water.

  • Data, however, will be king.

  • By 2039, more and more is being bought and sold.

  • Mostly illegally and in secret.

  • All governments will rely on data as THE method of control.

  • Some countries will have followed the Scandinavian lead.

  • By choosing near total transparencyof tax returns, earnings, lifestyles to reduce the secret data threat.

  • And more and more citizens everywhere could be fighting backbecoming data refuseniks.

  • Fed up with the negative effects of social media, will they simply abandon cyber space wherever they can?

  • Minimizing their electronic footprint even reverting to writing and delivering private messages by hand.

By 2039, the world will look and feel very different.

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Which countries will hold the power in 20 years' time? | BBC Ideas

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    Celeste posted on 2019/08/12
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