Jack Uldrich
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A Futurist’s Views on Our Post-CoVid19 World

Posted in Future, Future 15, Futurist, Uncategorized

Dear Readers:

As a futurist, I have been asked by a number of media outlets and popular podcasts to offer some of my early thoughts on the emerging post-CoVid19 world.

As a way to jumpstart your own thinking, I encourage you to read through the list (They are in no particular order) and begin pondering what some of these developments might mean to you and your business.

  • A political revolution in China (Many of its citizens won’t want to go back to a world of dirty, filthy air.)
  • A political revolution in the US (The Republicans essentially passed a version of Universal Basic Income in the $2 trillion stimulus package. Liberals will use this as leverage to fight for other wage and work-related reforms. Just as the 2008 Financial Meltdown led to the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, expect this crisis to lead to some type of political insurgency.)
  • At the macro level, many authoritarian governments will attempt to use the crisis to create a “surveillance state.” On the flip side, others will use the crisis to call for “global solidarity” to address other large problems, including climate change.
  • Political polarization might dissipate as all parties come to see the benefit of working together.
  • There could be a restoration of trust in civic institutions (such as the CDC) and science.
  • Just the Great Depression led to the creation of the Civilian Conservation Corps, this crisis could lead to huge numbers of Americans being put to work on behalf of public infrastructure projects. (One large project could be a “one trillion” tree-planting initiative). 
  • Following only a decade after the “Great Recession” of 2008, this recession/depression will encourage millions to become both more “conscious” consumers and more enthusiastic savers. This trend toward frugality will have a profound effect on the economy’s ability to rebound.
  • Watch for the rise of the “Do-It-Yourself” economy. As people begin to relearn how to cook, preserve food, brew and whiskey at home, and even cut one another’s hair, many businesses will lose a percentage of customers.
  • In the short to near-term (to 2022) federal and state governments will be the primary “engine of consumption.”
  • If the government does not also help small businesses survive the crisis, resent could rage for years and small business owners could switch political allegiances.
  • Any business that expects to go back to “business as usual” needs to disabuse themselves of this idea. We are not going back to anything like normal!
  • Businesses that try to go back to “business as usual” will lose!
  • Expect many technological trends to be accelerated in the near future. Autonomous vehicles, which will be used to make “contact-less” deliveries, could prosper.
  • 3D printing will be transformed as businesses seek to shorten the supply chain.
  • As people tire of Zoom and Skype look for virtual reality and augmented reality to step up their respective games.
  • Advances in gene sequencing and gene editing technology will accelerate as a matter of national security and global necessity.
  • The supply chain will be further reformed as businesses come to appreciate that diversity–and not efficiency–is the most important element of supply chain success.
  • Robotics will advance because “robots don’t get sick” and they won’t infect one another.
  • Drones will continue to improve as the technology is used for everything from surveillance to medical supply deliveries.
  • Renewal energy–and especially solar panels and battery technology–will get a boost as many people want to be able to produce and store their own energy.
  • Artificial intelligence will become an even more powerful tool by helping to detect disease better, faster, and more accurately.
  • Businesses will come to understand survivability is more important than quarterly/annual success. 
  • The world could still experience an economic depression and/or a very long recession (think a decade or more).
  • The “shut-in” economy and “contactless commerce” will grow, and a strange “6-foot separation” economy could emerge.
  • Auto dealerships, for example, could be harmed as many people no longer wish to visit physical car dealerships.
  • Electric Vehicles may become even more popular because people are reluctant to touch gas pumps (which are among the most germ-infected surfaces).
  • Coronavirus will be bad news for malls and physical retail outlets.
  • Restaurants (if they re-open) will only allow half the number of patrons–due to social distancing.
  • Urban agriculture and vertical farms will proliferate as consumers demand that fresh, organic produce be grown as close to them as possible (to reduce the risk of contamination).
  • Sporting events will be sparsely attended for the foreseeable future.
  • Public parks will experience a renaissance as the public relearns the value of open public spaces.
  • Commercial real estate will be hammered as many businesses understand that a lot of work can be done from home. Innovative home remodeling firms will, however, shift to re-purpose garages and spare bedrooms into home offices.
  • The airline industry will consolidate in spite of a massive infusion of government assistance.
  • The hotel industry will experience a number of bankruptcies as industry vacant rates remain low for a long period of time.
  • Home healthcare and telemedicine will rapidly grow.
  • Calls for rural broadband will proliferate because citizens in those communities will need the Internet for online education, telemedicine, and economic development.
  • If rural broadband can be addressed, a rural renaissance is possible because many people who previously felt they needed to be close to their work office will now choose to live (and work from) smaller communities.
  • Election day could become election week or even “election month”.
  • Voting by mail will increase. This, in turn, may lead to an increase in voter turnout.
  • Airports, sporting venues, and even offices could ask to take people’s temperatures before allowing them to enter.
  • Expect a “second pandemic” centered around mental health issues caused by isolation and social distancing.
  • On a more positive note, the world could experience a wave of “Corona-boom babies.”
  • As online education grows, expect a growing number of mediocre colleges and universities to shut down. Perhaps, counter-intuitively, for those college-age students that can afford it, there will be an even greater appreciation of physical classroom/campus experiences.
  • At the K-12 level, society could experience a call for 11-month-a-year school years –with June and July becoming “online” educational months.
  • Globalization will slow down.
  • US domestic supply chains will get stronger and the US will lessen its reliance on China. 
  • We could experience a revival of public parks as people come to better understand their importance.
  • The business world will experience a “digital renaissance” as digital cash quickly becomes the norm.
  • People may have to keep a digital record of vaccines/immunizations on their smartphones to gain admission to public places.
  • The public–and especially politicians–may develop a better appreciation for “Black Swans”–low probability but high impact events. If this could result in significant changes in public policy.
  • A “culture of empathy” could grow as people are better able to put themselves in the shoes of other people.
  • There will be an increased understanding and appreciation of how “interconnected” we are to our neighbors, our communities, and the world.
  • A new paradigm of consciousness–one which embraces the quantum and the material worlds; the mind and the heart; and humankind and nature–could begin to emerge.
  • The crisis is “catapulting us into the future.” The future, however, is ours to determine. We are not passive actors. We can–and will–shape our future.


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