Predicting the future (because I’m, bored)

When you’re devoting much of your time on stuff like independent game development, it’s very easy to have a myopic view of the world. So to relax a bit from being an insignificant indie gamedev, I’m going to try thinking of something else besides video games. By predicting the future…very poorly and insignificantly.

Niches will be more important, while general public will become a less viable market.

There’s two reasons I suspect niches will become more important: first the recent successful startups in practically every field I know of have been capitalizing on smaller, more devoted niches. Second, I’m seeing that the advent of internet and smartphones has caused a lot of younger people to favor exceptionalism somewhat more than their originating country’s culture. I suspect the newer generation prefers working with tools and comfort that feels like it was made for them than what’s popular. This will inevitably chew away “general public” as a market, forcing a lot of bigger companies to create different variations of the same thing to cater each niche.

In other words, the next generation market will heavily depend on style and identity. The shift to this personalization age will be a slow one, however, since the only way a startup can grow from their niche is to aim towards general public. Personally, I suspect (and hope) that the market will slowly fragment, causing “the general public” to shrink.  Until, that is….

Everything will be automated.  Yes, even art.

It’s a historical constant that making any job easier for the general household stays and improves lives.  So when the next set of automation, either with cooking, sanitation, material collection, etc. rolls, you bet that’s going to remain for a long, long time.  Going along the same line of thinking as the last segment, automation will first aim towards niches, then push themselves into the general public with customization options.  Should they succeed hitting the general public, these companies will be able to hit a wide range of niches merely by adding more customization options, making their product personalizable for nearly everyone.

Not only will this inflate the size of “the general public” again, it will actually make competition less viable.  In fact, at the point automation becomes a real thing, I suspect monopolies will rule the market (at least, in the Windows vs Mac level of “monopoly”), and formations of new companies, including art studios, stagnate.

At least in the US, defense and law enforcement spendings will decrease, and public service will increase. This will be true for most first world countries as well.

Simply put, war and violence are at an all-time low, and will continue to decrease for nearly every country.  Technically, I suspect there will be a bottom to that curve, but I don’t see that happening specifically on a global scale for quite a while.  Anyway, things like defense and law enforcement (police, for example) spendings will have to decrease as they become less and less necessary.  People are becoming more capable of policing themselves, making the enforcements more outdated.

Instead, spendings on public services will increase.  We’re already seeing this: countries like Japan are aging, and the need to support older people are causing them to go heavily in-debt.  Practically all first-world countries are facing this problem in varying degrees, even here in the US.  We’re living longer, and will need to support the growing, older population, and since increasing that age limit for retirement isn’t going to happen any time soon, the spendings will have to increase.

This results in some significant shifts in the market.  For one, older generations are now going to be a new niche market, and a healthy one to boot.  Second, government as a customer will be less reliant on “brunt force”-based defense, instead focusing more on cyber defense and spying.  This shift in technology also means that airplanes, tanks, and battleship engineering will be fazed out towards maintenance while UAVs and snooping will become more important.

There will be a series of major technological breakthrough in combating global warming.

Disregarding the debate on whether global warming exists or not, lots of efforts has been placed in combating global warming.  I think it’s inevitable that a new series of breakthroughs will occur, allowing companies to adopt cheaper protocols that still manages to be environmentally more safe.  This includes emitting less toxins and carbon dioxides, as well as using less rare-earth materials.

The unfortunate thing is that it’s going to take the less fortunate countries a little longer to adapt to these technologies.  This is partially due to politics, as these countries that rely on mining rare-earth materials a lot will now have to sustain that market artificially.  However, most of it will be due to simple human stubbornness.

Alright, all of these predictions were safe so far.  Let’s try something else.

The numbers of countries will increase until your backyard is your own country.

Taking the personalization part to the extreme, I expect the number of countries to increase, especially after the automation phases.  Basically, by the time everything becomes automated, most upper-class households will be capable of holding on its own without relying on imports.  It would, at this point, make sense that they attempt to customize the government to their preference.  I think somebody will eventually figure out how to efficiently create their own country, and everyone will follow suit.

So what does this mean for the United Nations?

UN will die, and be replaced by the internet.

Or something like that.  When I say “UN will die,” I mean that they will lose relevance.  Really, I’m not sure what will replace the UN, but my hunch says it’s the internet.  Because that makes sense.

Currency will cease to exist.  Trade will be more personal.

Obviously if your country is the size of your backyard, it’s going to be pretty pointless to have money.  I suspect trade itself won’t die, though.  Instead, it’ll be more personal, with less middlemen to worry about.

The world is shifting towards introverts.  Social will become more physically separated.

I suspect extroversion will be less appealing as a personality trait, as newer technologies that augment communication favor those introverted.  In a lot of ways, both the general population and the popular media will become a lot quieter and will rely on more complicated connections with their audience.

Alright, that’s enough venting boredom for now.  Back to work!

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