Politics, Government and Regulation

Brexit Brouhaha

Although Article 50 is invoked in Spring, the UK Government is hampered by further legal challenges. Negotiation priorities are increasingly split between securing a sensible economic agreement and 'protecting' the EU’s political face.

May Day

An October 2017 general election is called by frustrated Prime Minister Theresa May - allowing the public to vote on her Brexit plan. UKIP becomes the biggest party and Nigel Farage leads a coalition government.

The Presidency as a Business Model

President Trump blurs the line between national and family interests, subverting accepted norms of presidential behaviour. Analysts suggest his first term could see him exceeding President Putin’s estimated net worth of US$200Bn.

Wildcard Wagers

Public event betting markets, grow with a huge rise in bets on events including sudden building collapses and assassinations.

Artificial Intelligence betting companies will emerge - allowing betting on individual life expectancy. Those permitting access to their personal data by betting companies can share the proceeds of such bets.

Will They or Won't They

While some question the ethics of betting on life/death scenarios, advocates highlight the potential for public engagement through betting. Single-interest political groups arise around the potential outcomes of specific events. Betting markets drive pre-event peaks in public interest and radical subsequent declines.

 

Technology and Privacy

Artificial Intelligence

A range of real applications emerge, ranging from intelligent assistants on smartphones to medical-decision support tools. Cash-strapped governments use AI to fully automate activities, including student debt recovery and divorce adjudications.

Driving Ambition

China and the UK lead in allowing public driverless vehicle trials. Both governments accelerate regulatory changes, legalising fully or semi-autonomous cars, trucks and buses from 2018.

Self-Powering Nations

Faced with continued uncertainty over fossil fuel price, availability and environmental impact, 2017 saw a record number of nations powering themselves with renewable energy for at least part of the year.

Leave me Alone

People will start adopting personal privacy management applications running on Blockchain technology. Individuals will increasingly secure personal communications and information to protect it from the likes of Facebook and Google

The Economy and Business

Corporate Flight

Uncertainty over Brexit leads several major companies to announce relocation of headquarters, R&D functions etc, to Dublin, Amsterdam, and Frankfurt. The exodus is well underway by year end.

Wealth Haven Britain

Taxes are so 1990s. The UK Government will soften the Brexit blow by attracting more foreign investment and wealth. Britain will have the lowest G20 corporation taxes, massively increasing tax allowances for R&D and establishing UK production facilities, while adopting personal taxation measures that compare with the best offshore havens.

Masters of the Universe

Major technology players, such as Google, Baidu, IBM and Amazon, continue introducing ever-more sophisticated technology applications. These include super-intelligent ‘brain in the cloud’ solutions extracting insights from data created by the Internet of Things, smart assistants managing our daily lives, and instantaneous translators covering 50-plus languages.

Digital Dementia

Many corporations and governments will remain cautious over the use of disruptive technologies like Blockchain and AI. Many of those pursuing expensive digital transformation projects will find their initiatives are eliminating the distinguishing human element and commodifying themselves. Stock markets will write down valuations on firms lost in this digital maze.

Parallel Worlds Emerge

Firms with digital-era mindsets trade with each other using Blockchain contract systems and digital currencies. They deploy AI for core activities, in some cases creating entirely digital Decentralised Autonomous Organisations with no physical employees. 

The New Professionals

The major legal, accounting and consulting firms launch a raft of AI client-advisor applications, automating tasks previously performed by professionals and driving headcount reduction.

 

Social and Leisure

Technological Unemployment

The use of new smart technologies, plus increasing automation and the termination of ‘non-viable’ activities by large businesses, sees unemployment rising across a range of sectors globally.

The Crumbling Middle

Those affected most are the educated middle classes in professional/ managerial roles. The impact is felt in theatre attendance, private school enrolments, new car purchases, and holidays.

Robo-Retail

Amazon Go’s concept store rollout will challenge traditional retail. Shoppers simply select their items and leave. Smartphone technology, item tracking, and mobile payment automatically log purchases and debit customer accounts. Traditional competitors will be forced into continuous discounting.