6G is expected to arrive at some time around 2030. What will the world look like then? What will we actually need 6G to do in the context into which it’s born? Especially after 2020’s disruptions, 6GWorld™ pulled together a variety of predictions on five key topics to give you some insights on what’s to come. We’ve only scratched the surface, so let us know if you want to hear about other topics, or more on these.
The global population is projected to reach 8.5 billion, up from 7.9 billion in 2020. Around 2027, India is projected to overtake China as the world’s most populous country.
At 2 billion people globally, Generation Z will take its place as the largest single cohort of people, ousting Millennials. However, 40% of the workforce will be Millennials…the oldest of whom will be turning 50!
According to the United States’ Census, 2030 will mark a couple of turning points for the country. That year is expected to see immigration overtake natural growth as the main driver of population growth in the country; and the whole baby boomer generation will be older than 65, meaning that approximately 20% of US citizens will be retirees.
Meanwhile, population aging will be a growing concern in many countries. Japan, the trendsetter, is expected to only have 1.9 people of working age per retiree, while China’s working age population is due to fall by 30 million.
However, aging populations likely won’t be a concern in Africa, which currently accounts for about 25% of the world’s children at over a 500 million. Instead, according to the United Nations, the challenge will be in the provision of healthcare and education to enable African countries to reap the benefits of their population.
On a global level, expect some realignments as emerging-market GDP per capita starts to even out versus that of the developed world. UK bank Standard Chartered gives predicts that the USA will drop to the third largest economy in 2030, behind China and India. Indonesia is set to take the fourth spot.
Meanwhile, countries like Egypt and Turkey are liable to flex their economic muscles, potentially even overtaking a European powerhouse like Germany.
Unsurprisingly, China is on pace to be the largest economy globally, accounting for 12% of urban spending worldwide.
Sustainability and the drive to zero-carbon will offer new opportunities across many markets, even while established industries are drying up. For example, the ILO predicts a net growth of 15 million jobs in Latin America thanks to this shift.
Additionally, there will be a push from consumers for more social and environmental responsibility from vendors, as well as valuing their personal physical and mental wellbeing. According to this report, “For Gen Z, there’s a disconnect between the ‘do goodery’ proclaimed in superficial marketing campaigns and the significant economic, social justice and environmental challenges that shape their lives. Across industries and product categories, we see brands gaining credibility among Gen Z by taking ownership and accountability of the challenges they have helped to create—while offering real plans and strategies to do better.”
The workforce of the future will be substantially different from today; while there are a variety of different scenarios that will play out, the priorities of millennials and Gen Z will create alternatives to the corporates or Silicon Valley-type start-ups we know today. Bain & Co predicts that almost two-thirds of children going into primary education right now will end up in roles that don’t yet exist.
However, corporate longevity in leading positions is liable to become even less stable than in the past, certainly in Europe and the USA and quite probably in China. According to this report, we are likely to see a significant turnover in leading companies over the coming decade – standout exceptions being Japanese companies.
Although it’s the year when the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are due to be met, 2030 will be hotter than today.
The European Commission expects average global temperatures to be 1.5 degrees higher than in pre-industrial times. “This means that hotter summers will be the norm throughout Europe – but also in the USA, the southern neighbourhood [North Africa], and Asia. This will lead to increased occurrences of droughts and wildfires, as seen in the summer of 2018, the hottest on record and one in which 30-50% of certain key crops were lost in Europe. Studies show that healthcare costs increase significantly per heat wave, and that, in the USA, the cost of fighting wildfires reached $2 billion in 2017. In total, weather-climate disasters cost 290 billion euro in 2017.”
Meanwhile, in Asia, rising temperatures mean – for a while – stronger river systems. However, “it is estimated that the Tibetan Plateau region will reach peak water between 2030 and 2050. As runoff from snow cover, permafrost, and glaciers in this region provides up to 45% of the total river flow, the flow decrease would affect water availability for 1.7 billion people with a gross domestic product (GDP) of US$ 12.7 trillion”. Rivers affected by this include the Yellow, Yangtze, Mekong, Indus, Ganges, Syr Darya, and Amu Darya.
Africa is going to be facing more substantial long-term pressures than most. An expected average temperature rise of two degrees will put pressure on water catchment and management, alongside farming challenges.
Already a concern, further digitalisation will make the reliability of digital and cyber-physical systems increasingly significant…though globally we already struggle with a shortage of security professionals.
Within companies, the need for that expertise (and impacts of not having it) will push digital security up to the C-suite.
For nations, it is likely to result in an increasingly fragmented internet with local cybersecurity, privacy, and data management laws, requiring new approaches to cross-border data transfer. At the same time, “the market will experience deeper synergies among data protection, security, privacy, and public good as more international frameworks are developed to govern the internet,” according to Frost & Sullivan.
The further development of AI systems and quantum cryptography should only accelerate an arms race between hackers and defenders…and also spur competition in AI development globally.
The next 10 years are expected to be a time of remarkable change, as these few predictions demonstrate. The telecoms and tech industries have the capability to help address many of the challenges out there, largely with the collaboration of other industries and governments. At 6GWorld™ we’ll be doing whatever we can to help you understand and navigate the decade ahead – look out for more news, events, discussions, and interactivity in 2021!
Alex Lawrence is Managing Editor at 6GWorld. His mission is to bring together stakeholders from across industries, countries and disciplines to make sure that, as technology evolves in the coming decade, it’s meeting the changing demands of society, government and business.
He has been involved as a professional nosy person in the telecoms sphere since 2004, with short detours through industrial O&M and marketing.
If you’d like to talk to Alex about your ideas or projects he’d love to hear from you. @animalawrence or firstname.lastname@example.org.