Magazine article The Futurist

Outlook 2006: Recent Forecasts from the World Future Society for 2006 and Beyond

Magazine article The Futurist

Outlook 2006: Recent Forecasts from the World Future Society for 2006 and Beyond

Article excerpt

Welcome to Outlook 2006, the World Future Society's roundup of thought-provoking forecasts, trends, and ideas from the past year. These brief items are drawn from articles and news stories originally appearing in THE FUTURIST or in Futurist Update, the Society's monthly electronic newsletter.

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The forecasts should not be interpreted as "predictions" of what the future will be like, but rather as glimpses of what may happen or proposals for what should happen. However, the opinions and ideas presented here are those of the authors or sources cited and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the World Future Society.

For more information about any of these forecasts, please refer to the original articles cited. Back issues of THE FUTURIST may be ordered using the coupon in this report or online at www.wfs.org/backiss.htm. All editions of Futurist Update are archived at www.wfs.org/futuristupdate.htm.

As always, we welcome your feedback. Please e-mail your comments to letters@wfs.org.

THE EDITORS

BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS

* Where the jobs will be. Biotech and pharmaceutical workers, radiology specialists, gerontologists, and nurses will see big demand for their skills in the coming decade, as baby boomers age and increase the demand for medical attention. By 2020, the United States alone will require 2.8 million new nurses, up from 2 million needed right now.--World Trends & Forecasts, May-June 2005, p. 12

* Job boom foreseen in solar industries. The job outlook looks bright for solar industries, with some 42,000 new U.S. jobs by 2015. In the next decade, the U.S. solar industry could generate more than $34 billion in new manufacturing investments. Solar power could displace 6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas by 2025, saving U.S. consumers approximately $64 billion.--Futurist Update, Mar 2005

* New opportunities for "ageless aging." Among the new business opportunities that could arise to cater to the boomers who want to age without growing old: Antiaging spas, intergenerational communes, and therapeutic cloning for kidneys, livers, and other replacement body parts.--Ken Dychtwald, "Ageless Aging: The Next Era of Retirement," July-Aug 2005, p. 18

* A new profession may rise to help you manage your personal information. Like a mutual-funds manager, personal-information managers may emerge to protect your valuable personal data from identity thieves--and leverage it with advertisers and others who want a piece of your attention.--Brian Mulconrey, "Your Personal Information: Managing Your Most Valuable Asset," Sep-Oct 2005, p. 24

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* The rise of an open-source workforce. Information technologies and open collaboration are toppling traditional business hierarchies. Increasingly, individuals will become "extra-preneurs," members of virtual networks that collaborate on projects that not only benefit their organizations but also add value to their current and future jobs.--David Pearce Snyder, "Extra-Preneurship: Reinventing Enterprise for the Information Age," July-Aug 2005, p. 47

* Retirement is retiring. Fewer older workers expect to be able to retire early, so organizations will increasingly need to help workers revise their career-planning strategies. Abandoning compulsory retirement ages within companies is a likely step.--World Trends & Forecasts, Jan-Feb 2005, p. 15

* Paying for the elderly. By 2020, nations with generous pension policies will find that growing numbers of retirees will severely hinder their ability to commit funds to other social needs, such as food programs for the poor. Italy, Australia, and France will struggle, but Japan, Norway, and Sweden have already made moves to avert a pension crisis by raising the average retirement age.--World Trends & Forecasts, Mar-Apr 2005, p. 7

DEMOGRAPHY

* Adulthood will grow increasingly elusive. …

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