The coronavirus butterfly effect: Six predictions for a new world order

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The world may soon pass “peak virus.” But true recovery will take years—and the ripple effects will be seismic. Parag Khanna and Karan Khemka forecast the aftershocks.

In chaos theory, the butterfly effect describes a small change that can have massive, unpredictable consequences. An insect flaps its wings and, weeks later, causes a tornado.

The coronavirus is more like an earthquake, with aftershocks that will permanently reshape the world.

If we are lucky, the world will pass “peak virus” within the next six months. But the economy, governments, and social institutions will take years to recover in the best-case scenario. Indeed, rather than even speak of “recovery,” which implies a return to how things were, it would be wise to project what new direction civilization will take. That too will be a bumpy ride. The next 3-5 years will remind us that COVID-19 was the lightning before the thunder

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The pandemic will cleave America in two

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Some will emerge from this crisis disrupted and shaken, but ultimately stable. Others will come out of it with much more lasting scars.

Viruses aren’t picky. They tear through neighborhoods and nations, infecting whomever they can, and the new coronavirus is no exception: The pain of the present pandemic will be felt—is already being felt—by just about everyone in the United States and all over the world, in one way or another. After the pandemic has run its course, no one will be wholly untouched.

At the same time, there will be stark disparities in how certain segments of the American population experience this crisis. Some of these disparities will be the result of luck or coincidence—a matter of where someone happened to travel, what line of work they chose, or what city they live in. But in a country that was highly unequal in so many ways well before it had a confirmed case of COVID-19, other disparities will be sadly predictable, falling along racial and class lines, as well as other fateful divides.

In the coming months and years, there will really be two pandemics in America. One will be disruptive and frightening to its victims, but thanks to their existing advantages and lucky near misses with the virus, they will likely emerge from it relatively stable—physically, psychologically, and financially. The other pandemic, though, will devastate those who survive it, leaving lasting scars and altering life courses.

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Five ways that coronavirus will change the way we eat

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A self-driving food delivery robot might appear in a post-pandemic world in which consumers want to avoid human contact.

 These are unprecedented times. One thing is for sure— with the widespread acceptance that coronavirus originated in an exotic meat market in China, there has been a massive consumer rethink around food.

This shift is impacting the type of food that is consumed, where it is obtained, how and where it is prepared and how it is produced and stored.

The overarching theme? Fear of contagion and oftentimes human contact.

Here are some predictions of how coronavirus will change the way we eat, based on recent surveys and forecasting.

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9 future predictions for a post-corona world

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As the ripple of COVID-19 careens around the globe, it’s forcing humankind to innovate and change the way we work and live. The upside of where we find ourselves right now is that individuals and corporations will be more resilient in a post-COVID-19 world. Here are nine predictions of what our world may look like once we have left the pandemic behind.

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The Future of our partnership with machines

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I’m often asked questions about the future of work. Will the machines takeover? How long until the human race declines? And how many jobs will go away?

One new book that thoughtfully approaches these topics of how we will work symbiotically with machines and how we can all evolve to benefit together is HUMAN/MACHINE: The Future Of Our Partnership with Machines.

I recently spoke with Olivier Blanchard, one of the co-authors.

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MIT published a list of the 9 megatrends that will shape the world in 2030. Here’s what they all have in common

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Climate change, transparency, and nationalism will be driving the workforce 10 years from now.

 For decades, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has generated some of the world’s greatest innovators, entrepreneurs, and startups. MIT has built a strong research and engineering culture since its founding in 1861, producing dozens of Nobel laureates along the way. 3Com, Akamai, Bose, Dropbox, Intel, iRobot, Kahn Academy, BuzzFeed, HP, and Qualcomm all have MIT roots. So I always pay attention to the lists published in MIT’s in-house journal, The MIT Sloan Management Review.

Understanding change is at the heart of entrepreneurship. As a founder, you need to spot unmet needs arising from changes in demographics, politics, and innovation. If you fail to do so, you may fail yourself.

Last year, MIT published a list by futurist Andrew Winston of the biggest megatrends that will impact the world by 2030. Winston’s pedigree is extensive; his clients include McDonald’s, Apple, Bank of America, Walmart, HP, Disney, and Cisco. Here is his list (explanations are mine):

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14 jobs that could be automated within the next decade

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 Automation is firmly established in the workplace, and many businesses have benefited greatly from this rapidly evolving technology. Tedious, repetitive tasks—such as data entry and scheduling—that once ate up valuable hours in an employee’s day can now be streamlined with the right automation processes.

Now that the business world has seen the power of automation, the question has become, “What’s next?” The members of Forbes Technology Council are constantly looking out for new tech trends, and they believe the next jobs to be impacted by automation might not be the ones people expect.

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The future of work in technology

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How technology leaders can reimagine technology work, the workforce, and the workplace

The future of work in technology, encompassing work, workforce, and workplace, is undergoing a transformation. How can technology and business leaders strategize, design, and collaborate to succeed in this journey?

EVOLVING strategic business imperatives, trends, and disrupters are driving a seismic shift in the way IT organizations operate. This report—part of a series exploring the merger of business and technology strategies and the reimagination of technology’s role in the business—aims to address fundamental questions about the future of work in technology:

How can organizations leverage technology to redesign current work outcomes to focus on exponential increases in productivity and cost efficiencies and redefine new work outcomes that extend beyond productivity and cost to value, meaning, and impact?

How will tomorrow’s technology workforce be different than today’s? How will jobs and roles change? What skills and capabilities will be needed?

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A game plan for quantum computing

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Pharmaceutical companies have an abiding interest in enzymes. These proteins catalyze all kinds of biochemical interactions, often by targeting a single type of molecule with great precision. Harnessing the power of enzymes may help alleviate the major diseases of our time.

Unfortunately, we don’t know the exact molecular structure of most enzymes. In principle, chemists could use computers to model these molecules in order to identify how the molecules work, but enzymes are such complex structures that most are impossible for classical computers to model.

A sufficiently powerful quantum computer, however, could accurately predict in a matter of hours the properties, structure, and reactivity of such substances—an advance that could revolutionize drug development and usher in a new era in healthcare. Quantum computers have the potential to resolve problems of this complexity and magnitude across many different industries and applications, including finance, transportation, chemicals, and cybersecurity.

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Would you want immortal life as a cyborg?

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Transhumanism can mean uploading one’s mind into cyberspace. But some transhumanists hope to slowly morph into “immortal cyborgs” with endlessly replaceable parts.

Five years ago, we were told, we were all turning into cyborgs:

Did you recently welcome a child into the world? Congratulations! An upstanding responsible parent such as yourself is surely doing all you can to prepare your little one for all the pitfalls life has in store. However, thanks to technology, children born in 2014 may face a far different set of issues than you ever had to. And we’re not talking about simply learning to master a new generation of digital doohickeys, we’re talking about living in a world in which the very definition of “human” becomes blurred.

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AI to ‘fundamentally shift’ global balance of power

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The focus of Australia’s cyber diplomacy is expanding to include “grand strategy in technology”, as well as engagement with technology firms and governments.

Rapidly maturing technologies such as 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), and quantum computing will “shift fundamentally the global balance of power”, according to Dr Tobias Feakin, Australia’s Ambassador for Cyber Affairs.

“Those [nations] that really are at the forefront of AI and the way that it works will genuinely be at the forefront of the emerging 21st century economy,” he told the Australian Cybersecurity Conference, or CyberCon, in Melbourne on Wednesday.

Some nations are already positioning themselves to take advantage of these technologies.

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Voice AI systems will be ‘everywhere’ and ‘phones will disappear in 10 years’

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Entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk claims the AI system will connect us to the internet from anywhere and will enable humans to down their phones and merely speak to access any information or make any purchases

WCIT 2019: Voice driven devices will grow claims Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk claims that voice driven AI devices will continue to grow in popularity in the next decade. Speaking at WCIT 2019 the businessman says ‘we will have devices in our homes, offices and cars. It will surprise people quite a bit.’

Voice AI systems will be everywhere around us within the next decade, meaning we only have to speak to get what we want, an AI expert has claimed.

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