THE FUTURIST is a bi-monthly magazine published by the World Future Society'. The Nov-Dec 2008 edition's cover story is "Outlook 2009". In the magazine, there is a list of Top Ten Forecasts for 2009 and beyond.
The FUTURIST always has a flair for dramatic, attention-grabbing prediction/forecasting lists and this year's is no exception. Here is a summary of this year's list...
- Every sound / movement can be recorded by 2030. By the late 2010s, ubiquitous, unseen nanodevices will provide seamless communication and surveillance among all people everywhere.
- Bioviolence becomes a greater threat as the technology becomes more accessible. Bacteria and viruses could be altered to increase their lethality or to evade antibiotic treatment.
- The car's days as king of the road may soon be over. More powerful wireless communication that reduces demand for travel, flying delivery drones to replace trucks, and policies to restrict the number of vehicles owned in each household are among potential developments.
- Careers to become more specialized. For example, instead of simply majoring in business, more students are beginning to explore niche majors such as sustainable business, strategic intelligence, and entrepreneurship.
- The world's legal systems will be networked. The Global Legal Information Network (GLIN), a database of local and national laws for more than 50 participating countries will lay the groundwork for a more universal understanding of the diversity of laws between nations and will create new opportunities for peace and international partnership.
- Professional knowledge will become obsolete almost as quickly as it's acquired. An individual's professional knowledge is becoming outdated at a much faster rate than ever before. Rapid changes in the job market and work-related technologies will necessitate job education for almost every worker.
- The race for biomedical and genetic enhancement. Humanity is ready and eager to pursue biomedical and genetic enhancement.
- Urbanization will hit 60 percent by 2030. As more of the world's population lives in cities, rapid development to accommodate them will make existing environmental and socioeconomic problems worse.
- The Middle East will become more secular while religious influence in China will grow. Popular support for religious government will decline in the Middle East. Religion in China will likely increase as an indirect result of economic activity and globalization.
- Access to electricity will reach 83 percent of the world by 2030. Electrification, at 73 percent in 2000, may reach 83 percent of the world's people by 2030. Electricity is fundamental to raising living standards and access to the world's products and services.
Access the full detail here Top Ten Forecasts for 2009 and beyond.
Most of these seem like they are safe bets to me to be key trends by 2030, except for number 1 and 3. I think those are much longer term trend (e.g. out another 100 years).