Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Eternal trends and how to spot them


I always enjoyed reading books about the future. Future studies are the discipline about how to predict future trends and I'm gradually training my brain about how to think about prediction. Naturally, this can be a really inaccurate exercise and a lot of predictions turns out to be wrong, but imagine how much can be earned if somehow someone gets it right.

I'm still in the process of building a library of books on future studies, but this highly accessible book by Magus Lindkvist talks about a number of trends that are eternal for Mankind.

a) Wellness, health and convenience

We've always been trying to make ourselves live longer and easier lives. Many of the trends that affect us, such as eating in a healthier way, have been obsessed by even our ancestors. Someone will always be thinking about some form of exercise, diet or medication that can claim to result in better longevity. 

b) Self-expression

Everyone wants to be noticed and leave a mark one day.  Another parallel trend is the desire to belong to something.  Our ancestors have been using cave paintings to communicate their ideas, today they use social media. This is another trend that will not end, as an investor someone will produce the next Clubhouse or anything that allows folks to interact with each other and be heard by the larger community.

c) Sensory stimulation

People crave sensory stimulation so they will always be trying to experience new things. Ancient carnivals and theatre have evolved into the Disney Plus and Netflix channels of today. A parallel development is that new ways of grabbing someone's attention will always be in development. 

d) Technology

Enabling all the above eternal trends is mankind's ability to tame new materials and processes for his personal benefit. We're now right in the middle of the Information Age, the question is what kind of age will arise out of all the new internet technologies. 

Unfortunately, we might be quite far from Future studies becoming a serious discipline with its own methodologies. The book is also quite chaotic and disorganised. One wish list is that the author would look at these eternal trends and dedicate a chapter to the evolution of each trend and make a series of wild guesses on what to expect on the horizon.  

I'm personally betting that a Quantum Age is upon us soon enough that will make most information technologists obsolete. 


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