Human strength augmentation, service robotics, artificial intelligence & life extension…these are just a few of the wonderful (or not so wonderful) things waiting for us in 2025.

Tonight I am stepping out of the marketing fishbowl to take a “long view” look at the dynamic changes happening in the Global landscape.  All too often I find myself reading marketing trend guides that discuss what’s just around the corner (e.g. the next couple of years) because this time frame is more actionable.  Today, however, I want to pull out the Big crystal ball to discuss mega shifts in the landscape that will ultimately affect countries, companies, and, of course, brands two decades from now.

The U.S. National Intelligence Council (NIC) published its “Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World” a few months ago.  The NIC is a think tank conducting medium- and long-term strategic analysis for top policy makers.  NIC reports are “mash-ups”  between analytical reports of key U.S. intelligence centers – the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, etc.,-that help policy makers make sense of the (future) world.

Unfortunately, the overarching themes of this report are a little dreary (from a Western perspective).  I’ve listed a few below:

  • The end of US dominance and decline of the $
  • Western democratic principles will be threatened in an increasingly multipolar & dangerous world
  • European Union will basically only be a “hobbled giant”

Below are a few items that I pulled out which may be of some interest to marketers as they look out to 2025:  Most of these are obvious, but interesting to reflect on…

Consumer Demographics:  The world’s population is expected to grow to 8 billion people by 2025…that’s well over a Billion more folks more than we have today (1.2 Billion to be exact).  India’s population is expected to overtake China’s population by 2025.

Needless to say, this continued population explosion will put A LOT of pressure on our energy, food and water resources as we head into 2025.

Key Countries: The US will remain a powerful state by 2025, but will continue losing its influence…the $ will also continue losing its relevance.  The void left from America’s decline will be filled by Brazil, India, China, and the Korean Peninsula (by that time two Koreas will merge).  Clearly, companies/brands that have grown up serving primarily US/Western European markets will find these areas becoming less & less relevant by 2025.

Companies:  By 2025, nation-states will no longer be the only—and often not the most important—actors on the world stage and the “international system” will have morphed to accommodate the new reality.  The relative power of various nonstate actors—including businesses, tribes,religious organizations, and even criminal networks—will grow as these groups influence decisions on a widening range of social, economic, and political issues.

I’m sure that Corporate Social Responsibility will be a very hot topic in 2025 as companies are increasingly expected to play a larger role in society.

Interesting New Technologies:

Human strength augmentation technologies:  Mechanical and electronic systems that supplement
human physical capabilities will come into their own by 2025.  Things like wearable exoskeletons with mechanical actuators to monitor and respond to arm and leg movements, providing the wearer with increased strength and control.

Service robotics:  Robots and unmanned vehicles will start to really improve.

Ubiquitous computing will be enabled by widespread tagging and networking of objects (what the report calls the Internet of Things) such as food, furniture, and paper documents. Everything will be located and identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through RFID, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvesters-connected via the next-generation Internet.

Biogerontechnology is the study of the cellular and molecular basis of disease and aging.  New technologies expected to arise include improvements in biosensors for real-time monitoring of human health, robust information technology, ubiquitous DNA sequencing and DNA-specific medicine, and targeted drug delivery mechanisms.

Global Warming:  This report has an interesting way of highlighting how global warming will affect us by 2025.  In the “October Surprise scenario”, a diary entry of a future US President shows what transpires when countries stay too preoccupied with achieving economic growth at the expense of safeguarding the environment.  New York City is hit by a major hurricane linked to global climate change; the NY Stock Exchange is severely damaged and, in the face of such destruction, world leaders must begin to think about taking drastic measures, such as relocating parts of coastal cities.

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