January 20, 2017

Six Things That Will be Different in 10 years


The end of an old year tends to bring out the predictor urge in many of us. We look back at the 12 months that is now in the history books and wonder what the new year will bring.

Instead of looking ahead only a few months, I thought it would be fun to leap forward a decade. What will be different in 2027? What things that we take for granted today may not exist in their present form in 10 years? Here are a handful that might come to pass:

1) Black Friday will have passed away from lack of interest and the steady shift to Internet shopping. Already Americans are buying more online during the holidays than at brick and mortar stores. That trend will only accelerate. The idea of rushing out to shop right after Thanksgiving dinner, or getting in line at 5:00 AM for a chance to save on a PlayStation will be a distant memory. Such a shift will also mean the end to many of the physical stores that populate our malls and strip centers.

2) Retirement will be later for the majority of folks. No longer will 65 be the target age, rather 70 or even 75 will become the new norm. As we live longer, retiring at 65, or earlier, would mean preparing for retirement investments to last at least 30 years. Many people will find that unpractical. The government will find ways to trim Social Security and Medicare entitlements, putting more pressure on people to save more and delay retirement. Recent studies say 27 % of us will delay retirement for as long as possible, while 12% claim to want to never stop working. Those numbers are likely to increase.

3) Grown children will be much less likely to live with their parents. Today approximately 1/3 of young adults live with their parents. Actually, a higher percentage of those 18-34 are back at home rather than living with partners. Over the next decade any lingering effects of the 2008-2010 recession will have long since faded into memory and the economy will have found a new footing, unless history is about to repeat itself. Young adults will choose shared housing, living with partners, or as singles. Mom and dad will be pleased.

4) Electric automobiles will be commonplace. There will be as many charging stations as gas stations. With batteries able to hold a charge much longer, electric cars will be practical for both commuting and trips of a few hours. Prices will have dropped, making plug-in cars affordable for many. 

5) Streaming entertainment choices will have replaced almost all cable systems. The idea of having to sit in front of a television to watch favorite shows will seem so old-fashioned. Choosing to be entertained on any number of devices from any number of sources, is already quite common. With 100 million American households still using cable TV, the growth potential for alternatives is enormous. Options that bundle fewer channels for much less money will be the norm. Cord cutting will change the entertainment industry forever. 

6)  Buying recorded music or movies will fade away. Owning a CD or DVD will make little sense when virtually anything ever recorded or produced will be available on demand. Live concerts will remain popular unless ticket prices continue to reach nose-bleed levels. Big screen, 3D movies will still motivate folks to leave home to be entertained, but there will be added extras, like virtual reality headsets, to remain attractive. 


These six possibilities are just the start. What can you add to the list? Look down the road 10 years and tell us what you see.


24 comments:

  1. Nice list Bob, I agree with pretty much all of it. The prediction/dream that first comes to mind is:

    7) Since it will be central to everything fast,reliable Internet access will be considered a right of each citizen. Internet providers will no longer be allowed to ignore that fact when it comes to the less populated areas of the country. There will be a law passed that the slowest access cannot be any less than half the fastest access. Right now it is less than 1/100th.

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    1. Excellent point. As a society we are more likely to insist on equal Internet access than health care. Go figure.

      Decent Internet access will be an absolute requirement to be connected to most everything in 10 years...banking and financial management, shopping, social interaction, entertainment.

      Thanks, RJ.

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  2. Hmmm. I imagine working from home will be expected for office jobs, due to global markets, keeping down the cost of doing business and transportation. Office space will be used for meetings.

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    1. Telecommuting or running a home-based business - yes, I agree that will be a big deal in the next decade. It connects with RJ's point above about the necessity of solid, high speed Internet access regardless of where you live.

      Regardless of what promises come out of Washington, most heavy manufacturing jobs are gone for good. New skills and new entrepreneurial approaches will be required, and a lot of that can be accomplished without a commute.

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  3. I foresee further erosion of a rural lifestyle; food grown naturally will be a rarity; social media will look different than it does today and Facebook will be obsolete; the pendulum will have swung to a lesser consumerism; the overuse of technology will be manifested in the "latest" neurological problems. As I ponder this question I realize that my predictions are apocalyptic. And I will be 80 yrs old. That's the only thing I could predict with certainty - if I live that long!

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    1. Oh..I will be 77 (almost 78). Don't want to think about that too long!

      Interesting point about social media. The various platforms certainly seem to come and go at a rather rapid rate. I think the first to give it up will be Twitter. The company is already struggling and it hasn't figured out a good way to keep "bad" people and pronouncements from destroying its credibility.

      Facebook? The younger generation has already moved to Snapchat and other options. Now, Facebook is primarily for 35+ folks and business promotions. Like Twitter, it must figure out how to control peoples' worst impulses when it comes to anonymous posts.

      Excellent insight, Mona.

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    2. I realize that I can't even predict my age with certainty! You're talking 10 yrs from now, not 20, so I'll be 70 not 80 yrs old.

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    3. Feel better now? !!!! Let's not rush things.

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  4. Daytime summer temperatures in Phoenix will average 130 degrees and we will all crowd-fund a more powerful air conditioner for Bob and Betty... :)

    I really hope I am wrong about this, but the latest data seems to have this as a possibility. Will Portland be the new Phoenix?

    Rick in Oregon

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    1. This winter Portland seems to be the new Anchorage! Snow, ice, lots of wind....?

      Yes, the long range future of Phoenix is pretty hot. Someone will make a financial killing if they can A) put a giant sunscreen over the city or B) figure out where 5.0 million can move from May to November!

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  5. I'll predict perhaps a different scenario...

    The internet, as noted above, has significantly reduced the need to attend many types of remaining work in person and it will allow a wider geographical spread for good paying jobs. People will relocate to previously isolated, and inexpensive, areas such as Nebraska which previously didn't hold many options for employment. This will allow for less urban life style (think gardens, clothes lines, chickens). As we moved into the cities before, we will move out of them now.

    That same trend will help push children back out of their parents home simply by providing some type of guaranteed income, even for the lowest of us, in turn recirculating those funds into the economy.

    Retirement will fade away as it becomes obvious that the "retirement" followed by a different type of employment is not retirement at all. It's just a career shift. Flexible employment with multiple career paths will become accepted as being in line with traditional and historical ways and become the norm.

    My thoughts are mostly positive. We have a lot of options available to us and that is more than can be said of any generation before. Now, if we use them or not is a different type of prophecy.

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    1. As long as there is good, high speed Internet available in rural areas I can see your scenario working well. There are places in the upper Midwest where housing is very reasonably priced. That lifestyle is very attractive for many but employment opportunities keep them closer to urban areas.

      I think you are probably right about the place of retirement in society. Maybe it will come to mean "retiring" from one's primary career or job path into something very different, or self-employment.

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  6. On a more practical note.... I have often hoped that we would embrace the futurist Alvin Toffler's vision that he outlined in his book, "The Third Wave." Just imagine if even 25% of people could work from home 2 or 3 days a week. Think of the reduction in traffic. Think of the reduction in pollution, stress, etc.. I think technology does, and will provide more opportunities for this in the future. Doctor visits without leaving your home. College degrees obtained while sitting at home. Seniors with the ability to stay in their own homes longer because of sophisticated monitoring options. Lots of possibilities.

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    1. Isn't it interesting how much of our future seems to involve the place of technology in reshaping our lives. All the examples you mention spring from inner-connectedness. I just hope we solve the hacking problem before it makes the Internet unreliable.

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  7. I can't imagine letting the cable company tell me the date and time to watch a specific show. The ability to sit down and pull up something interesting to me and consume it at that time has had the biggest impact on me.

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    1. My cab!e company just raised my Internet rate almost 20%.

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  8. Interesting projections. I don't agree with #3 though. It is my opinion that adult children are not living with their parents for financial reasons but for failure to grow up. Awhile back there was a movie out called Failure to Launch with Mathew McConaghey and Sarah Jessica Parker. I think that hit the nail on the head, as long as they stay at mom and dad's they can party as much as possible without any responsibilities.

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    1. I am sure you are correct about some of the stay-at-home issue. I saw the movie and it was scary.

      I don't agree that the majority take this path, though. One of my daughters had to live at home for varying periods after losing employment. She would have much preferred to be on her own, and was as soon as financially able. I think her experience is much more the norm. For those like the character in the movie, the parents are enablers.

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  9. I am hoping that in 10 years we will have driverless car options which will help me to stay mobile. My 5 year old grandson may never learn how to drive a car. Great look at the nearby future

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    1. Certainly learning to drive a stick shift is rapidly becoming a lost art. Maybe it will be like cursive handwriting...something that future generations don't study.

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  10. A lot of interesting ideas. But there are only two things I'm certain of: 1) the biggest change will be something we never even imagined; and 2) I will be ten years older. (Actually, I wish I could be certain of #2.)

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    1. #1 is absolutely true. If I look back at this post in 2027 I am sure I will be wrong on most of these thoughts!

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  11. I had some thoughts to add, but when I saw Tom's comment, I just laughed and agreed with him!

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    1. Tom does cut to the chase more often than not.

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