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Ten years hence

Ten Points about Future Business Opportunities

February 4, 2005

On Feb. 4, 2005, Jerome Glenn, director of the Millennium Project at the American Council for the United Nations University, presented "Long Range Global Challenges and the Implications for Business," which offered the following excerpts:  

  • Information warfare, or the manipulation of information for the purpose of gaining a competitive advantage over others, will be a common business practice worldwide. Even NGOs may use information warfare as a means of winning support.
  • Societies may have a better way to solve problems in the future: the transinstitution. A transinstitution is an organization made up of representatives from the following categories: government, for- and nonprofit organizations, individuals, universities and the United Nations as well as other international organizations. An equal share of responsibility and financial ownership for each group ensures that any decision reached is unbiased.
  • Without massive intervention in the third world, the poor will continue to immigrate to developed countries at an increasing rate, changing economic climates.
  • The digital gap is closing, with the number of Internet users in the undeveloped world approaching that of the developed world. The current ratio of Internet users in the developed world to the number of users in the undeveloped world is 1.7-to-1.
  • Human beings may have consumed more natural resources in the past 50 years than in all years previous. The number of individuals in the middle class will continue to increase, thereby accelerating consumption.
  • Innovations in nanotechnology, or the branch of knowledge concerned with the materials at the molecular level, will improve efficiency in all areas of life. Scientists will learn how to manufacture every kind of structure—customized for specific purposes—molecule by molecule.
  • By 2050, the world's population will likely increase by 3 billion people. New business opportunities will exist in food production and water distribution systems.
  • By 2100, there may be 1 billion fewer people than today. Businesses may need to shift their focus from previous priorities.
  • Without a major breakthrough in AIDS research, the majority of Africa's business leaders will be killed by the disease within 30 years. It may become necessary for corporations to "re-colonize."
  • Innovations in medicine may actually reduce health-care spending. Genetic engineering combined with highly specific drugs may eliminate most serious diseases. Scientists will be able to replace aging or diseased tissue with healthy tissue, bringing us one step closer to biological immortality.


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