1. A Hollywood slowdown
The success of the #metoo campaign in surfacing female harassment strikes deep into major film studios around the world during 2018. Whether through public exposure, or private pressure, many of the accused choose to resign or are forced to step down. This leads to regular production delays and a noticeable slowdown in output and hence poor commercial results for many studios. The net result is that studios start to change their production model, with heavy vetting of those involved. Directors, producers and actors are forced to take out insurance policies indemnifying the studios against harassment lawsuits and the costs of any production delays.
2. AI lawyers
A range of search, analysis, and contract drafting tasks are already being automated and this will continue to increase in 2018. The use of AI across sectors might challenge existing regulations and lead to a whole raft of new legal precedent work requiring expert input. Over the next decade the elimination of the potential for human error would decrease the number of legal disputes. Robot-lawyers are already overturning parking tickets in the UK and US.
3. The Queen abdicates
In a move which shocks the media, Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand announces that she is abdicating the throne in 2018 in favour of her son Prince Charles. The Queen indicates that she would like to slow down, spend more time with her husband Prince Philip, and act in an advisory capacity to the new King Charles.
The first robot will be fielded as a political candidate somewhere in the world in 2018 – probably by a fringe party. In the next few years, the first robot MP will take their seat in a national Parliament, consulting and polling their electorate electronically in real time via the internet before every vote and displaying a 100% attendance record.
5. Trump and Kim play cards
Brinkmanship is dialed down dramatically in the second half of 2018, after direct threats from President Trump to annihilate North Korea. In a bizarre turn of events, a meeting is brokered between President Trump and President Kim Jong-un in Japan. Kim Jong-un insists that the leaders play poker to ‘break the ice’ – believing Trump to be beatable. While the result is never officially released by the US, North Korean TV claims it as the first of many victories in the meeting.
6. Bankrupt nations
The perilous state of Zimbabwe’s economy becomes more apparent post-Mugabe. The nation’s leaders turn to South Africa for support in late 2018 and Zimbabwe effectively becomes a protectorate. A similar pattern is repeated around the world with more than 20 bankrupt or failing countries adopting similar arrangements under the instruction and supervision of the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and United Nations.
7. Sterling-dollar parity
The continued strength of the US economy, a favorable stock market response to President Trump’s tax plans, and chaotic uncertainty around Brexit all serve to drive down the value of the pound to parity with the US dollar during 2018.
8. Zero growth nation
UK growth will plummet to zero and below in 2018. Brexit concerns will see more companies leave the UK, while those that stay will rein in spending and engage in deep discounting. Households will cut their spending amid concerns over personal debt and job prospects.
9. The artificial economist
Around the world, artificial intelligence programs will outperform economists, analysts, and stock pickers in predicting what will happen to major stock markets, exchange rates, GDP figures, and bank base rates across the major economies by the end of 2018. Over the next few years, the number of new AI-powered fintech funds at first proliferates and then plateaus and declines, with most outperforming the market and some delivering unprecedented returns to investors.
10. Driverless vehicles hit the gas
All around the world in 2018, we will see pilot schemes to test fully autonomous electric vehicles on the road in normal driving conditions. China will be the first to actually have driverless cars driving alongside human-operated vehicles on a regular basis. Because these cars become a new status symbol, vehicle pollution in cities like Beijing will start to decline demonstrably as the growing Chinese middle-class flocks to purchase their first autonomous vehicle. From taxis to buses, trucks and rescue services - humans seem likely to be eased out gradually from these roles as regulations allow autonomous / driverless vehicles onto the roads.
Rohit Talwar, Steve Wells, Alexandra Whittington, April Koury, and Maria Romero are from publishers Fast Future.
Image credit: Pexels