We asked some of the boldest thinkers what the world will be like in 50 years. Here’s what their answers tell us about the future.
Craig NewmarkFounder, Craig Newmark Philanthropies
Craig Newmark is a web pioneer and philanthropist. Best known for founding the online classified ads service craigslist, Newmark works to connect people and drive civic engagement. He founded Craig Newmark Philanthropies to advance people and organizations in areas that include trustworthy journalism and information security, voter protection, women in technology, and veterans and military families.
What kinds of companies will be the most important?
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Successful companies will go beyond the bottom line and be gauged by the value they bring to the communities they operate in. Social change and overall impact will be the barometer of success and, through that, we will see organizations taking on and impacting bigger issues, like climate change.
How will we communicate with each other?
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Online communication will remain dominant, and social media platforms will still lead in this sector. Disinformation, deception, harassment, and user-privacy concerns will be issues of the past thanks to news organizations and watchdog groups working together.
What kinds of stories will we tell?
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The stories we share will recall how, as a society, we were able to harness tech to serve the greater good. We will remember, but not miss, a world in which we were uncertain of our cybersecurity and of the veracity of online information.
How will we get information?
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Just like the present day, our main source of news, media, and information will come from the internet. However, we will no longer worry about the authenticity of our news, and have normalized fact-checking tools that ensure the transparency and truthfulness of the media.
I also predict that online outlets will be smaller and more localized, circulating information tailored to communities and their particular civic, social, and political circumstances. This local journalism will inform and inspire communities to advocate for changes they want to see in their niche areas.
What forms of transportation will we use?
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Public transportation has the potential to grow in importance and be used throughout the US. In addition to its environmental and logistical benefits, public forms of transportation have immense potential for technological innovation. The positive impact we can create as a community driven by public transportation is one we cannot overlook.
What will cities be like?
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People will have more opportunities to choose what kind of city they might live in, from big-city skyscraper life, like in New York City’s midtown, to urban villages like San Francisco’s Cole Valley, or small-city life with large-city amenities.
Will we have ventured to other planets?
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I sure hope so, because, nerd.
What will our most valuable resource be?
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In 2070, one of our most valuable resources will still be truthful information. Authentic information brings an invaluable resource to the viability of our society and democracy. Ensuring that people have access to trustworthy news sources is crucial to our ability to be engaged and informed voters. However, the importance of truthful information scales up and affects the most powerful decision-makers of our world.
What technology will bring about the biggest change in society?
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In 50 years, technology will have a new normal where the goal is not to get rich but to develop products that do good for all people—where companies are transparent and operate by the Golden Rule: Treat others like you want to be treated.
What’s your best prediction for the world in 50 years?
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I imagine that by 2070, we will have made strides in specific areas including women in tech, trustworthy journalism, and voter security. With advances in each of these sectors, society will advance as a whole.