Amy ZegartStanford political scientist
Amy Zegart is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and Freeman Spogli Institute, a professor of political science by courtesy, and a faculty member of the Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence at Stanford University. Her most recent book, written with Condoleezza Rice, is "Political Risk: How Businesses and Organizations Can Anticipate Global Insecurity."
Who will run the world?
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From today’s vantage point, the future looks bleak: Authoritarians are on the march, democracy is receding, China is rising, Europe is fragmenting, and America is spiraling into decline. But the biggest mistake analysts make is assuming current trends will last forever. They won’t. To understand who will run the world, we need to ask: What will run the world? There are six key drivers of geopolitics: geography, demographics, trade, values, military might, and technology. The United States has unique and enduring advantages in them all. Fifty years from now, global leadership will rest in American hands unless we defeat ourselves with domestic divisiveness and political paralysis.
What kinds of companies will be the most important?More responses to What kinds of companies will be the most important?
What will cause the biggest conflicts?
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Identity. Conflict has always been, and will always be, about “us vs. them.” But globalization and the information revolution are supercharging “us vs. them” dynamics in two ways—by enabling people with shared interests and identities to find each other and act together across borders at little to no cost, and by enabling small groups to influence massive audiences through social media and “viral” narratives.
How will people earn a living?
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Jobs that require judgment, creativity, and empathy will offer the greatest employment prospects for humans. Jobs that require pattern recognition and standardized behaviors—from manufacturing to banking to radiology—will be increasingly done by machines.
What will we eat?
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Food will be designed not just for our taste buds, but our microbiomes—the bacteria and other microbes that inhabit the human body. Nutrition will be revolutionized as medical research that better understands how the human body is not a single organism, but a colony of millions of organisms that affect immunity, disease, and longevity.
What forms of transportation will we use?
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Autonomous transportation of all kinds—cars, airplanes, and boats. We will trust machines to take us places more safely and efficiently than humans. Fortunately, no 16-year old will ever take a driver’s test again.
What will our most valuable resource be?
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Data. Information is what will power social interactions, trade, and war.
What will the biggest change to our natural world be?
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Severe consequences of climate change, which will include massive increases in food insecurity, human migration, and conflict over natural resources but will also open up a new promise of access to natural resources and new commercial routes in the Arctic.
What’s your best prediction for the world in 50 years?
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Online influencers will be a relic of 2019, and authenticity will make a comeback. But that’s probably just wishful thinking.