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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.

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Matthew Rugamba

Matthew Rugamba

Founder and creative director, House of Tayo

Matthew “Tayo” Rugamba is the founder and creative director of House of Tayo, which he started in 2011 as a college junior. Rugamba made it a personal goal to help grow and elevate Rwandan fashion on the regional and international stage. Since then, he has presented collections at various fashion weeks and had his work featured on the Huffington Post, Forbes Africa, BBC News, CNN and others.

  • Which country will have the most powerful economy?

    • If I were forced to pick a single country, I would say China. However, I believe that globalization and international cooperation will force countries to operate more as regional blocs, and I think we will see the emergence of very economically-powerful regional blocs emerging from Africa and Asia.

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    • What kinds of companies will be the most important?

      • -Data and data analytics companies: For quite a number of years, people have been saying that data is the new oil. I agree. In order for businesses and countries to grow and thrive, they will need to collect and analyze more data to optimize performance. There are a number of ethical concerns regarding the collection and use of data; therefore we will need to have agile legal systems in order to deal with such issues and ensure that data is not used for evil.

        -Renewable energy: The earth is deteriorating at an alarming rate. A major cause of this deterioration is human consumption. We need to improve and further develop renewable sources of income.

        -Food: Innovation will be needed to create more food solutions that provide adequate nutrients.

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    • What will cause the biggest conflicts?

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    • How will people earn a living?

      • I think we will see the greatest job growth in the creative industries and service sector. I believe that the majority of agricultural and manufacturing jobs will become automated and therefore governments will have to find new sectors to create employment.

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      • How will we communicate with each other?

        • I think that we will use fewer words and written text to communicate with one another, especially when telling stories. I am fascinated by the use of memes for communication on social media. Often, a well-used meme conveys a message or a feeling in ways that text alone cannot. Different languages have words that do not translate well into other languages, however facial expressions from video or photo are better able to communicate a specific feeling.

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        • What will we eat?

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        • What will we wear?

          • I feel like we are evolving from fast fashion. Customers are starting to look for clothing that has lower environmental impact and where workers are paid a fair wage. I think we will see the emergence of extra-slow fashion.

            Every two years, designers will come out with new silhouettes for fall and spring. In the interim seasons, they will sell dyes and other bits and pieces to transform the products. The original piece (hardware) is made from premium fabrics and materials. It can essentially last a lifetime. We will treat fashion almost like technology, sending “system updates.”
             
            A major culture shift is needed to convince customers to shell out a lot more than they are used to spending on a suit/jacket/dress. Pieces need to become more of an investment. For this, branding, marketing, and storytelling become very important. We have to communicate to our clients that an H&M suit for $200 has more cost per wear than something from [London’s posh] Savile Row for $4000.
             
            People will pay for this fashion with microloans. In Mauritius, the banking system is so advanced that you can buy food from the supermarket on credit. Now throughout Africa, people receive microloans on their phones and they pay them back gradually over time. Something similar can be developed for fashion outside the use of credit cards.
             
            People could pay for part of their new clothing with their older clothing. Perhaps we would need a used textile processing plant.

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          • How will we find love?

            • I think more people will use the internet/tech to find love and I think people will fall in and out of love much quicker. The internet/technology will allow us to connect with people with similar beliefs, interests, and preferences before actually meeting them in person. Improved connectivity will also mean that the pool of potential suitors has widened. More people may decide to date in perpetuity.

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            • What forms of transportation will we use?

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            • What will our borders be like?

              • I think that it will be much easier to cross borders within specific regions; however, we will have to trade more of our personal information in exchange. Authorities will be able to track the majority of our movements and actions within that specific region. I believe that hard cash will no longer be in use and people will be tracked using the paper trail of their financial transactions.

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            • Will our world be more equal or less equal?

              • I believe inequality will have gotten better. When you have more and more people fighting for finite resources, there will be more crime and uprisings. At some point, the top 1% will need to see that inequality will threaten their own lives and livelihood. While I would like to think that humans are more likely to help other humans “out of the kindness of their hearts,” I believe that we will see a bigger push from the top 1% simply as a form of self-preservation. People will be forced to innovate and come up with solutions to problems that are caused by inequality.

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