The Economist has come up with a good two-part video series on the biggest stories of 2019. I have posted my predictions for 2019, take a look at these and let me know what you think.
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Power suits, robotaxis, Leonardo da Vinci mania—just a few of the things to look out for in 2019. But what else will make our top ten stories for the year ahead?
Powered Clothing In 2019
power dressing will take on a whole new meaning when this strange-looking clothing hits the market. Not so much high fashion as high tech, it’s a suit with built-in power that will literally get people moving. Part of the wearable robotics revolution, the suit is made up of battery-powered muscle packs which contract just like a human muscle to boost the wearer’s strength. With the global population of over 60s expected to more than double by 2050, and retirement age increasing, there’s no shortage of potential markets. But don’t expect the suits to ease the burden on aching limbs and overstretched health services anytime soon – as these suits don’t come cheap. According to the manufacturer they’ll retail for around the cost of a bespoke tailored suit.
The year of cheap flights
2019 will be the year low-cost long-haul travel takes off. You’ll be able to buy a ten thousand mile flight from London to Sydney for around $350 and this is why. The world will boast two new state-of-the-art mega hub airports and competition between them will drive down the cost of flying. Daxing Airport outside Beijing is due to open in 2019 and will feed growing demand for air travel in China. Beijing already has one of the world’s biggest airports and for China this new mega hub will send an important message to the world. Rivaling Daxing as a national symbol of global prestige will be a new mega hub airport in Istanbul. Opened in 2018 it covers a staggering 26 square miles – an area larger than the island of Manhattan. And in 2019 consumers will again be the beneficiaries of a state sponsored economic push. But the low fares offered by competition between these hubs could be short-lived.
Stonewall riots at 50
In 2019 LGBT communities will mark the anniversary of a seminal event – it will be 50 years since patrons at New York gay bar, The Stonewall Inn, resisted police attempts to arrest them. The resulting Stonewall riots kick-started the modern gay rights movement. In many countries the laws that continue to allow intolerance and inequality have their roots in religion. But one former British colony has given hope to the global movement for change. In 2018 India decriminalized homosexuality and gay rights campaigners hope 2019 will be the year other former British colonies follow suit. In February Kenya’s High Court will rule on whether to decriminalize same-sex intimacy which is currently punishable with up to 14 years in prison. Campaigners hope that decriminalization could start a domino effect across Africa.
With GM launching its driverless taxi service and Waymo expanding its Robotaxis to new cities 2019 will be the year the driverless car revolution hits the road. It was hit 1980s TV show Knight Rider that popularized self-driving cars controlled by artificial intelligence. Since then, billions of dollars of investment have fueled the drive to turn the idea into reality. Dubai has committed to a quarter of all trips being driverless by 2030 and the driverless car industry will be worth a predicted $550bn by 2026. But the advance of driverless cars could be held up by a red flag – as in March of 2018 the first person was killed by a self-driving car. But manufacturers are confident that the inevitable progress of technology will win over the skeptics.
Celebrating da Vinci
May 2019 will mark 500 years since the death of the greatest polymath in global history, Leonardo da Vinci. Leonardo painted the world’s most expensive picture The Salvator Mundi which was auctioned for $450 million but he was also a brilliant scientist and engineer. In 2019 his art and notebooks will be taking center stage at blockbuster exhibitions. Leonardo sketched out designs for inventions that followed centuries later such as scuba equipment and the tank. And in 2019 another of his designs will be getting a new lease of life as a flying car becomes commercially available. The car flies thanks to folding helicopter blades which are derived from Leonardo’s invention the aerial screw. Leonardo was the original outsider. Five centuries after his death there are still simple lessons he can teach today’s divided world.
Augmented-reality surgery, moon landings and a battle for the soul of Europe will be major talking points in the year ahead. But what else will make our countdown for the top ten stories for 2019?
2019 will bring a whole new reality for some patients going under the knife, as surgeons use augmented reality headsets to help carry out operations. Doctors at St Mary’s Hospital in London are pioneering the use of AR to improve skin graft surgery. It’s hoped this technology will make surgery faster and safer for patients. Multiple images from CT scans are combined to make a 3D hologram which is superimposed onto the surgeons real world view. The AR headsets were developed from the technology used in a Microsoft games console but they now have life-saving applications.
Japan tackles tourism
In September sports fans will turn their eyes to Japan as it hosts the Rugby World Cup. The tournament will be more than just a warm-up for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics it’s central to a plan to transform the country’s economy. The government hopes to boost the number of tourists to 40 million a year by 2020 – 25 percent more than in 2017. Currently around 85 percent of visitors to Japan are from Asia but it is now attracting more Western visitors with far more spending power. In preparation for this boom a taxi company in Tokyo has organized a competition to test drivers English. The winner early started learning English four years ago and he’s seen a steady rise in foreign customers. The Japanese government also wants more foreigners to stay in the country. With famously low immigration rates and almost a third of citizens aged over 65, Japan is suffering from a dire labor shortage but legislation has been passed that will allow three hundred and forty-five thousand foreign workers in over the next seven years. But with the Japanese population shrinking by nearly four hundred thousand a year the country may need to welcome even more people from the rest of the world.
2019 is set to be US president Donald Trump’s most testing year yet when Democrats assume control of the House of Representatives and he comes under more scrutiny. Mr. Trump came to power promising to rid Washington DC of corruption and vested interests. But this could be the year the swamp really makes the president sweat. Top of the list for some Democrats is publishing the president’s tax returns. But it won’t just be his financial affairs under the spotlight – the real pressure on Mr. Trump in 2019 could come from the Muller investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. If the investigation supports serious allegations against the president then 2019 could be the year that the Democrats begin impeachment proceedings. But don’t expect the Republican majority in the Senate to convict him or any charges to even make a dent in Mr. Trump’s core support across the country So for Mr. Trump’s political opponents the real focus in 2019 is likely to be on who they choose to run against him at the next presidential election.
On the 20th of July the world will remember the moment 50 years ago when Neil Armstrong first set foot on the moon. In 2019 there will be new entrants in the race to return to the moon. Israeli nonprofit organizations space il hopes it’s Lander will be the first lunar expedition funded by private enterprise and other companies like Astrobotic in the US are also planning to get in on the action soon. Not to be outdone China’s Lunar Lander should also touchdown in 2019, making it the first craft to land on the far side of the Moon – But there is more than just prestige at stake and it will no longer just be men taking giant leaps.
Battle for Europe
The biggest story of 2019 won’t be, as some might think, the UK’s protracted divorce from the European Union. In 2019 a bigger broader upheaval is set to unfold across the continent ahead of the European parliamentary elections. Populist parties have shaken the traditional political order across the continent and are hoping to win more power than ever in the 2019 vote. It raises the multi-billion euro question what will all this mean for the EU’s future. Some of its supporters hope that populist forces could ultimately push the EU into reforms which will save it and the continents prosperity.
Nikolas Badminton is an award-winning Futurologist, Futurist Speaker, and researcher. His expertise and thought leadership will guide you from complacency to thinking exponentially, planning for longevity, and encouraging a culture of innovation. You will then establish resiliency and abundance in your organization.