What will the world be like in 2050? What will we eat, how will we travel and what will our jobs be?
If answering these questions seems an attempt at rewriting 1984 by George Orwell, a young woman tells us why we need to ask certain questions. Cristina Pozzi, 37 years, entrepreneur, advisor and angel investor, the only Italian citizen included in the World Economic Forum among 100 “young leaders of 2019”, has made the discussion about the future her core business. Expert in future scenarios related to the emerging technologies of this fourth industrial revolution, and determined to “educate for the future” by making complex themes accessible to the extensive public, Ms. Pozzi is the author of the book 2050: A (Fu)turistic Guide for Time Travellers (Impactscool). A journey that starts in 2017 and projects the reader into the possible technological progress of 2050, into a world where artificial intelligence, nanotechnologies, 3D printing and blockchain rule the scene. An all-round picture of what the world will be like thirty years from now, from medicine to transportation, from the environment to interpersonal relations, comparing improvements wrought by innovations and the subsequent ethical issues: will it be a better world or a worse one? What form of government will we want? What personal data will we be willing to provide? How much power will we be willing to give robots and cyborgs?
«I conceived the idea of a futuristic guide to the future during a journey. I thought: why not attempt writing it?», says the author. The book traces its roots to the path created by Ms. Pozzi with Impactschool, a non-profit organisation that, free of charge, provides educational resources for students, managers and citizens about the future and the keys to decipher the future. The style is simple and direct, and even complex themes, such as blockchain or artificial intelligence, are presented in clear and comprehensible words with a considerable amount of detail. «It is a futuristic guide for a traveller who is catapulted forward thirty years into the future. The vision I propose is based on macro trends and available data», says Ms. Pozzi. «But I have enhanced facts with a touch of storytelling. I’ve invited readers to adopt a critical attitude by inventing some “news” that conveys the idea of ethical challenges we will, most likely, be called to face. Musing over the future is not a matter of imagination but a reflection on our current decisions, which project us in one direction instead of another».
Musing over the future is not a matter of imagination but a reflection on our current decisions, which project us in one direction instead of another.
Regarding future professions, besides developers and data scientists who are now essential figures, Ms. Pozzi also considers philosophers, and assigns them an essential role as guides who will assist mankind in choosing the type of future to be created.
With a Degree in Economics, Cristina Pozzi has realised the importance of philosophy by working as an entrepreneur, a profession that has drastically projected her into the future. «In 2006 I created a startup that brought gift-experiences to Italy. We then merged with Smartbox. Running the company entails extensive travel and knowing the latest in the scene of technologies. But the actual spark was ignited during a course on genetic manipulation. I understood the impressive force of choices we will have to make. I enrolled in the School of Philosophy and realised that I wanted to become a “future maker”».
Ms. Pozzi discusses the theme of IT security, which will be increasingly central for the new professions, along with space exploration, neurotechnologies and gamification.
If decisions are made for a three-year period, we play it by ear. We need to extend the period to thirty years. It is not too late. All we have to do is define the trend by looking in the right direction.
«I am curious to see how the debate on the guaranteed minimum income will unfold, taking into account the competition of robots and the subsequent loss of workplaces for humans», she says. «Today, the most powerful technologies, from the use of artificial intelligence to understanding the world and making decisions using quantum computers and medical innovations, offer a huge competitive advantage. What is missing in this picture? The capacity to have a long-term view and to transform it. If decisions are made for a three-year period, we play it by ear. We need to extend the period to thirty years. It is not too late. We only have to choose the trend by looking in the right direction».
Without forgetting the daily work each of us performs within our sphere of competence. «We need to ask the right questions, ask many questions, without ever taking anything for granted or accepting anything on principle», she says. «Concerning the future, some study it in detail and others to a lesser extent, but nothing is established in advance. Learning and exploring the historical background is another essential rule. Because discussing the future also means looking into the past».