From spending time in virtual reality worlds to sitting down for a meal made of bugs, our day-to-day life tomorrow could be very different to the one we know today.
Imagine if you travelled back 30 years and told your past self how the world would change over the three decades that were to follow.
From the overall impact of the internet – video calls, remote working, smartphones and that demand (or is it desire?) to be connected 24/7 – to the technology we have in our cars (cars that park themselves!) our world has changed significantly.
So, what could be on the horizon for the coming decade and beyond? We take a look at four innovations that could be coming soon to a world near you…
The Metaverse – welcome to a new reality
The term ‘Metaverse’ sprung into the public consciousness in October 2021 – according to Google Trends, there were barely any searches for the term before October and then, bang, it became one of Google’s most-searched terms1.
This, of course, coincided with Mr Zuckerberg rebranding Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram under the ‘Meta’ banner.
It begs the question, what is ‘the metaverse’? It’s being described by some as something more akin to a period of time rather than a technology, but it’s essentially a new, virtual world. A world in which you can – via a headset and touch-sensitive clothing – interact with people and surroundings. It could enable you, for example, to ‘virtually’ attend a concert in New York City, a sports event in London, or scale the Eiffel Tower.
That’s not all. Within the metaverse, there’ll be things to buy – and sell. From virtual ‘land’ to build on, to clothing and footwear. The likes of Gucci and Nike are embracing it strongly. Nike even bought a company that makes digital footwear at the end of last year – yes, really – and the company says almost seven million people have already visited its metaverse store.
Esports – a whole new playing field
Just in the same way that many young people across the world have held ambitions of forging a career in sport while playing cricket, soccer, rugby, AFL and tennis in their childhoods, many of today’s youngsters are hoping to win a pro contract playing video games.
Esports (short for electronic sports) involves competing online in video game competitions and is becoming bigger and bigger by the year, with various game manufacturers running tournaments and leagues for their own titles. So much so, in fact, that the 2021 League of Legends World Championship had a prize pool of US$2.18m, while more than 173,000 people turned up to watch a 2017 esport event in Poland – a world record.
As with traditional sports, esports is serious business. Players compete in local comps, hoping to get spotted by teams who’ll give them a go. Once on the roster, players will practise and train together. They’ll be coached much in the same way ‘traditional’ sports players are and potentially earn a fortune.
For youngsters today, the opportunity of making it big by playing computer games is very real. Here in Australia, a pre-pandemic esports event attracted more than 17,000 people to the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, where crowds watched players battle it out for the USD$100,000 prize pool.
Food – sustainability at its core
Over the coming years what we eat, and how it’s produced, could change dramatically.
The farming sector is focused on sustainability, and people are generally far more conscious about the sustainable choices they make in their day-to-day lives10, so ethically and sustainably produced meat, fruit, vegetables and dairy products will likely take centre stage.
So too, could, ‘complementary proteins’. These have been around for a while now with varying degrees of ‘taste satisfaction’, but over the coming years, we’ll see increasingly sophisticated ‘meat-free meat’ available. Plant-based meat alternatives commonly feature vegetable proteins from soy, pea, wheat or rice, and some even ‘bleed’ like real meat. The closer to the taste and texture fake meat gets, the bigger the decisions for the most committed meat eater.
And what about bugs? Yes, bugs. A report from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization in 2013 highlighted eating insects as a way to solve world hunger, and subsequently ants, insects and worms have featured on menus of some restaurants here in Australia.
Of course, in many cultures, eating bugs is commonplace, and there are a host of protein bars on sale today in the western world made from cricket flour – so food containing insects could well become a staple of our diet in the not-so- distant future.
Drone delivery has been successfully deployed overseas by the likes of Amazon, and here in Australia Coles is piloting a new air-bound delivery method in Canberra, in partnership with on-demand drone delivery service Wing.
More than 250 products are available for Canberra customers to order and receive in a matter of minutes, and if the trial is successful it could provide the template for how we receive our groceries in the years to come. There’s a host of benefits, including taking a potentially significant amount of traffic – and the consequential emissions – out of the equation.
Not to mention it would be very handy on those occasions you begin to make that morning cup of coffee and realise you’ve run out of milk…
Three innovations that didn’t make it
Of course, not all new ideas and innovations take off. Here are three that were much-vaunted at the time but failed to make any great impression whatsoever.
- The Segway: It was proposed as a turn-of-the-century alternative mode of transport, which would significantly reduce car use. It didn’t.
- The Fiske Reading Machine: Rather than handling large, cumbersome books, in 1922 it was thought the future of reading would be words printed on tiny pages and read with a modified magnifying glass – saving space, money and paper.
- Electrified water: In the early 1900s, water that had an electric charge through it was heavily promoted due to its supposed many wonderful properties – including the ability to wash clothes without soap, and cure your hangover too. Ultimately, it proved ineffective.
Our financial advisers Bruno Tjelder and Damon Zischke and OBT Financial Planning Pty Ltd are Authorised Representatives of Lonsdale Financial Group Ltd ABN 76 006 637 225 | AFSL 246934.
This is general advice only and does not take into account your financial circumstances, needs and objectives. Before making any decision based on this document, you should assess your own circumstances or seek advice from a financial planner and seek tax advice from a registered tax agent. Information is current at the date of issue and may change. This information and certain references, where indicated, are taken from sources believed to be accurate and correct. To the extent permitted by the Law, Lonsdale, its representatives, officers and employees accept no liability for any person that relies upon the information contained herein. Information is current at the date of issue and may change.