We’ll experience more technological progress in the coming decade than we did in the preceding 100 years put together. The pandemic has accelerated the transformation of business models, company management, response strategies, and customer service. Thus, to know for sure which of the forecasts will come true in 2022, we analyzed the main events of the past year.
Virtual work, yoga, telehealth, distance learning, online entertainment have become common things in 2021. We saw that software (like Zoom, Teams, and Slack) plays a crucial role in fostering workflow and communication. Innovations are designed with touchless-first or minimal-human-intervention principles. For example, travelers can use the contactless service at airports.
Besides, the main asset of this year was a biotechnological breakthrough. Thanks to advanced computer simulation and sequencing tools, we create vaccines with almost 90% efficacy in 10 months instead of the 10 years it used to take.
This pandemic has become a great accelerator of many technologies and innovations, and it made decades happen in a few weeks. Well, let’s look at the most significant events of the past year to understand what awaits us in 2022.
A new era of space exploration
Irrepressible Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, and Elon Musk are ready to invest huge assets in bringing futuristic stories to life. So, the period of 2020-2021 marked the beginning of a new era of space exploration.
Bezos’ Blue Origin, which developed a 60-foot-tall launched rocket, and Branson’s Virgin Galactic, which built an air-launched rocket-powered space plane, began to promote short flights into suborbital space for all comers. For instance, Virgin Galactic sells tickets between $200,000 and $250,000, which is the median home price in the United States. But they expect to see wide public interest in the near future.
Such flights could help not only to develop space tourism but to deal with the energy crisis through the use of extraterrestrial resources. Bezos also sees it as an opportunity to avoid overpopulation on planet Earth. By the way, the founder of these ideas was Princeton physicist Gerard O’Neill in the 1970s. Branson believes the way to travel in low-earth orbit could shorten the time of traditional air travel.
We also could see the first private astronaut spacewalk in 2022. Most likely, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson will not go beyond the capsule by itself. The flights they offer are short-term, and they will cope with it in 3 minutes! But Elon Musk is going to get out of his spacecraft into orbit with all the honors and stick a Dogecoin on its shiny silver surface.
While others sell tickets and promote flights, Elon is launching heavy-duty unmanned vehicles and broadband satellites into space. The veteran Falcon 9 rocket marked the company’s 13th launch of the year. It became the fastest space trash in the entire Universe. The Falcon 9 rocket accelerated the Crew Dragon capsule to a speed of some 17,000 mph. That’s equal to traveling 5 miles every second!
SpaceX began testing its huge and super-fast Starlink network in December 2021. This ambitious project is now available to those who live between 45 and 53 degrees latitude.
Elon is already building and testing the Starship and Super Heavy which NASA chose to bring the first astronauts back to the moon. Their launch should take place by 2024. By that time, the server will undergo further tests before they are ready for lift-off.
Also, a start will be made to privately funded long-term civilian missions to space. Axiom allowed experienced 61-year-old NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson to manage the mission, called AX-2. It will make use of a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule that NASA is using to transport its astronauts to the station. So anyone who can afford a ticket worth about $55 million could fly into space.
By the way, to encourage math and science education, there will be live broadcasts of research activities. For example, viewers could see some projects of the 10XGenomics company. In general, no one doubted that this year, Elon will wipe the public’s eye.
The virus will make humanity realize the need to save the planet
A century ago, no one thought about environmental friendliness. Technological progress was much more important. But when fuel resources began to run out, and anthropogenic interference with nature caused several consequences, we recall the strong connection with the planet.
Massive digitalization is driving climate change and an energy crisis. As already mentioned, to avoid the latter, the holy trinity conquers space. But what about the production of microchips, the use of ICEs, or plastic?
In his book How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, Bill Gates described possible ways to overcome these problems. For example, to stop the temperature rise, greenhouse gas emissions should be reduced to zero. This is possible if we switch to green energy. But such a strategy could lead to higher tariffs and affect the poor people.
The same goes for fuel: cargo ships buy it for $1.29 a gallon. Its eco versions will cost around $5.5 – $9.05 a gallon. But no one shipping company is willing to go bankrupt and voluntarily switch to biofuels.
At the climate summit in Glasgow, it was agreed to reduce global emissions. The biggest change we saw at this summit from 2015 was the focus on innovations. Two industrial giants – China and the United States – agreed to cooperate. Over the next five years, the use of coal and gas will be decreased around the world.
The workforce will become more valuable and educational programs – more dynamic
The ESG principles will become an integral part of the economy in 2022. The companies will be guided by ESG values when looking for personnel. So if you are looking for a job, be sure to pay attention to them.
When giants like Walmart, Amazon, and others made record profits during the pandemic, one of California’s most influential legislators had introduced a bill that would regulate warehouse productivity quotas. Thus, the rights of workers and janitors will expand.
Bill Gates thinks that during 2022-2023, 2D video calls will get a completely new look and become 3D avatars existing in a certain metaverse. Such communication will become an augmented virtual reality that allows you to simulate all the sensations during a live conversation.
When entering a university, the most difficult subject is mathematics. But student performance in it has deteriorated during the pandemic. However, this area has yet to receive as many suggestions for improvement as it has over the past year. The world responded with lots of exciting ideas (more than 400 proposals from 26 countries). The Bill Gates Foundation promises to finance 11 of the best projects. With time, the curriculum will become more flexible than last year and need the use of more powerful tools. They are intended to complement training, not replace it.
We will finally test the power of 5G and use AI even more
A new AI infrastructure that is undergoing rapid transformation will require large resources that 4G cannot provide. So, we will start building networks based on the idea of slicing in a common computing infrastructure in a mobile world for machines and humans. Plus, ambient computing will be everywhere, and it will be predictive along with self-managed. For example, 2021 showed that the creation of the Stretch robot by Boston Dynamics was transforming the trucking industry.
Last year was a record year for the number of cyberattacks committed. Security moves very fast, and it’s already hard to keep up with the threat. So, data specialists will become a priority in 2022. Nicolas Chaillan (cyber expert and inventor) announced the need to recruit qualified personnel who can resist cyberattacks from China. Once the pandemic dies down, CEOs will be preparing for a new wave of security spending.
Manufacturability will become the second name of 2022
To somehow rehabilitate its good name, Meta began to cooperate with other giants, such as Microsoft. They strive to integrate the two apps (Workplace, and Teams) to make the work of employees more convenient. And most likely they will succeed.
Digitalization has not only affected work or personal communication. It has become an integral part of art. Now, online and 3D tours are not new, but we were amazed about the creation of the first virtual Non-Fungible Token (NFT) artwork. “The First 5000 Days” by Mike Winkelmann was sold for a record $69,346,250. In general, digital art is becoming a trend, which means even more freedom for artists. It also promises the birth of the so far unknown crypto art market.
Healthcare will also embark on a deep digital transformation. The new viable model will no longer suffer from system overload and the data will be concentrated in cloud storage.
We will continue to live in virtual space so that cryptocurrency will become part of the spirit of the times. More and more companies will manage it through stock exchanges. Some will be able to receive a salary in bitcoins (like the mayor of New York). Elon Musk himself plays with us, but it is difficult to predict whether BTC is a transitory phase.
Long live the automotive revolution!
Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill includes specific references to bolstering the U.S.’s EV charging networks. The bill hasn’t been signed yet, but many forecasts boast an increase in EV sales. Also, the Glasgow Summit has become another factor in the transition to electricity. Thirty-three million autonomous vehicles will be on the road by 2040.
By the way, the traditional model of car ownership will also transform into sharing. But the prices for used cars will not fall in price as before.
The end of the COVID-19 pandemic is finally in sight. A biotech breakthrough awaits us!
Many people died from COVID-19 in 2021. It is causing concern that a new variant of the Omicron has emerged. But we can learn important lessons from the global response to viruses to help us prepare better next time.
First, humanity has achieved a real breakthrough in biotechnology. Now it will take a little time to release a new mRNA vaccine. The emergence of new possibilities for genomic sequencing and the computerization of drug production processes increases their efficiency and reduces the cost of production.
We also learned a lot about non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs). Masks, quarantine procedures, and other restrictive measures prove their potential in preventing the virus from spreading.
But throughout the pandemic, most governments fought disinformation. This will become a trend in 2022, as declining trust makes it difficult to tackle major problems.
In general, 2022 should be very interesting, because of a total revolution in all spheres of our life. A pandemic may also stop if a large part of the world’s population will be vaccinated and adhered to generally accepted norms. Robotics could make it easier for workers, the introduction of 5G and AI will speed up the pace of most tasks.