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22 January 2020

Just 20 years into the 21st Century, we have already seen remarkable changes that we could never have anticipated. We’ve come up with 20 predictions that explore what the next 20 years may have in store for your organisation.

Prediction 6

As technology evolves, we will gain greater abilities to manipulate our genetic make-up and to make modifications to our bodies to live longer and have a superior quality of life. As this concept gains traction, we will go beyond sensory and mobility aids to unlock superhuman qualities and strengths.

Brain computer interfaces (BCI) will significantly transform how we communicate, both with other people and with technology capable of accurately interpreting, storing, actioning and sharing thoughts and emotions.

Computer-chips in our brains will allow us to download knowledge and skills; these chips will be connected to the internet and linked to a broader personal profile that facilitates daily tasks such as payments and access to public transport.

Exoskeletons will become commonplace. These will assist in rehabilitation, helping paraplegics to walk, but also supporting employees with their daily tasks. Medical nanobots will be able to extend the immune system leading to longer and healthier lives.

We have already begun the journey to augment our biological capability, but over the coming decades we’ll see to what extent society will use technology to extend the human potential.

Trends in genetic manipulation

Impact

More productive and resourceful humans will be able to solve problems ranging from climate change and the lack of natural resources to how to eradicate the majority of diseases. But we will also become far more effective in our day-to-day lives and in our jobs.

Organisations will need to adapt to accommodate new ways of working and many industries will be profoundly disrupted. For example, current superannuation and insurance business models will no longer be appropriate as people live longer and healthier lives – and as human biology becomes largely quantifiable and is able to predict more and more health risks.

Society will change too, as BCI promotes improved connection and understanding between people through emotion sharing and greater empathy. Indeed, there will be a significant shift in the diversity of humanity as consumers exercise choice over augmentation.

There is also a dark side with augmentation driving a proliferation of deep fakes. For example, in the first noted case of an AI-generated voice deepfake, a CEO was defrauded of over $320K when he thought he was on the phone with his boss . These scenarios where technology will challenge the very fundamentals of identity and truth will likely expand as technology develops and is made more available.

Curious to find out what else could happen between now and 2040? Read our other predictions

KPMG does not make any statement in this article as to whether any forecasts or projections included in this article will be achieved, or whether the assumptions and data underlying any prospective economic forecasts or projections are accurate, complete or reasonable. KPMG does not warrant or guarantee the achievement of any such forecasts or projections. Any economic projections or forecasts in this report rely on economic inputs that are subject to unavoidable statistical variation. They also rely on economic parameters that are subject to unavoidable statistical variation. While all care has been taken to account for statistical variation, care should be taken whenever considering or using this information. There will usually be differences between forecast or projected and actual results, because events and circumstances frequently do not occur as expected or predicted, and those differences may be material. Any estimates or projections will only take into account information available to KPMG up to the date of this report and so findings may be affected by new information. Events may have occurred since this article was prepared, which may impact on it and its findings.

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