Canadians living beyond 100, flying cars, fridges that tell us nutritionally what to eat, bots as coworkers. These could all be part of our regular lives in 20 years, finds a new report from KPMG in Canada.

The 20 Predictions for the Next 20 Years analyzes today's emerging trends and presents a clear vision of what tomorrow might look like. The report notes that advances in science and technology are occurring at such a rapid pace that the world we live in will look profoundly different two decades from now.

"Rapid advancements in technology are making science fiction much closer to reality," says Armughan Ahmad, President and Managing Partner, Digital, KPMG in Canada. "Technology is redefining every sector and every aspect of our lives that will make us, and the planet, much healthier."

The report predicts that the next 20 years will bring a more highly connected society powered by ultra-fast networks and AI. "Data is fast-becoming more valuable than oil," says Mr. Ahmad. "Before the pandemic, companies collected data on most aspects of our lives so they could provide better and more personalized products and services. Data to inform where we go (maps), how our opinions get formed (social networks), who we love (dating apps), what movies we watch (streaming apps), what we buy (online retailers).

"The expansion of digital during the pandemic has accelerated this trend and illustrated the need and benefits, especially in healthcare. While wearables that track our heartrate and encourage us to exercise are beneficial, the next phase will see these not just on top but under our skin to give us real-time data that will alert us to emerging health issues, significantly extending our life span and improving our mental wellbeing."

As many as 78 per cent of Canadians believe "anything is possible" in the near future, finds new KPMG in Canada poll research. Over half (54 per cent) think it would "be awesome" if their car automatically chauffeured them around with 45 per cent expecting those cars to be flying by then. Over three in five (63 per cent) support medical advances, including changes to their DNA to prevent cancer, dementia, or another illness – and 67 per cent think that centenarians will be the norm 20 years from now. More than 90 per cent say we need a more circular economy where nothing is waste. As well, 83 per cent are worried about future food supply given extreme weather, pollution, and loss of farmland. Fewer than a third (33 per cent) are willing to eat meat created in a laboratory.

"The sky is no longer the limit," says Mr. Ahmad. "The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically transformed the way we live, work, shop and play in a matter of months, shifting our perceptions of how technology can be harnessed for good. The changes we've seen in the last year and a half will pale compared to what's ahead."

Canadian organizations have an opportunity to play a key role in shaping the future. Businesses, governments, regulators, hospitals, and schools will need to make fundamental changes to adapt to a rapidly evolving world. As many as 84 per cent of Canadians feel the transition over the next 20 years "will prove difficult, requiring leadership, outside the box thinking, a hefty dose of common sense, and investment" and over two-thirds (69 per cent) are very to somewhat worried about what lies ahead in the next 20 years. Over half (54 per cent) worry that humans will lose control to artificial intelligence and robots and 89 per cent hope that personal privacy and freedoms won't be sacrificed.

"With these new technologies will come an increased need to establish safeguards around the issues of data security, privacy and ethics," says KPMG's Sylvia Klasovec Kingsmill, Partner and National Digital Privacy Leader, who was recently named Global Cyber Privacy Leader. "Public support for, and trust in, these advances will require government, business, and regulators to build in stringent rules, processes and mechanisms to protect against abuse and ensure the public interest is served. The development of these safeguards will need to occur in parallel with the advances in technology."

In a world where corporate leaders are often forced to focus on short-term objectives, this report aims to start conversations among Canadian leaders to foster the blue-sky thinking that will be needed to successfully navigate the challenges of the future, adds Mr. Ahmad. KPMG is joining the Innovation Economy Council as its first corporate partner, collaborating on research projects that will help Canada drive growth and prosperity. The IEC is an initiative led by a dozen institutes and organizations across Canada, including MaRS, CCRM, and the Spark Centre.

"Canada's innovation ecosystem has never been more vibrant nor so full of promise. We need to protect and nurture the ingenuity and creativity that will define and strengthen our future," says Mr. Ahmad.

In KPMG's recent Global CEO Outlook, Canadian CEOs – more than their peers in any other major country – see technological disruption as more of an opportunity than a threat (91 per cent vs. 76 per cent globally) and say they are actively disrupting their industry rather than waiting to be disrupted (86 per cent vs. 72 per cent globally). The latter – actively disrupting their industry – is up sharply, as much as 26 points, from a year ago.

As well, over four in five Canadian CEOs (83 per cent) said they "need to be quicker to shift investment to digital opportunities and divest businesses that face digital obsolescence," compared to 78 per cent globally.

For nearly a third (31 per cent) of Canadian executives, achieving growth means their No. 1 priority is digitizing and connecting their enterprise (vs. 26 per cent globally) and 68 per cent are investing more of their capital in buying new technology (vs. 60 per cent globally).

Survey of Canadians on the promise of the future:

Agreed strongly or somewhat with the following statements:

National

B.C.

AB

SK & MB

ON

PQ

Atlantic Canada

Anything is possible. The sky is no longer the limit

78%

79%

77%

86%

79%

72%

83%

I think it would be awesome if my vehicle was self-driving and chauffeured me around in the future

54%

60%

50%

28%

57%

52%

44%

Flying cars won't be for the Jetsons anymore. They'll be real

45%

47%

43%

44%

45%

45%

41%

I would be willing to change my DNA to prevent cancer, dementia, or another illness

63%

69%

59%

63%

63%

61%

63%

I think medical advances will see Canadians live to be 100+

67%

70%

67%

58%

67%

71%

56%

We need a more circular economy, where nothing is waste

90%

91%

85%

91%

90%

92%

92%

With extreme weather, pollution, and loss of farmland, I worry about our food supply

83%

81%

77%

81%

85%

83%

90%

I am willing to eat meat created in a lab

33%

39%

23%

33%

35%

32%

31%

The transition over the next 20 years will prove difficult, requiring leadership, outside the box thinking, a hefty dose of common sense, and investment

84%

86%

81%

79%

84%

84%

88%

I am very or somewhat worried about what lies ahead in the next 20 years

69%

70%

69%

63%

71%

66%

75%

I worry that humans will lose control to artificial intelligence and robots

54%

52%

55%

58%

54%

56%

49%

I hope we don't sacrifice our privacy and freedoms

89%

88%

90%

81%

88%

89%

95%

I am afraid that in 20 years' time my job won't even exist anymore. It will be done by a robot or by artificial intelligence

43%

50%

38%

40%

47%

35%

44%

I am excited by all the technological advancements in medical science

87%

86%

87%

84%

87%

89%

78%

Science fiction is becoming closer to reality

79%

81%

85%

81%

78%

75%

85%

I would board a rocket and journey to the moon for the cost of flying to Australia

39%

43%

47%

36%

41%

34%

32%

Canada needs to invest much more in technologies that address climate change

84%

85%

73%

70%

83%

92%

81%

 

Agreed strongly or somewhat with the following statements:

National

M

F

18-24

25-34

35-44

45-54

55-64

65+

Anything is possible. The sky is no longer the limit

78%

77%

78%

79%

76%

81%

75%

76%

79%

I think it would be awesome if my vehicle was self-driving and chauffeured me around in the future

54%

55%

52%

70%

64%

63%

53%

43%

40%

Flying cars won't be for the Jetsons anymore. They'll be real

45%

46%

44%

43%

46%

49%

48%

45%

40%

I would be willing to change my DNA to prevent cancer, dementia, or another illness

63%

66%

60%

66%

62%

58%

68%

64%

61%

I think medical advances will see Canadians live to be 100+

67%

67%

68%

62%

67%

62%

68%

70%

72%

We need a more circular economy, where nothing is waste

90%

88%

92%

83%

84%

88%

92%

93%

96%

With extreme weather, pollution, and loss of farmland, I worry about our food supply

83%

76%

90%

78%

84%

78%

81%

87%

87%

I am willing to eat meat created in a lab

33%

38%

29%

44%

55%

36%

32%

20%

22%

The transition over the next 20 years will prove difficult, requiring leadership, outside the box thinking, a hefty dose of common sense, and investment

84%

81%

87%

81%

78%

77%

82%

88%

93%

I am very or somewhat worried about what lies ahead in the next 20 years

69%

64%

75%

68%

74%

72%

72%

69%

63%

I worry that humans will lose control to artificial intelligence and robots

54%

52%

56%

51%

55%

52%

57%

54%

56%

I hope we don't sacrifice our privacy and freedoms

89%

87%

90%

82%

83%

80%

92%

92%

96%

I am afraid that in 20 years' time my job won't even exist anymore. It will be done by a robot or by artificial intelligence

43%

42%

44%

40%

53%

42%

42%

42%

41%

I am excited by all the technological advancements in medical science

87%

87%

87%

83%

79%

86%

89%

91%

91%

Science fiction is becoming closer to reality

79%

79%

79%

73%

75%

77%

82%

80%

84%

I would board a rocket and journey to the moon for the cost of flying to Australia

39%

48%

31%

49%

51%

44%

45%

29%

26%

Canada needs to invest much more in technologies that address climate change

84%

79%

88%

83%

83%

87%

79%

86%

84%


KPMG surveyed 1,002 Canadians aged 18+ from November 1 to 5 on Delvinia's AskingCanadians panel through its Methodify online research platform.

About KPMG in Canada

KPMG LLP, a limited liability partnership, is a full-service Audit, Tax and Advisory firm owned and operated by Canadians. For over 150 years, our professionals have provided consulting, accounting, auditing, and tax services to Canadians, inspiring confidence, empowering change, and driving innovation. Guided by our core values of Integrity, Excellence, Courage, Together, For Better, KPMG employs nearly 8,000 people in over 40 locations across Canada, serving private- and public-sector clients. KPMG is consistently ranked one of Canada's top employers and one of the best places to work in the country.

The firm is established under the laws of Ontario and is a member of KPMG's global organization of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International, a private English company limited by guarantee. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such. For more information, see home.kpmg.ca

For media inquiries:

Caroline Van Hasselt
National Communications & Media Relations
KPMG in Canada
(416) 777-3288
cvanhasselt@kpmg.ca