Drawing future scenarios: what will the world be like in 2030?

  • A.2 Multipolar confronting world. China has overtaken USA as global superpower, but remains being a dictatorship. Multilateral post WWII institutions (UN, WTO, IMF), western liberal values and legal framework are weakened as China builds a parallel system to exercise a growing hard influence worldwide, but specially in LATAM and Africa; USA and Europe react increasing protectionism while populism expands. Probability: high
  • A.3 USA as the lonely superpower. China hits a growth glass ceiling and stagnates as a result of the trade war with USA, that extends its economical and political hegemony in time, but suffers middle-term competitivity decline as a result of protectionism. Though, silicon Valley remains being the main disruption tech hub, and American universities are still in top of worldwide classification, attracting best talent and brain draining Europe and Asia. 2030 looks alike last Pax Americana period. Probability: medium
  • B.2 Green New Deal (2020–2050) is partially successful. Temperature increase is between ∆1,5ºC and ∆4ºC by 2100. We want, but we can’t change: though some efforts are made, the goal of limiting global warming in not achieved due to technological feasibility barriers (insufficient energy storage systems, lower EROEI of renewables) and/or societal reluctance to change business as usual behaviors. Agriculture, water management and tourism are highly affected by global warming, and extensive parts of Southern Europe and LATAM are desertified, global crisis becomes permanent. Probability: high
  • B.3 Green New Deal (2020–2050) completely fails. We don’t want to change: lack of awareness among citizens and corporations, and lack of coordination among governments extend the past BAU economic system. Temperature increase reaches ∆4ºC by 2100, and this global warming make extent areas unlivable: global instability results in warfare, famine, and thus migrations at an unprecedented scale. This scenario, as well as A.2, result in national protectionism and weakened multilateral institutions. Probability: low
  • C.2: artificial intelligence is able to reach some of our current expectations, and improves many business processes, but most companies and citizens do not benefit from those opportunities, as they remain in the hands of just a few tech players that are part of an oligopoly. Besides, income transfer does not occur, and employment destruction is not mitigated. occurrProbability: high
  • C.3: artificial intelligence fails to reach expectations and cutbacks in investments generates a new AI winter: digitalization is frozen. Probability: low

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Juan Murillo Arias

Juan Murillo Arias

MSc Civil Engineer by UPM, Executive MBA by EOI. Experience as urban planner and project manager in technological innovation and smart cities initiatives.