Trends & Issues

Natural water tables are severely depleted globally due to agro-production, manufacturing, climate and population changes. Water supplies are contaminated with metals and legacy industrial toxins with long half-lifes.
Economic value becomes more aligned with human values. Enabled through networked micro-markets, microfinance, bartering and social networks, it is measurable and more effectively creates quality of life compared to mass markets.
As predicted, ubiquitous computing and ambient intelligence have permeated culture. But after 20 years there are still many bugs, hackers and poor human interfaces in our systems. The system works but is not reliable.
Urban planning lobbies fail to gain political clout, leading to accelerating urban sprawl. In most locations, this leads to widespread social disharmonies, rising crime, inter-demographic tensions and traffic gridlock.
Ecological and political dynamics along with technical progress have created an all-electric energy infrastructure, albeit more expensive. Source energy is varied but generation emissions are controlled at large plants. Users power everything with electricity.
an-American and European legislation requires all manufacturers (or brands behind the manufacturing) of consumer durables and all vehicles to take 100% responsibility for their products, cradle to cradle.
Global warming predictions prove to be exaggerated and climate change stabilizes again. Measurements in CO2 and other greenhouse gasses show rapid decline. The planet is rebalancing on its own.
Globalization has created a large and growing wealthy class but has left behind the poor and lower classes. Middle class populations still struggle.
The innovative public technology systems of the last 30 years have become the legacy systems of 2040. It is difficult to upgrade or change systems that now control our transportation. Rapid change is difficult and expensive.