To be honest, the current situation is, with the corona pandemic again escalating, not that enjoyable. Austria is in lock-down, parts of Germany already following. For me the best way to escape the present chaos is to think and talk about the future — whereas the best way to do so is, at least in Europe, the 2bahead future congress in the BMW World Munich. Here is the place where future minded decision makers from all around the world meet each other and try to outline the most potential way of how we life in ten years and beyond. To spoiler one outcome right away: The major part of our future will be technology driven.
I decided to give a real short overview of the most important topics without going much into detail for all of you who did not had the chance to attend. This post will cover day one which mainly was about the metaverse, quantum computing, genetics, politics, and fusion power. Be aware, this is just my interpretation of topics heard today.
Let´s start with the metaverse which is well known since the recent rename of the Facebook company to Meta. The truth is that the concept of a metaverse is out there long ago and was not an invention by Facebook. A metaverse is more than just a new virtual world. If you think about e.g. Second Life, Minecraft or Fortnite, these are already metaverse invented long before Facebook had this “genius” idea. For future application of a metaverse, another model comes in to play. Instead of a complete virtual world the second model is about extending the real world with virtual elements which gives benefit in daily life (mixed reality). This may happen in form of virtual assistants for maintaining or repairing machines or just talking to a hologram of a friend living in a different place of the world. To enable a mixed reality metaverse a digital copy of persons, buildings, landscapes and so on is needed which is based on data of all forms.
What’s about quantum computing? No, this isn´t a chance for enable faster Bitcoin mining but to solve puzzles which can not be solved with traditional computing technology, like calculating molecular dynamics. As downside it also may be used to break every traditional encryption technology. The good news: technology which is resistant to attacks based on quantum computers is developing faster 😉. One area where quantum computing will give a huge boost is artificial intelligence which will be capable of doing better decisions in most situations than a human can do.
In genetics already a lot is possible. By analyzing your gene you can learn possibilities to get certain diseases, what sports are preferable for you and what type of food is beneficial for you. Editing genes to optimize humans will be one future application. This sounds strange for a critical European citizen but to be honest, if someone can remove “getting older” from your genes and you are suddenly able to live forever without aging, who would say no? Also creating babies which are free of genetic defects is possible. Maybe there will be tourism to China somewhere in time as their ethical standards may allow to create “designer babies” for you if you want to get pregnant? One potential downside: A new form of discrimination based on genes may rise.
For the role of politics, to shape the future of Europe there is not that much to say. Yes, we pretend to try hard, but are to old fashioned and risk averse to become any competition to US and China. Instead of joining forces to be a united and strong Europe which is highly competitive, every state is doing his own stuff and blocking fast development on European level. Yes, we are good in certain parts like engineering or green technology, but this is no reason to not catch up in other areas of technology. Dependency to other areas of the world won´t vanish that soon.
As last topic, fusion power gives hope that someday there is more energy available than we need. The good news: this would be a big gamechanger for environment and climate change removing most of the downsides of nuclear power. One truck of Deuterium-Tritium (the fuel of fusion power plants) can produce the same amount of energy as 14 Mio. Trucks of coal. Amazing. The downside: There are still 20–30 years to go till this technology is ready…
One subtopic was present throughout most of the talks and discussions: personal data. In metaverse a digital copy of yourself is beneficial. Data regulations blocking innovation in Europe. How would trust be achieved for handling and sharing personal data? How to compete in AI with US and China if we are not able to train AI with a certain amount of data? I liked all this discussions about personal data as it gives me a perfect base during breaks to introduce our MetaSoul platform, which is curently under development and should solve all this problems.
Day one of the future congress was amazing and, as last year, an eye opener. At least for me, it looks like future will be bright, which is a good vision in nowadays situation.
Here you find the recap of day two.