Future Pandemic(s) Post Corona Future 2020-2030: What comes after this pandemic, how does our life, the economy, work change …?how is it going on with our life, our business, economy, health, society, …? Here are my 4 scenarios as a futurist:
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Megatrend „Pandemication – Pandemization“
Post Corona scenarios & futures . the new beginning (part 1)
Read about the 4 new scenarios after the pandemic(s) crisis: STARTUP-BOOM (40%), GOLDEN-ZOOM (30%), ECO-DOOM (20%), SOCIAL-GLOOM (10%)
What happens after the corona pandemic, will there be a Covid-20, -21? How is our economy, society and our coexistence going? Many questions that should be answered here. On April 1st, 2020 I published my latest book “Future(s) Pandemic(s)”, which, in the middle of the crisis, provides answers on how you can survive with, after and without virus infections, save your business, secure your job and have time for family and friends. Will there be many company crashes, mass insolvencies, high suicide rates and that our children will lose body contact with others because the privacy has been extended to 1.50 to 2m? And will cashless payments now, masks worn in public as they have been in Asia for years – and virtual instead of real physical sex also become everyday life for western people? Yes and no, because like a big ship it takes 1-2 generations before you get used to and master these global epidemics and pandemics – without forgetting them as so often; and a new contact-free body exchange becomes everyday, e.g. over suits that astronauts and professional gamers already use today. Such sensor rubber and exoskeleton suits are already everyday life in Japan for lonely singles to the elderly to maintain physical and mental freedom – but this does not make it a killer application for long-distance contact for all of us, we are too different and grown up in another was for that.
And what does the future of the pandemic(s) look like, will we defeat it like the plague “permanently” or only temporarily, have antidotes or will we be exterminated in the end? As the viruses continue to develop and become more radical, there is reason to fear that the time after a pandemic is just the waiting time until the next. But because many countries are becoming increasingly preventive and prepared, the danger time is reduced to days. What is certain is that with the growth of our world population and further urbanization, such biological medical disasters will return. Urbanization is slow and small in Europe, but in Asia, especially China and India and Africa, more and more so-called megacities are emerging, i.e. larger than 10 million, and metacities with 20 million are more densely and more densely populated, with more space and resource consumption. There are already over 100 town locations like these.
And what will these mother nature’s biological weapons do to us humans in the future? On the one hand they immunize us according to the secret cosmic evolution plan, on the other side they warn us of our mortality and fragility. As we continue to grow so rapidly, we will soon enter the space age and live on other planets – we need immunity for that. Otherwise we are like in the history of many indigenous people (South America, …) who were surprised by the ‘discoverers’ and their diseases and who died from ‘harmless’ infections in an unusual and unprepared manner. The immunization of the earth’s population is a cosmological master plan, but not the extent and how long it takes us to heal – these are homemade problems of world research.
So let’s look back at the time today from the future, i.e. winter 2020, 2025 and 2030, and design an overall scenario consisting of 4 building blocks or individual images. There are and were rapid changes and slow-decelerated transformations, hard interventions and ‘softly’ creeping innovations, i.e. some immediately and others passively continuously over time, say in a short, medium and long term.
The first scenario is a fast and drastic one, namely the ECO-DOOM (20% probability), i.e. economic crash, system down, consumption blockage, culture shock, connected with corporate insolvencies, company sales, business triggers. Small and medium-sized companies become indebted due to the loss of sales, corporations stop innovations and new products, because in many cases the money flows into salaries and the social sector. However, this also creates equal opportunities, because whoever starts again best and quickly transforms and reorganizes the situation can gain market share. These are above all the online providers, digital business shops, virtual stores that will be among the new hidden champions and future winners. The overall market is shaken, restructured and partly re-divided in all sectors, and there are both weak and strong market shifts, e.g. on digital trade / e-commerce.
For employees and staff, it means that they have to adapt to many innovations and fear for their jobs because of the now faster-paced digitalization and increased use of artificial intelligence.
Because even if the second scenario of the SOCIAL GLOOM (10% probability) is delayed between gloomy to twilight zone – this will be after the pandemics harder and more sustainable. Because on the one side, many private households have empty the store shelves and so quickly do not need anything anymore or have spent too much house money for security and have to save. The vacation fund is not filled up as quickly as it was partly emptied; you either cannot travel yet, are afraid of airline bankruptcies or a new pandemic on holidays, so that it would be difficult or impossible for you to return home. A lot has been read in the media about corporate bankruptcies in the Corona period, which is why investments in private and business are very reserved. This hits the industry hard as a boomerang.
This contrasts with the third scenario, which occurs in small, quiet steps but ultimately with a big leap forward. In GOLDEN ZOOM (30% probability), digitization is making further progress. It is transferred from school institutions and children day care centers to homework, teaching and creative, as well as online games. Citizens buy more and further on the Internet and have it sent to them, which supports this with falling shipping costs. And also the employees in their home offices learn to design their work virtually, to organize and to do everything together with their teams in video meetings as before in the office – this completely and holistically changes the working world towards a new work culture in the long term. Since 2010, digitization has not really made any headway in Europe, compared to USAmerica and Asia, and has barely got off the starting blocks if you look at Alibaba, Amazon, Google & co. opposite compared, who are each market leaders in global online trading. This crisis is digging deep into the world of work and society, but it also makes teleworking socially acceptable and even more natural in professional life. This positive effect is only ‘overshadowed’ by the fact that the development of artificial intelligence is accelerated in the course of the coming cost pressure on companies, so that it can increasingly replace employees and staff.
And last but not least, but not at the end, but just starting the fourth scenario with the new STARTUP BOOM (40% probability). The current as well as new founders are in the starting blocks, are flexible in small sharing offices or operate from home, and are therefore flexible, yet innovatively capable without large R&D centers as well as competently equipped. They are the new hidden champion superstars, either in partnership with larger companies at eye level or as the upcoming new Facebooks & Alibabas. This further flexibilizes and mobilizes our working world, captures and mitigates the job cuts and creates an even larger network of freelancers, who together create new and next-generation medium-sized companies (SME) in their added value.
The future or futures are a VUCA interplay – the future is and will be even more volatile (V), uncertain (U), complex (C) and ambiguous (A); it’s a mindset change mindset and stands for a new beginning of our thinking, away from previous simple patterns. Like a phoenix from the ashes, new ventures from the corona darkness and pandemic sinking will appear on the surface and usher in a new era as the CoronaPlus (C+) generation.
STARTUP-BOOMing (40%) compensates or balances the ECO-DOOMing (20%) in the gross social balance sheet, while GOLDEN-ZOOMing (30%) bridges sustainable SOCIAL-GLOOMing (10%) in the long term.
Read in 4 new scenarios how we work after the corona pandemic, love and live: SOCIAL-DIY (40%), TRANS-POLICY (30%), HAMMER-DANCE (20%), SMART-DISTANCE (10%)
Post corona scenarios & futures . the drama (part 2)
If we look at the behavior and strategies in the business and private sectors, we see two dimensions, on the one hand an open field with cosmopolitanism, in it the reopening of the world (no closed borders, no travel stops, …) and the ongoing megatrend globalization. This contrasts with a closed system with border closings and isolation of individual countries to continents such as hard-pressed protection policies (sharp border controls, high tariffs on imports, trade war, sanctionism, fortress Europe …), which is hardly possible for a country to be self-sufficient, i.e. such restrictions and restrictions usually harm of their own economy most (see Iran, Iraq, Cuba, … as historical examples) as that they really protect against external dangers.
The second axis of good and evil runs between state full / partial control (big brother surveillance, …) or the call for the strong hand of the state (Russia, China, Turkey, …), the opposite side prefers a development in the direction direct (people’s) democracy to panocracy, in
If this SOCIAL-DIY (40% probability) functions as an open system between a globally open and self-made scenario, it requires the political responsibility of many citizens (example: Switzerland, …). In such a tendence trend and quiet revolution, many authorities are first decentralized, then dismantled, and ultimately a national / basic income is created, where nobody has to work for money anymore, but is provided with the basic necessities necessary for life. There would be a large number of mobile offices here, many becoming founders and creative people. I.e. we all work everywhere. This will be commonplace in the future with self-driving automobiles, when we no longer have to concentrate on driving, and move without a traffic jam and stops in autonomous vehicles in hypertunnels, drones or meglev / magnetic levitation trains to air shuttles. And this would also promote artificial intelligence, because if this replaces all workplaces, we will be able to do everything we want, virtually anywhere, but we won’t have to sit in an office or act in a production halls.
SMART-DISTANCE (10% probability) goes in a similar direction, but here you can observe a more private retreat on the one side (home office) and a more distant behavior towards your fellow human beings, the distance and privacy are reduced to 4 to 6 feet extended. The physical culture suffers especially children in the exchange of contacts when playing with others, no shaking hands, no kissing of friendship, no love kisses, hugging, and sex is limited and excluded – no permissions for prostitution or only practiced virtually (love dolls so-called sexy maids, petting software, online love toys & joy, long-distance apps, …). This may get used to indirectly and slowly over time with future(s) generations, but it takes some hyper generations. But there is a little more worry, fear and distrust in contact with other people in our everyday lives, and here and there protective masks like condoms become our everyday companions in pockets everywhere and at all times.
Since our penchant for freedom and self-determined democracy can no longer be reversed, the following two scenarios decrease over time, because we are determined by others.
The HAMMER-DANCE (20% probability) between moral ethics and law as a middle way between joy and burden are characterized by isolating boundaries (curfew, ban on meetings, avoidance of contact, …) and state intervention, quasi adaptively adapted to the respective situation and checked by experts. I.e. one loosens the restrictions in the event of a decline and barricades ‘immediately’ in the event of danger regardless of losses and high social collateral damage, closes and opens in alternation. Since this interferes deeply and widely with people’s privacy, it is a tolerated but not accepted nor acceptable, an unwillingly accepted and undesirable political instrument of resilience.
Rather, in the fourth and last scenario TRANS-POLICY (30% probability), foreign and domestic policy is carried out in a globally controlled manner and expanded to include health systems. In addition to border controls, there are health checks at airports and borders with a division into risky and safe countries, as is already the case according to the assessment of the political stability of a country, an A to AAAAA rating system for ‘health creditworthiness’. I.e. as with a filter system, all inflows and outflows of goods and people are not only checked occasionally, but continuously. This is a semi-open, semi-closed system – depending on the perspective. And this will surely act and divide more into zones (Europe), Asia, Northern / Southern Europe, Africa than before. The disadvantage, as with all previous controls, is the longer distances and longer waiting times. But this is already being reduced today by body scanners at airports, which are supplemented by health radar.
This scenario also helps that researchers and scientists worldwide, who can jointly research solutions and countermeasures, and that the solidarity-based help of the world community (UN, relief and emergency funds, etc.) is retained.
Our global community on a large scale, like our society on a small scale, is becoming more free, more democratic, more responsible, but at the price of more fear of the future and contact body anonymity, the resiliently beneficial SOCIAL DIY Doing-It-Yourself (40%) of the we-determine-everything- itself dominates and is supported by a more transparent-transformer-transitive TRANS-POLITIZATION (30%) until its withdrawal, the unpopular HAMMER-DANCE bidding laws (20%) are tolerated until then, which SMART-DISTANCing (10%) leaves behind multicultural scars and social traces, but does not dominate us. The respective pairs SOCIAL-DIY and TRANS-POLICY such as SMART-DISTANCE and HAMMER-DANCE are like the inseparable 2 sides of a coin, a double-edged sword of Damocles, a dodgy Janus face and at times a seemingly harmonious Yin & Yang.
Post corona scenarios & futures . the finale (part 3)
According to the classic question of whether you can predict or anticipate the future, I usually say that you can foretell or forecast the futures (not the same like scenarios). It is not the psychology of fortune telling, but the preview research of futures sciences. And thanks to artificial intelligence and its simulations and prognosis, this has become faster, more effective, more evident, and more efficient.
Every future has many scenarios, but not every scenario has (one) future. I know that I do not know has become we know everything is possible. Pandemics and epidemics are historically nothing new, but they also follow our megatrends, such as globalization, urbanization, mobility, … The “pandemization” is anthropologically a worldwide immunization process of the cosmis universe evolution, and a symbol of the age of the Anthropocene, the epoch of humans as an influencing factor of all earth planet development(s).
What comes after the pandemic – how should it go on?
First of all, there will be an ad-hoc return to everyday normality until the daily grind, as is so often the case after negative headlines. We are now, unfortunately, used to quickly forget or ignore panic news, be it food scandals (eggs, rotten meat, …) or storm victims. And we are only too happy to displace unpleasant things, such as cancer warnings on smoking boxes, and hide them according to the motto that happens to me-nothing. However, this is not a step backwards into forgetting self-denial, but is important for social and emotional stability. But little by little, from one generation to the next (X, Y, Z, Corona-Plus C +, …), a lot will change in a sustainable, long-term and permanent way, as global society is like a big ship that takes a long time to turn and change direction , but then continuously makes its way.
What is the outlook – Outlook – for 2020 to 2030?
In the scenarios TRANS-POLICY (30%) by the state and SOCIAL-DIY (40%) driven by the citizens, forward-looking futures can be seen for our world after Corona 19-20 and before Covid 21. The citizens take over the tasks of the state bit by bit self-organization and governments are increasingly being replaced by artificial intelligence and the technocrats are taking control of the central task. The more direct democracy regulates and enables everyone to participate in all community and overall social projects and decisions. Scenarios such as HAMMER-DANCE (20%) and SMART-DISTANCE (10%) are integrated into the coordination processes and advice systems and are therefore the result from the inside instead of from above.
As a result, the economy follows consumers and citizens. Artificial intelligence (AI) made unconditional basic income possible for everyone, and so a new wave of start-ups started. This STARTUP-BOOMing (40%) offset the gross social balance of the global economic crises 2020 and 2030, and so the economic crash, the ECO-DOOMing (20%), was softer than feared. After or with the digital age of GOLDEN ZOOMing (30%), the bio age epoch grew, and both promoted and expanded as a result. Through AI, the biological age was higher for most thanks to individual medicine, which our bodies use & fill with energy and vitamins, food, water and medicine provided as needed.
More and more could be 120 years and older, and mortality from common diseases (heart, cancer, …) decreased due to counter-medications such as preventive medicine. The AI also made it possible to clone organs so that no one had to wait for them, nor was organ trading necessary. And through artificial reproduction like 3D printers, food could be produced at home and SOCIAL-GLOOMing (10%), i.e. make consumers’ moods and unhappyness disappear; because you no longer had to go to a supermarket or shop – they disappear by-time – everything was automatically ordered and delivered online. Anti-aging (geriatric age-appropriate medicine), organic organ engineering, designer babies, copy clones and more will be the revolutionary results of the bio-tech era.
Our earth life is not an earthquake and remains an experience, and knows more progress instead of way back, it is in the end a challenge that takes us to higher dimensions with space travel and colonization of other exo-planets (living worlds) and prepares us for them.
The “pandemization is another megatrend such as globalization, urbanization, mobility, human-artificial super-intelligences to digital virtualization of all areas of work and life.
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Author of the article as of the book: Roman Retzbach (R.Retzbach@Future-Institute.com; R.Retzbach@ZukunftsInstitut.com) is a futurist for over 30 years and speaker of the Future.Institute, a global network of futures organizations.
:: Future.Institute│ Future.University │ ZukunftsInstitut │ Future.Intelligence was founded 1920 in Germany, starting 1988 to be worldwide in all metacities. Today it’s a global organization & network of future experts. We’re all professional futurologists (ProFuturists).
Roman Retzbach is a German professional futurist & chairman. As an international futurologist, he lives and works in Germany, and has been in the United States and China for many years. His research topics are the future sciences and futures studies.