When looking at futurology, it is easy to get caught up in the world of super AI, flying cars, mega cities, but the overlying trend of the 21st Century is one of Decentralization & Disintermediation – this is the trend that is underpinning all the others and seems to be the most fascinating of all.
The internet has been the key driver to this, our first decentralised utility, and almost everything the internet touches it starts to change under their influence; knowledge (in it’s broadest sense) used to be under the control of traditional gate-keepers that used to pick and choose what came to light and what people would learn – newspapers, libraries, universities, music industry, etc – knowledge has become available to all that choose to read it.
Iif you follow through, as a train of thought, Decentralization & Disintermediationhas a whole range of effects on upcoming technological advancements and change – decentralized energy production is already becoming more commonplace with the improving of solar panels and coming off the grid, decentralized industrial production through accessible 3D printing and potentially nano printers, cheap decentralized education and healthcare (think MOOC’s/Khan Academy & AI Doctors such as Watson), decentralized money (think one of the many blockchain currencies) – everything points to the days of all powerful centralized states being in the past.
The fading of importance of centralization & centralized bodies in our lives will be one of the defining features of the 21st century.
It is how the current powers rise up to retain their centralized power which is going to be the key, they won’t be able to hold onto their power forever.