Future Industries: 2020 and Beyond

I have a cousin entering university who is contemplating her choice of studies. That led me to thinking about my recommendations of industries that have the future potential.

Here’s my list for fields with huge potential in the decade after 2020.

AI

Artificial intelligence remains the most power force in innovation. We’ve seen this in self-driving cars, in targeted social media ads, and in how Gmail inbox filters and email writing suggestions.

Genomics engineering using AI has huge potential, as we’ve already seen with the alpha folding research from Google’s DeepMind, which will lead to orders of magnitude cost savings in engineering cures for diseases.

Fintech

Can you believe that our system of money has not really changed for centuries?

With the digital revolution, there will be huge disruptions to the traditional financial system which we’ve already started to see with Bitcoin in its first 10 years. I suspect digital assets and currencies will dominate economic thinking in the next few decades. Finance and engineering will be the combination that leads to the new world of money.

Money is the root of all evil, but also the root of how a global society works. Without an economy, we do not have a viable social structure under which people can exchange goods and services and seek a more convenient life.

ESG

Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) is a term coined in Europe for sustainable and renewable initiatives. The potential disruption of Tesla and electric vehicle innovation in Europe and China will create many new jobs, but also displace millions of existing jobs.

Final Thoughts

As I was writing this, I realized that the common thread running through all innovation is technology. Furthermore, the disciplines that these fields cover include the intersection of engineering, biology, and economics. Cross-discipline fields may become more important in the future.

One field that’s also on my radar is space exploration. While it’s inevitable that the space industry will employs millions of people in 100 years, it’s not yet clear what the next few years will bring. Who knows, maybe SpaceX will be a company of the century sooner than we all expect.

Engineer + teacher + gamer

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