I don’t like talking about the long-term future much, as who knows anything about the long-term future? Nevertheless, there are some things that are obvious in the long-term future based upon technological advances. As far back as the early days of the telephone, everyone knew that the phone would move to video connectivity and, thanks to Skype it has. Just that it’s no longer a telephone. We’ve known that biometrics was coming for decades, it just took a phone to make it happen. Similarly, we’ve known that the City was being programmed and automated, it just took BATS Chi-X to do it.
I could allude to many other examples but, purely because there’s a clear trend happening that is quite exciting and quite frightening, I’d rather look at the most likely technology advance that will change the way we live, think and bank.
A century ago, the retirement age was set at 65 when most people died in their forties; today, we are debating the retirement age and looking to make it later as most people are dying in their eighties; soon people will live to over a century on average and, according to scientists, babies born today will make it to 150. What do you do for 150 years?
You grow up, obviously, but then work for 130 years? Well no, you’ll spend the last 20 or 30 years having body part replacements using robotics or 4D-printed body matter. Alternatively, you’ll have nanobots running around your insides genetically modifying your cell matter to eradicate that cancer or dementia that’s been indefinite by your biodoc robot.
150 years of life. 110 years of active life minimum. 110 years of what active life?
Obviously a challenging one as the babies born today will be coming into the job markets in 2035. However, the good news is that there will be less babies. Or is that bad news?
By 2035, there will still possibly be around 7 billion people or more on the planet, with every person getting older every day through age extending medicines and treatments. Equally, as the majority of the aging population aren’t working, own their own home and no longer will pay taxes; the new workforce be working hard to pay taxes to support the retired workforce.
Home ownership may be a thing of the past, as all property is too costly to afford for new workers, so a mortgage market disappears into a market of rental only. And saving for a pension probably has to start on day one, as it’ll take a century to build enough of a pension pot to afford to retire on.
Possibly, but it’s more a change of thinking than a depressing prospect. Changing thinking on mortgages, savings, investments, pensions … everything.
There’s a raft of things that relate to this, and lots of scholarly articles predicting doom and gloom or happiness and wealth, but you can take your own view. The key will be changing thinking regardless.