On December 10th, Saxo Bank and Global Futurist Jack Uldrich came out with their annual black swan predictions for 2015. According to Matt Clinch of CNBC.com “the investment bank has been publishing its gloomy annual prophecies for over a decade. While Saxo Bank isn’t completely serious with its far-out calls, conceding they are ‘relatively controversial’, the firm does believe that imagining the worst could help investors navigate any real-life turmoil.” Likewise, Jack Uldrich has created a list of predictions that range from facial recognition leading to law suits to outfoxing Michelin-rated chefs when faux meats help novice chefs win recipe contests. “As a futurist,” says Uldrich, “I have the luxury of stepping back and looking at the big picture.”
Uldrich, a former naval intelligence officer and Defense Department official, is a renowned business trend expert and the author of eleven books, including: The Next Big Thing is Really Small: How Nanotechnology will Change the Future of Your Business; and Jump the Curve: 50 Strategies to Help Your Company Stay Ahead of Technology, andForesight 20/20: A Futurist Explores the Trends transforming Tomorrow. He is also the founder of The School of Unlearning – an international leadership, change management and technology consultancy dedicated to helping business, governments, and non-profit organizations prepare for and profit from periods of profound transformation.
Based on his research and eye for coming trends, (see his article 10 Game-Changing Technologies Poised to Transform the World,) Jack Uldrich made a list of 10 Predictions for 2015 that he hopes will give people insights into “broad technological trends that will impact the year ahead.”
Uldrich says, “The past year has witnessed a series of startling advances.” In March, researchers at Harvard used a 3D printer to construct a blood vessel. “It is an advance,” says Uldrich “that could prove critical in printing fully functioning kidneys.” In May, scientists at The Scripps Research Institute revealed they had created a new life form by adding DNA “letters” not found in nature.” The breakthrough, believes Uldrich, “could lead to the development of new medicines and new materials.” In June, the Fraunhofer Institute unveiled a simple fuel cell with an output of one kilowatt—enough to power a single home. And later, Lockheed Martin went public with plans for a modest-sized nuclear fusion reactor that might power an entire city. Uldrich says, “If either technology scales, it could end the utility industry as we know it.” In July, Google and Novartis said they were teaming up to create a new “smart” contact lens capable not only of automatically adjusting its focus but also of monitoring the glucose levels in a diabetic. Uldrich says, “Longer term, the lenses might be upgraded to deliver drugs and detect cancer.” In September, researchers at IBM announced they had created a new neurosynaptic computer chip capable of sensing, tasting, feeling, hearing and understanding its environment. According to Uldrich, “It is an advance that could usher in an age of new “cognitive computing” by allowing computers to function much like the human brain.” And in October, a paralyzed man regained the ability to walk after receiving a cell transplant.
Uldrich says, “Each development is an extraordinary advance and each heralds a brighter future. Alas, the aforementioned successes are still some years away from widespread adoption. This does not imply that game-changing advances aren’t on the near-term horizon. They are.”
Armed with the information of last year’s technological advances, Uldrich’s predictions for this coming year include a massive Tesla-based traffic jam outside of San Francisco, IBM’s Chef Watson using faux meat as a key ingredient in award winning vegan burgers, as well as self guided bullets being used in the war on ISIS and suspended animation being used to save US soldiers.
Another of his scenarios includes a leading insurance company being “widely condemned after it is revealed that the company was secretly using facial recognition technology to accurately determine the life expectancy of clients. Clients with longer-than-average life expectancies were being denied coverage. Shortly thereafter, legislation will be introduced prohibiting the practice.”