UN Sustainable Development Goals
What: One of the most impacting moments of 2019 was the Greta Thunberg´s “how dare you” speech at the United Nations event requesting the world leaders to stop discussing climate and sustainability issues and move to effective measures to address it. United Nations defined back in 2015, seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and an Agenda for 2030, that evoked a change on people's mentalities and lifestyles.
Why: Because there is no planet B is the short answer. The important question nowadays is not IF those 17 goals are important but IF we are moving fast enough to achieve any and all of them by 2030.
> United Nations SDG website
> Greta Thunberg speech at UN event
> Gates foundation goalkeepers report 2019: Examining Inequality
> PBS article: Un climate action summit19 we can (still) make change happen
> Forbes: The UNs sustainable development goals aren’t just doing good, they are good business
> Smart cities: Cities are advancing the SDGs through collective action
Central Bank Digital Currencies
What: 2019 was market for the big discussion under the LIBRA project, a global stablecoin proposed by an association that has Facebook as it’s leader. That put more fire in the discussion of the role of the govie currencies (Euro, dollar, rembimi and so on) in a world where Bitcoin and its technology provides the opportunity for individuals or companies to create their own “currency” and means of payments, sometimes, on a global scale affecting different legislations.
Why: One of the ways to fight against this non-govie coins (some say the only way) is to digitalize your own fiat currency, and that is the path some countries will head in 2020. There is a great expectation for China to launch its own Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) in 2020, but there are plenty of Central Banks studying it, including the ECB. Although at first, it seems to be a simple thing, a deeper analysis raises a lot of questions depending on the architecture that is chosen. Central Banks innovation about money will be a great thing to watch in 2020.
> BIS paper on Global Stablecoins
> European Parliament Think Tank paper on the future of money
> Paper about retail CBDC
> News on China CBDC
> Basics of Central Bank Digital Currency (in portuguese)
What: The way we use banks are on the verge of changing considerably. Client centric and technology based Neobanks are the ones leading this movement. Successful cases of neobanks like Revolut (that has its second biggest office in Porto), N26 in Europe and Nubank in Brazil are examples of this movement.
Why: being the new generation that is more used to adopt new technologies, the increase of the communication speed (5G revolution) or the focus of the regulators on bringing competition to the financial market, the conclusion is that neobanks will definitely be in the news on 2020.
> Revolut in Porto (in Portuguese)
> Medium article: Could these 5 countries be cash free by 2020?
> Report on global Neobanks
The rise and fall of unicorns
What: Becoming a unicorn is a great achievement for all startups, but 2019 brought another side of this with IPO examples of technology companies that didn’t come to the end of the year in a healthy position (slack and Uber are the most common names in this list). Not forgetting the Wework IPO that was cancelled, and the company valuation plumped. In Portugal, we also had Farfetch with a year to be forgotten with regards to its stock prices.
Why: Is the market requesting these companies to pay more attention to the bottom line and less on the customer happiness and market penetration or was it just a minor bump? Will the startups need to focus more on the short term? Those are just some of the questions 2020 will help us answer.
> Global list of unicorn startups
> Forbes articles: The unicorn bubble is bursting?
> Observador: Ano recorde no investimento em tecnologia com potencial disruptivo em Portugal (in portuguese)
> Atomico: The state of European tech 2019
> Dinheiro vivo: Who are the portuguese unicorns (in portuguese)
AI powered Digital Marketing
What: All digital marketing operations are now affected by AI powered tools. From startups to large companies, everyone is opting for AI powered digital marketing tools to enhance campaign planning and decision making. AI powered analytics tools provide better insights for campaign management, budget planning and ROI analysis. It can gather insights from many unstructured and structured data sources in a matter of seconds, disrupting the way digital marketing used to be.
Why: Before too long, AI powered digital marketing will be the new normal for all companies. From customer insights to more targeted marketing campaigns, if your company is not yet using it, 2020 should be the year you catch up on it.
> Marketing trends you should know
> Medium: How is artificial intelligence revolutionizing digital marketing
> Forbes: how ai is revolutionizing digital marketing
> Entrepreneur: How Artificial Intelligence is Changing the Landscape of Digital Marketing
> Business.com: 4 must know marketing trends for 2020
The ethics of AI
What: If technology is supposed to turn the fiction futurist movies where the computers take control of the planet into reality, the algorithm generated by Artificial Intelligence in conjunction with advanced deep are the most possible ones. And it's on us to discuss the issues regarding the ways it develops.
Why: If we are to discuss the ethics of the development and research on artificial intelligence better sooner than later. The fast growing of computing process with the advantage of quantum computing will turn the development of artificial intelligence much faster than it was in the last years.
> Book: Life 3.0
> Mckinsey Report: The ethics of artificial intelligence
> Harvard Magazine: Artificial intelligence and ethics
> Fast company article on AI ethics: what everyone is missing
> Future life organization
What: The World Health Organization estimates that there is a worldwide shortage of around 4.3 million physicians, nurses, and allied health workers. Besides that, care is often unavailable where it is most needed. Since we live in a digitized world, it only makes sense if our infrastructures and services accompany our development.
Why: According to Deloitte, until 2040, the customer will be at the center of a health care system that’s shifting from responding to illness, towards sustaining wellbeing. Streams of health data will merge to create a multifaceted and highly personalized picture of every consumer’s wellbeing, helping to digitize our care services. Nowadays, health care consumers typically interact with the health system only when they are sick or injured. But in the future, wellbeing and prevention will be the focus rather than treatment.
> Deloitte: Six assumptions to measuring health care disruption future of health progress
> Deloitte: Healthcare and life sciences predictions 2020
> Nature: Digital Medicine
What: To use our knowledge of the living things of this planet to help us (humans) to survive or have a better life is on the core of the research done by the Biotech initiatives all around the world. This impacts not just us, but the future of species and the planet earth itself. One of the examples of this is the Biopolis project that started in Porto in 2019 and is expected to achieve great goals on those matters.
Why: Living forever and ever (not necessary like Dracula) is a long-life challenge of humans and one of the ways to achieve it is through studying all biodiversity that surrounds us.
> Biopolis project
> Labiotech: Biotech Portugal companies
> Biopolis: projeto que representa o maior financiamento atribuído a um centro de investigação em Portugal é desenvolvido em consórcio com a PBS
> Mckinsey Report: Biotech in Europe: A strong foundation for growth and innovation
>List of top 25 biotech companies of 2019
What: Although we don't pay much attention to then, robots are becoming part of our life. Robotics for many are either the robots from science movies or the ones used in car manufacturing, but there is much more to it than this. The development of empathy robots, are on the verge of creating new segments for their usage, being a companion for elderly people or a great help on your daily house cleaning to have them living and “caring” for us is just around the corner.
Why: Having robots on our day to day life will free us from most of the things that we don't like to do (laundering, cleaning the house, etc.). The more the robotics, associated with AI develops the more this reality is closer to us. For the ones that have seen Jetsons cartoon, 2020 can be the year we start to have Rosie in our houses.
> Boston Dynamics robot video
> Oxford economics: How robots change the world
> HBR: Learning to work with intelligent machines
> Medium article: How to make empathetic bots with emotion technology
Mapping the global future
What: In the last decade the economic and political power pendulum has moved towards Asia, especially to China, is not a surprise for anyone. But what are the implications for the word if it continues? The cultural and political differences between the USA and China with regards to individual rights will continue? Will it be key on the development of technologies like artificial intelligence?
Why: History tells us that moments like the one we are facing ahead of us have always been moments of great uncertainty and most of the time led to wars. But at this moment, the most probable one it's for us to face a cyber war instead of a proper military war. Is it already happening with US banning Huawei from the 5G developments in the US and the discussion on the drones made by the DJI.
> Fortune: The U.S. Interior Department Has Grounded Its Fleet of 800 Drones, Fearing Chinese Surveillance
> Foreign policy: Huawei China 5G race technology
> Deutsche Bank: Imagine 2030