The Year in 2022 - What To Expect
A sneak peek into the do's, boo's and savvy predictions for a less crappy year
2021 was a humdinger of a year. A year of pandemic, flooding, wildfire and famine. So... not biblical? Yet, it was also a year punctuated with positives - vaccines, space jaunts, NFT's and Freeing Britney. Oh, wait… It was also littered with lockdowns, COP's, logjams, no.10 parties and a soon to be neutered Roe v. Wade. The bar could not have been set much lower.
Thank goodness the end of 2021 draws nigh and we can look forward to a better, shinier new year.
Or can we?
Here's our sneak peek into 2022. The do's and boo's and general predictions and prayers for a vaguely improved future.
It looks like we will start 2022 about where we started 2021 - a Covid surge and a vaccine push. It’s all nicely wrapped with a shiny ‘booster’ bow. The vaccine forward soldier on while the anti-vaxxers diminish in numbers. We’re stuck self regulating into yet more lockdowns, which we never imagined would rear their painstaking heads again - thanks to a freaking weird Omicron, a form of covid somehow capable of affecting all of us irregardless of the partisanship rancour our politicians seem incapable of soothing.
The latest mutation is spreading like a contraband jar of Nutella at a forced fat farm, filling already full hospitals to the point of bursting, sending politicians into a froth to distract us from price hikes, lost lorries and post petrol pump syndrome - all while stock markets smack down to earth and we shiver through the inevitable year end collapse of cryptocurrencies. Apparently we will run out of Bitcoins - which presumably means they're not immune to the truck driver thing either.
“The growing anti-Covid biotech arsenal will finally help us beat the thing back and start to plan for life more-like-normal from mid-2023”.
And yet, just when our local bar/pub/gastrovan is set to shut shop again, again, the spring thaw will kick in. Omicron will prove to be a bit like tigger - lots of growling but somewhat lacking in punch. We won't all die, just yet, (let climate deliver on that promise) and we will get all kinds of new Covid pills and therapeutics that might not include mouthwash ( are you red or blue).
Omicron will scare the bejesus out of us until we finally stump up the cash to pay for the rest of the world to get vaccines as well. There's nothing like a good mutation to bring out the checkbooks. In the end the growing anti-Covid biotech arsenal will let us beat the thing back and start to plan for life more-like-normal from mid-2023. Sorry.
We won't collapse into another pandemic induced slump but will instead realise that we have a while longer before the climate calamity. So, when Omicron is beaten, we'll get busy again.
Stock markets will march north once more, the price of oil will slowly taper off, inflation will get tamed and Biden will hug Putin just enough to stave off a world war. China might even help Biden because they will want to start one of their own. You know, once Taiwan’s pissed them off enough and the Covid thing's beaten. And it looks like the West’s mRNA technology will be key after all. So sinovax and sputnik will be looking our way again.
“2022 will get remembered as they year 'innovation' became more widely used by wily eyed politicians than ‘the new normal'”.
In the mean time, everyone's going to sharpen their game. The US because they've just figured out that their biggest competitor is China. The UK because they'll do a trade deal with anyone who will have them - and the EU because they have to prove the UK wrong for ditching them.
India, on the other hand, has finally cracked the latest imperialist wheeze called a national-tech-education-programme-to-end-up-running-Micrsosoft-Google-and-Chanel. And Russia keeps everyone on their cyber toes by hacking them to death.
As the leading nations begin this global competition 3.0 in earnest, they will unleash untold innovation across the globe. Indeed, 2022 will get remembered as the year 'innovation' became more widely used by wily eyed politicians than the 'new normal'. Thank God.
But the battle lines are set. And huge amounts of money will get thrown at topping the latest charts in the name of 'green economy', 'building back better' and ‘levelling up’.
While economies will gain, institutions will continue to wane. The anti-institutional mood is growing. Millennials are naturally weary of them, which might seem a little counter intuitive given they all work for Google.
Generation Z, on the other hand, is downright reactionary.
They listen to podcasts, not radio. They read social media sensations, not the New York Times, and they tik when we tok. They love the cult of personality and they don't care about 'big'. They dig politicians who are not afraid to break eggs in the name of a nifty little Instagram moment. It is probably not great news for the EU, the US Congress, the BBC or the Windsors, but is all up there for Matthew McConaughey, Elon Musk and Pope Francis.
Richard Branson is also becoming a reliable challenger fixture - you know like Keith Richards.
But the younger generations are also more angry. Angry because they can't afford a first time home because the rest of us drove the prices up too high. Plus they can't get a foot up in the new gig economy/zero hour/everyone-works-in-an-Amazon-warehouse world.
They're also angry because we gave them climate chaos which means that right when they will finally have worked long and hard enough to be able to afford a little two up, two down in God knows where - the climate storms will suck the new home from under their feet.
This anger will get vented at the poll’s, to the point where Donald and Boris will look like pro-democracy pin-ups compared to what's coming. It could be that the biggest existential threat in the short term turns out not to be Greta's woes, but democracy’s clipped toes.
One of the positives from this anti institutional undercurrent is that Web 3.0 will emerge. And this time around it will finally live up to Berners-Lee's promise. You know, an internet for the people and not just Mark Zuckerberg.
It starts with the unleashing of the creator economy. Its new apps helping writers make money building, rather than working for, a mini New York Times. Bands will generate cash directly from their fans rather than being solely caught in a Spotify vice. And NFT's mean the next Andy Warhol will launch a 'Factory' on the Internet. Bye bye Hauser and Worth.
Soon, every kind of professional will have apps and tools for them to go direct. Tomorrow's management consultancies will look nothing like McKinsey. Formula One will be in our heads. Literally… Because virtual car racing will take over. No more ear drums exploding by the pits. And the only donuts they'll need will come from Krispy Kreme.
Blockchain will become the backbone of financial services unleashing cryptocurrencies we cannot even imagine. The Darwinian evolution from barter to Beenz and beyond Bitcoin is gaining pace. Banking will be DeFi and new digi co-ops. NFT’s going on to liberate not just art, but content, media, memorabilia and more.
Everything is going digital. Everything. From 2022 there will be no such thing as a sustainably successful real world only experience - just hybrid or online.
Once Covid shifts firmly into our rear view mirror we will focus more heavily on solving the climate crisis. (It seems we're not quite as good at multi-tasking as we thought). Green political parties will gain power. Green movements will gather pace and green technologies will mature.
The next wave of innovation could be larger than ever - because there will be two waves: Web 3.0 and green technologies. The first rocking institutions - the second rocking our world. One of them alone would be enough.
“There will be a green lining. The people will take back control. They will unite to rally around change - at the polls, in the streets and with new climate innovations”.
But 2022 will prove to be a catalyst for change - because COP26 will not deliver on its promises and pledges. 2022 and 2023 will set new records for emissions, heating, extreme storms and climate migration. Data scientists will get even better at measuring the risk and cost of climate failure while climate scientists will continue to give us the evidence of our climate calamity while pushing harder than ever for tangible solutions. Combined they’ll scare the living daylights out of us.
But, there will be a green lining. The people will take back control. They will unite to rally around change - at the polls, in the streets and with new climate innovations. The millennials will fight for their children, older generations will fight for their grand children and generation Z will fight for themselves.
Its up to them to fight against getting co-opted by savvy oligarchs funding faux solutions. After all money clings to money and power follows money…. unless gen Z and the web 3.0 keep it real.
As the era of Queen Elizabeth II draws to a close, we will witness the emergence of a new, global monarchy. After all, in this post pandemic, post capitalist, post institutional and post fossil fuel world - it will surely be Greta who reigns.
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