Top 10 Predictions for the Next Decade



Top 10 Predictions for the Next Decade

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nick Spake
Is the future bright or terrifying? For this list, we'll be looking at innovations, cultural shifts, and other changes that the world might see over the next decade. Our countdown includes The Rise of Machine Learning, More Diversity in Hollywood, A Decade Defined by COVID-19, and more!

Top 10 Predictions for the Next Decade

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Predictions for the Next Decade.

For this list, we’ll be looking at innovations, cultural shifts, and other changes that the world might see over the next decade.

Do you have any predictions for the next decade? Let us know in the comments!

#10: The Rise of Machine Learning

We’re not at HAL 9000 or Skynet territory, but machine learning - or ML for short - is becoming more widespread than some might assume. For those who aren’t up to date, ML is a division of AI that allows machines to evolve through experience, without being programmed to do so. ML algorithms are already used for filtering emails, improving search engine results, and refining our virtual assistants. Looking ahead, these algorithms could play major roles in the mass production of self-driving cars and self-flying drones. Robot learning may also see significant advances over the next decade. In March 2020, Google built a four-legged robot that learned to walk on its own via “deep reinforcement learning.” That’s one small step for “Rainbow Dash,” as Google calls it.

#9: More “Simpsons” Jokes Will Come True

We’re not saying that “The Simpsons” writers are all-knowing sages, but satire is known for providing a window into the past, the present, and even the future. As one of our most brilliant satires, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that so many “Simpsons” jokes actually entered reality this past decade. So, what other “Simpsons” jokes could predate future events? Optimistically thinking, a female US president, a sophisticated baby translator, and a consequence-eradicating app all sound fairly probable. On the other hand, an evil billionaire could block out the sun, and the UK may need to save America during World War III. Also, when is “smell ya later” going to replace “goodbye?” In any case, don’t expect “The Simpsons” to be canceled anytime soon.

#8: A Human Mission to Mars

Tech giants like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk have essentially taken over the world. So, it only makes sense that they’d set their eyes on the rest of our solar system. Bezos hopes that Blue Origin will pull off the first commercial Moon landing by 2024. By that same year, Musk is aiming to launch the first crewed flight to Mars. Although the SpaceX Mars program has seen delays, Musk confirmed on Twitter in June 2020 that 2024 was still the target date. Musk also seems resolute on sending the Starship craft to the Moon by 2021, and initiating the first cargo mission to Mars a year later. Once we land on Mars, evidence of alien life just might be the next breakthrough. Fingers crossed!

#7: Virtual Reality Revolution

If you’ve played “Half-Life: Alyx,” you know just how immersive virtual reality has become. Even if you’re not a gamer, VR might truly explode into the mainstream in the years to come. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s safe to say that fewer people will want to travel. Even if you are comfortable with getting on an airplane, some destinations may remain off-limits. Or maybe a trip to Europe simply isn’t in your budget. This is where VR comes in. The “Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass” experience allowed art buffs to take a tour of the Louvre. Now imagine being able to tour the whole city of Paris without leaving your couch. Travel aside, VR could become a commonplace tool for education, healthcare, and more.

#6: More Mergers & Acquisitions

Between 2009 and 2019, Disney acquired Marvel, Lucasfilm, and 21st Century Fox. Yet, even media giants like Disney have lost billions due to the pandemic. Rosenblatt Securities analyst Bernie McTernan suggested in March 2020 that Apple should seize this opportunity to acquire Disney. Although that probably isn’t going to happen in the foreseeable future, or ever, the lockdown has left numerous companies vulnerable. Meanwhile, retailers like Amazon are stronger than ever. Oracle, Twilio, and Zoom are just a few companies that Amazon could feasibly buy, according to Business Insider. There have also been rumors that Amazon might purchase the AMC theater chain. Who knows? Maybe Walmart will buy Walgreens, maybe Google will buy Lyft, or maybe McDonald’s will buy Yale. Hey, that’s another “Simpsons” joke!

#5: More Diversity in Hollywood

In recent years, there’s been a push for more diversity in front of, and behind, the camera in Hollywood. According to a 2020 report conducted by UCLA, the previous two years did see a rise of women and people of color in film roles. However, they also found that minorities and women are still going underrepresented in writing and directing positions. While still very far from ideal, Hollywood does seem to be moving in the right direction and the Motion Picture Academy may bring further change. In September 2020, the Academy announced new representation and inclusion standards that are set to take effect in 2024. If Hollywood takes these progressive rules to heart, we’ll hopefully see more diverse actors, storytellers, and creative leaders going forward.

#4: A Shift Towards Streaming

AMC isn’t the only theater chain that’s been hit hard by the pandemic. Movie theaters, in general, have become ghost towns compared to what they once were. Warner Bros. aimed to restimulate the box office with “Tenet,” although only time will tell if theatrical presentations actually rebound. Meanwhile, streaming platforms have been the primary source of entertainment for many households. Netflix gained 16 million subscribers in 2020’s first quarter and Disney+ has over 50 million subscribers. Granted, Quibi and DC Universe have both proven that not every streaming service is a cash cow. With the fate of movie theaters uncertain, though, chances are that we’re going to see more mid-to-low budget movies, as well as even some tent-pole releases, go straight-to-streaming.

#3: The Global Economy Collapses

Of all the predictions on our list, we really, really hope this one doesn’t come true. Given the global economy’s current state, however, the COVID-19 recession might just be getting started. At one point, more than 16 million Americans filed for unemployment over a three-week period in 2020. In June 2020, the International Monetary Fund predicted that the U.S. economy would shrink by 8% in 2020. The IMF also estimated countries that rely on European currency will drop more than 10% and Japan will drop 5.8%. While China may gain 1%, it’ll still be its weakest showing in decades. Overall, IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath is expecting a $12.5 trillion global economic loss by the end of 2021. Very scary.

#2: A Decade Shaped by Political Leadership

Since generations are often defined by world leaders, the 2020 U.S. presidential election will undoubtedly be a key factor in shaping the next decade. If Donald Trump secures a second term, Obamacare, civil rights, and even democracy as we know it may be in jeopardy. If Joe Biden wins, his administration will have a long road towards uniting the country. Of course, this is also assuming that Trump peacefully concedes. Whoever wins, the Supreme Court may never be the same, with the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and both sides of the political spectrum at war over her seat. As for who will run in 2024 and 2028, would you honestly be surprised to see Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson take the presidential oath of office?

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

The Energy Sector Transforms
We Need Renewable Energy Now More Than Ever

Please Make This Sealed Tube System a Reality, Elon Musk

Digital Regulations
The Internet May Look Quite Different by 2030

Joke #1: WatchMojo Will Run Out of Ideas
Psych, That Will Never Happen!

#1: A Decade Defined by COVID-19

If you think that the effects of COVID will be restricted to 2020, prepare for a rude awakening come 2021… and beyond. Even if and when we get a vaccine, there’s the matter of how effective it will be, and how many people will take it. A vaccine alone doesn’t mean a return to normalcy for everyone. In a post-pandemic world, we expect many people will still wear masks, especially on airplanes and in crowded areas. Since many companies have adapted due to COVID, it wouldn’t be surprising if many workers permanently switched to remote positions. There are numerous other changes to consider, but one question in particular lingers: will we learn from this pandemic, or repeat the same mistakes before the decade is over?