Although the two “black swans,” namely the coronavirus pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war, have deeply shaken the global eco-political system, the five main megatrends that shape the rivalry between the Atlantic and Asia-Pacific are still on the international agenda.
The first is “hypersonic digitization.” We are talking about a software and hardware revolution based on the “internet of everything,” from artificial intelligence (AI) to quantum computers, intelligent devices to sensors, cryptocurrencies to blockchain, and user-friendly applications to wearable technologies.
The second is “sustainable development and the newly emerging middle class.” In particular, the new middle class rising in Asia and Africa has increased expectations based on sustainable development for better living conditions. Seventeen elements of this sustainable development are the responsibility of the whole world.
The sustainable development approach is a strong megatrend, but we also should remember the third megatrend related to it, the “green and smart transformation.” The surface and underground resources, indispensable to produce the goods and services necessary to meet our unlimited needs, are now even more inadequate for the world population reaching over 8 billion. For this reason, we need to focus on a process based on green energy, zero waste and net-zero carbon. We also need to focus on a process in which every stage and every moment of daily life, production of goods and services, will be carried out based on intelligent management because we will either embrace the green and innovative transformation as a megatrend, or we will be unable to prevent the Earth’s temperature rise from exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) and dragging it into an irreparable catastrophe.
If we cannot prevent it, then the megatrend that the civilization is dealing with will not be a green and intelligent transformation but climate change, which has caused and will cause significant damage to every part of the Earth, from drought to giant storms. This brings us to the fourth megatrend: The “mobility and the revolutionary new generation.” The generation of the two world wars and the Cold War, which we call Generation X, will go down in the history of civilization as a generation with limited mobility, where a significant percentage of whom have completed their entire life without even traveling from their country to another country, or even without moving from their settlement area. However, the same cannot be said for Generations Y and Z. We are faced with “mobilized” new generations who migrate to cities and other countries, especially to get a better education or job opportunities and a better lifestyle.
Moreover, Generations Y and Z demand revolutionary changes in their country’s social and business life for a better quality of life. They want to work remotely, do not want to be stuck in offices, demand a more prosperous cultural life in the cities they live in and are not afraid of mobility; therefore, it is a generation that has a much weaker appetite for home and car ownership than previous generations. Instead, we are talking about an age that wants to use bicycles and scooters in the city.
This brings us to a new global megatrend that will dominate the two continents, predominantly Asia and Africa, where 83% of the world’s population will live in the future. The fifth megatrend is the “intelligent urbanization-based local development” movement in emerging economies. When you say urbanization, don’t just think of cities. The new generation also wants to see a local development approach based on intelligent solutions in their towns and villages. They do not want to migrate from villages or towns to cities. They want an acceptable standard of living to come to them.
Local development based on smart urbanization is built on four main elements. The first is the city’s quality of life. Perhaps, it is the element on which the new generation focuses on the most. Moreover, it is not in vain that they have prioritized building a solid and sustainable education and health infrastructure. Building intelligent homes are just as important. The social security of the city is another vital sub-element. The second element is the city’s economy and trade capabilities and its ability to be a designer and brand-oriented city. The third element is its environmentalist sustainability capability focusing on zero waste and zero net carbon. The fourth element is the accessibility to the city and the mobility of the city. Undoubtedly, the global competition between the world’s leading cities regarding intelligent systems and innovative technologies will be based on these topics.