Emerging Technology
Eight Trends and Technologies Influencing Our Future
By: Jacob Kozhipatt | March 1, 2023
2022 was marked by increasing domestic and global tensions. This, alongside rising inflation, led to an unprecedented anxiety about our future.
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Emerging technologies have hit major roadblocks in the past year. Ideas such as the metaverse, cryptocurrencies, and remote work –– which not long ago seemed destined for the future–– all are now under a microscope as to whether they provide tangible value, and if so, how? With this as a backdrop, FCAT is eager to share the 2023 Priorities Report. The report is the result of extensive analysis of societal trends and emerging technologies by the FCAT research team. Its eight chapters dive into key themes in technology and culture and will be made available over the coming weeks. Until then, here is a sneak preview into what to expect and how the findings could impact the future of finance and beyond.

What to watch

Our research team delved into the very real ways that blockchain technology is currently being leveraged by major companies –– while also outlining how it could empower a new wave of fintech innovation. The team addresses sociocultural changes being influenced by the internet and how humans are reevaluating both their relationships with work and their idea of what makes a household. Finally, our research team spoke on seemingly science fiction-esque revolutions happening in artificial intelligence, biology, robotics, farming, and space exploration.

THE PATH TO BLOCKCHAIN-BASED FINANCIAL MARKETS

The blockchain ecosystem undoubtably faced major headwinds in 2022. Yet however cold this winter, FCAT researchers Ale Vigilante and Laureen Ouellet see tokenization of assets heating up. Right now, there are 95,000 private companies with more than $100 million a year in revenue.1 Currently only a small group of individuals has the potential to invest in these businesses. However, tokenomics make these markets accessible to billions of people who fall below the criteria to become an accredited investor.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR BLOCKCHAINS

While the volatility of cryptocurrencies brings a lot of attention –– for better or worse –– to blockchain technology, it doesn’t always paint an accurate picture. Despite 2022’s crypto collapse, 77 out of the world’s 100 largest companies are using blockchain technology to save money and make their supply chains more efficient, according to research by Vanessa Kargenian.2

WHAT’S IN A NAME? THE MAINSTREAMING OF PSEUDONYMITY

The original cyberspace was powered by people who chose to never reveal their identity to the public. Wikipedia editors, online forum commentators, and now even asset classes are birthed by people whose “real life” identities are unknown. FCAT researcher Deanna Laufer reports that pseudonymity is already very popular around the world, with some of the biggest games and social media apps in the world being fully pseudonymous.

There are many potential positive externalities from a more pseudonymous society. Pseudonyms allow people to express themselves more freely, avoid hidden biases that occur in real life, and build and take part in new communities.

FINDING COMMUNITY ONLINE IN AN AGE OF INDIVIDUALISM

Researcher David Bracken explains the migration of people to online communities since the dramatic changes of the early stages of the internet. Everything from parties to revolutions are now organized online. While it may not always seem like it, Bracken explains that online connections can make real life bonds stronger, and that people are starting to trust social media websites like Reddit for answers and news over traditional outlets.

A FAMILY OF ONE: THE ASCENDANCE OF SOLO HOUSEHOLDS

Cultural revolutions ––specifically those related to women’s empowerment and changes in the workplace –– have led to the emergence of “families of one,” who choose to forgo or delay traditional marriages and having children. The effects of this decision spread deep into the financial services, real estate, travel industries, and beyond will undoubtedly impact the way people plan for their futures. Deanna Laufer explains that the dynamic of being single is changing, as many are choosing to live alone because they prioritize their autonomy. Despite the emergence of single person households, society tends to give preferential treatment to people who choose to marry. In fact, it costs between $480,000 to $1 million dollars more to be single than married throughout one’s lifetime –– a sum driven by years of higher tax rates, larger per-person housing and healthcare costs, and lost spousal IRA contributions.3

RETHINKING TIME AND HOW WE INVEST IT

Covid-19 caused millions to rethink their relationship with work. David Bracken explains that the rat race, and its long hours, may have lost its appeal. More than 30% of workers say the benefit they seek out most is a shorter workweek.4

People who work more than 55 hours a week face a 35% higher risk of stroke and 17% higher risk from heart disease.5 Bracken points out that employers –– even from historically time-consuming industries like finance –– are beginning to wise up to this and are incentivizing their employees to take time off and have meeting-free days to promote more productivity.

AI: THE NEXT GENERATION

The launch of OpenAI’s ChatGPT sent shockwaves around the world, making many wonder –– in both awe and fear –– how AI will change their lives in the future.

Researcher Sarah Hoffman goes into detail about how modern AI is more powerful, sophisticated, and helpful than ever before. Advances in generative AI are causing major technology companies –– even those who seem to dominate their industries –– to rethink their business models.

DEEP TECH

In the most forward-looking chapter of the Priorities Report, we take a broader look at advances in synthetic biology, decarbonization, advanced robotics, agriculture, and space exploration.

Researchers John Dalton and Molly Gumpert report on advancements in genome editing, in what they call the “dawn of a new biological age” as scientists have found ways to completely reprogram and even create new genes. These innovations can fundamentally change the health expectations of humans forever.

Dalton and Gumpert write of the need to address carbon emissions, and the very real role it plays in climate change. They mention that “even if humans immediately stopped producing carbon today, it would take natural processes thousands of years to reduce atmospheric carbon to pre-industrial levels.”

They continue their reporting describing how robots will fundamentally change everything from how humans rehabilitate from injury to empowering human space exploration.

They also address the future of food amid the growing food crisis, as the cost of seed, fertilizer, herbicides, and other farming inputs for corn and soybean production are expected to rise over 30% between the 2020 and 2022 planting seasons. Finally, Dalton and Gumpert address the future of deep space discovery and the revival of space exploration, optimism, and investment –– largely driven from private enterprise. As we speak, there are attempts to seed –– sometimes quite literally –– the future of humans living in space.

Why we publish

FCAT publishes its observations throughout the year, but this year we wanted to share more about our view of the future and specifically the trends we call out in our Priorities Report. Amidst some negative narratives surrounding emerging tech, it is important to remind ourselves of the positive and interesting changes that are not only years away from us but are already starting to be felt today.

From finding community online to rethinking what makes a household –– or where blockchains and AI are taking us –– we are in the midst of great cultural change. FCAT believes that the ideas shared here have the potential to have a drastic and lasting impact on our day-to-day lives in the future. To stay updated as new Priorities Report articles are released, we encourage you to follow FCAT on LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.

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1 Partnership with Securitize Tokenizes Funds, Expanding Investor Access. (n.d.). Hamilton Lane. Retrieved February 24, 2023.
2 Team Blockdata. “The State of Enterprise Blockchain in 2022.” Blockdata, 15 Dec. 2022.
3 Campbell, L. A., Christina. (2013, January 14). The High Price of Being Single in America. The Atlantic.
4 Remote and Flexible Work Are Key Factors in Compensation Packages | FlexJobs. (2022, March 25). FlexJobs Job Search Tips and Blog.
5 The 2022 BlackRock Read on Retirement. BlackRock.
6 Zahn, S. (2022, January 4). Ag Economy Barometer: December 2021 - Purdue University/CME Group. Ag Economy Barometer.
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