2015-16 State of the Future

by Jerome C. Glenn, Elizabeth Florescu, and The Millennium Project Team


Pages: 289; includes some 40 graphs
ISBN: 978-0-9882639-2-5
Library of Congress Control Number: 98-646672

See the video of the report`s launch at the Woodrow Wilson Center

Al Jazeera interview with Jerome C. Glenn, CEO of The Millennium Project

Press Release: The Millennium Project's newly-released "2015-16 State of the Future" Confirms that the World is Winning More than Losing, but Where it is Losing is Very Serious.

Media Advisory (pdf)

 

The 2015-16 State of the Future is a compelling overview of humanity's present situation, challenges and opportunities, potentials for the future, and actions and policies that could improve humanity's outlook - in clear, precise, and readable text with unparalleled breadth and depth. "It is time for intolerance of irrelevant speeches and non-actions by leaders. The stakes are too high to tolerate business as usual", warns the Executive Summary of the report.

A lucid, thought-provoking, strategically oriented exploration of the transforming world order.
          Mihaly Simai, former Chairman, United Nations University

The State of the Future can make a difference in the world. Well done.
          Wendell Bell, Professor Emeritus, Yale University

Global intelligence on the future of the world in the palm of your hand
          KurzweilAI News

So important for many people around the world.
          Eleonora Masini, former Secretary and President, World Futures Studies Federation

Absolutely worth the reader’s time… takes the reader much farther forward than most thinking.
          Defense & Foreign Affairs Policy Journal

Strategic Planning for the Planet… remarkably articulate and prescient
          Willian Halal, Foresight Journal

Authoritative compendium of what we know about the future of humanity and our planet.
          The Futurist

Certainly, the guide to make better decisions and achieve success.
          Julio Millán, President Coraza Corporación Azteca

Invaluable insights into the future for the United Nations, its Member States, and civil society.
          Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General, United Nations

Executive Summary (pdf): Arabic, Chinese, Croatian, English, French, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, Urdu

Table of Contents
Description and Foreword
What are the Prospects for Humanity?
List of Figures, Tables, Boxes


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Table of Contents

FOREWORD
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1
GLOBAL CHALLENGES 15

      1. Sustainable Development and Climate Change 18
      2. Water and Sanitation 28
      3. Population and Resources 40
      4. Democratization 52
      5. Global Foresight and Decisionmaking 66
      6. Global Convergence of ICT 78
      7. Rich-Poor Gap 88
      8. Health Issues 110
      9. Education and Learning 132
      10. Peace and Conflict 140
      11. Status of Women 158
      12. Transnational Organized Crime 174
      13. Energy 184
      14. Science and Technology 196
      15. Global Ethics 206
2015 STATE OF THE FUTURE INDEX 217
FUTURE OF WORK/TECHNOLOGY 2050 241
APPENDICES

      Millennium Project Node Chairs, Boards & Sponsors 273
      List of Tables, Figures, and Boxes 280
ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS 284


DESCRIPTION and FOREWORD

The 2015–16 State of the Future brings together an extraordinarily diverse set of data, information, intelligence, and hopefully some wisdom about the future. This is the eighteenth edition of the State of the Future. We believe that each edition is better than the last. We update data, improve insights, and respond to feedback. You can add your feedback online at the Global Futures Intelligence System (themp.org). There is a comment icon in the lower right corner of the executive summary and the same for
every one of the 15 Global Challenges.

The short overviews of the 15 Global Challenges are getting longer and more detailed each year. In addition to giving you possibly the best overview in existence for each challenge, think of these as a reference to keep on your desk to return to as needed. Just as you would not speedread the encyclopedia, this section should also be taken in short doses. Take your time to reflect on what you are reading in each challenge and in the sections on the State of the Future Index and the Future Work/ Technology 2050.
This is the second year we have used the Global Futures Intelligence System to update and improve the State of the Future report. The challenges in GFIS are updated daily from news aggregations, scanning items, situation charts, and other resources, which has led to greater detail and depth than in the previous edition.

While this report presents the distilled results of recent research by The Millennium Project, GFIS contains the detailed background and data for that research, plus all of The Millennium Project’s research since its founding in 1996. It also contains the largest internationally peerreviewed set of methods to explore future possibilities ever assembled in one source. Readers of this report should subscribe to GFIS to keep up to date and participate in improving insights about future possibilities.

The purpose of futures research is to systematically explore, create, and test both possible and desirable futures in order to improve decisions. Just as the person on top of the mast on old sailing ships used to point out the rocks and safe channels to the captain below for the smooth running of the ship through uncharted waters, so too futurists with foresight systems for the world can point out problems and opportunities to leaders and the public around the world. Since decision-making is increasingly affected by globalization, global futures research is increasingly valuable for decision-making by individuals, groups, and institutions. The quality of democracies emerging around the world is enhanced by better-informed publics; understanding issues and opportunities in this report can contribute to improved democratic decision-making.

This report is for thought leaders, decision-makers, and all those who care about the world and its future. Readers will learn how their interests fit into the global situation and how the global situation may affect them and their interests. The State of the Future and GFIS provide an additional eye on global change. These are information utilities that
people can draw from as relevant to their unique needs. They provide an overview of the global strategic landscape. Business executives use the research as input to their strategic planning. University professors, futurists, and other consultants find this information useful in teaching and research.

The Millennium Project is a global participatory think tank of futurists, scholars, scientists, business planners, and policy makers who work for international organizations, governments, corporations, NGOs, and universities and who volunteer their time to improve each edition of the State of the Future. It was selected to be among the top
10 think tanks in the world for new ideas and paradigms by the 2013 and 2014 University of Pennsylvania’s GoTo Think Tank Index and as a 2012 Computerworld Honors Laureate for its innovations in collective intelligence systems.

The purposes of The Millennium Project are to assist in organizing futures research, improve thinking about the future, and make that thinking available through a variety of media for consideration in policymaking, advanced training, public education, and feedback, ideally in order to accumulate wisdom about potential futures.

The Project’s diversity of opinions and global views is ensured by its 56 Nodes around the world. These are groups of individuals and organizations that interconnect global and local perspectives. They identify participants, conduct interviews, translate and distribute questionnaires, and conduct research and conferences. It is through their contributions that the world picture of this report and indeed all of The Millennium Project’s work emerge.

Through its research, publications, addresses at conferences, and Nodes, The Millennium Project helps to nurture an international collaborative spirit of free inquiry and feedback for increasing collective intelligence to improve social, technical, and environmental viability for human development. Feedback on any sections of the book is most
welcome and may help shape the next State of the Future, GFIS, and the general work of The Millennium Project.

Jerome C. Glenn, Executive Director
Elizabeth Florescu, Director of Research
The Millennium Project Team -- Staff , 56 Nodes, Reviewers


What are the Prospects for Humanity? They could be great, provided the main global challenges are addressed, shows the 2015-16 State of the Future produced by The Millennium Project


The State of the Future is a comprehensive overview of the present situation and prospects for humanity, integrating forecasts, trends, and judgments of thought leaders and scholars from around the world sharing important future possibilities to improve strategies today.

The 205-16 State of the Future shows that the world is improving better than most pessimists know and that future dangers are worse than most optimists indicate. We need serious, coherent, and integrated understandings of mega-problems and opportunities to identify and implement strategies on the scale necessary to address global challenges. This report should be used as a reference to further that understanding. After 18 years of producing the State of the Future reports, it is increasingly clear that humanity has the resources to address its global challenges, but it is not clear that an integrated set of global and local strategies will be implemented together and on the scale necessary to build a better future.

“The State of the Future is an unparalleled overview of what is, what ought to be, and how to achieve it,” says Jerome Glenn, CEO of The Millennium Project. “The 2015-16 edition is the richest array and synthesis of data, information, and intelligent insights that The Millennium Project has ever assembled. "A lucid, thought-provoking, strategically oriented exploration of the transforming world order" says Mihaly Simai, former Chairman of the United Nations University. It integrates and distills the rapidly changing global situation in technology, environment, social unrest, development gaps, security, energy, food, organized crime, gender relations, governance, health, education, and more.

The Executive Summary of the 2015-16 State of the Future gives a clear and precise overview of our situation, prospects, and suggestions for building a better future, plus an annual World Report Card of where we are winning and losing, and the 2015 State of the Future Index.
The section on the 15 Global Challenges provides a framework for understanding global change with infographics for each challenge.
The State of the Future Index (SOFI) section offers more details on how the SOFI is computed, graphs and forecsts for the 28 variables included in the SOFI, a sensitivity analysis of the 2015 SOFI, and national applications for four European countries.
The section on the Future Work/Technology 2050 shares the initial analysis of a Real-Time Delphi study that explores a series of questions such as:
• What should we begin to do now to prevent long-term structural unemployment due to future technologies?
• What questions need to be resolved to answer whether AI and other future technologies will create more jobs than they replace?
• If massive unemployment cannot be prevented, what politicaleconomic changes would it be wise to begin to develop?

Rich with data, analysis and forecasts, the State of the Future report is a unic "one-stop-shop" to understand the present situation and potential prospects in all the domains-- from economy to demographics, S&T, climate change, democracy, and global ethics.

The Millennium Project is a global participatory think tank connecting 56 Nodes around the world that identify important long-range challenges and strategies, and initiate and conduct foresight studies, workshops, symposiums, and advanced training. Over 4,500 futurists, scholars, business planners, and policy makers who work for international organizations, governments, corporations, NGOs, and universities have participated in The Millennium Project’s research since its inception in 1996. The Project’s mission is to improve thinking about the future and make that thinking available through a variety of media for feedback to accumulate wisdom about the future for better decisions today. It produces the annual State of the Future reports, the Futures Research Methodology series, the Global Futures Intelligence System (GFIS), and special studies. The Millennium Project was selected among the top ten think tanks in the world for new ideas and paradigms by the 2013 University of Pennsylvania’s GoTo Think Tank Index, and as a 2012 Computerworld Honors Laureate for its contributions to collective intelligence systems.


List of Figures, Tables, Boxes

Executive Summary
Figure 1. Initial Draft Concept for Discussion of an Integrated Global Strategy 8
Figure 2. State of the Future Index 2015 9
Figure 3. Where We Are Winning 11
Figure 4. Where We Are Losing or There Is Little or No Progress 12

Box 1. Variables Included in the Computation of the 2015 SOFI 10

Global Challenges
Figure 1.1 Global Challenges 17
Figure 1.2 Improved water source (% of population with access) 38
Figure 1.3 Renewable internal freshwater resources per capita (cubic meters) 39
Figure 1.4 Freedom rights (number of countries rated "free") 65
Figure 1.5 Internet penetration by Region 87
Figure 1.6 Poverty headcount ratio at $1.25 a day (PPP) (% of population) 109
Figure 1.7 Health expenditure per capita (current $) 130
Figure 1.8 Likelihood of education and learning possibilities by 2030 139
Figure 1.9 Terrorism incidents 157
Figure 1.10 CPIA transparency, accountability, and corruption in the public sector rating 215
Figure 1.11 Global Challenges and SOFI Process 216

State of the Future Index
Figure 2.1 State of the Future Index 2015 -- 220
Figure 2.2 State of the Future Index 2015 with 25% improvements of Energy Efficiency and Income Inequality between 2016 and 2025 -- 220
Figure 2.3 Where we are winning 221
Figure 2.4 Where we are losing or there is no progress 222
Figure 2.5 2014 SOFI Czech Republic 223
Figure 2.6 2014 SOFI Hungary 223
Figure 2.7 2014 SOFI Poland 224
Figure 2.8 2014 SOFI Slovakia 224
Figure 2.9 V4 2014 SOFI 225
Figure 2.10 2014 SOFI Comparison among V4 countries 225
Figure 2.11 GNI per capita, PPP (constant 2011 international $) 226
Figure 2.12 Economic income inequality (Income share held by highest 10%) 227
Figure 2.13 Unemployment, total (% of world labor force) 227
Figure 2.14 Poverty headcount ratio at $1.25 a day (PPP) (% of population) 228
Figure 2.15 CPIA transparency, accountability, and corruption in the public sector rating 228
Figure 2.16 Foreign direct investment, net inflows (BoP, current $, billions) ………..……….229
Figure 2.17 R&D expenditures (% of GDP) 229
Figure 2.18 Population growth (annual %) 230
Figure 2.19 Life expectancy at birth (years) 230
Figure 2.20 Mortality rate, infant (per 1,000 live births) 231
Figure 2.21 Prevalence of undernourishment (% of population) 231
Figure 2.22 Health expenditure per capita (current $) 232
Figure 2.23 Physicians (per 1,000 people) 232
Figure 2.24 Improved water source (% of population with access) 233
Figure 2.25 Renewable internal freshwater resources per capita (cubic meters) 233
Figure 2.26 Biocapacity per capita (gha) 234
Figure 2.27 Forest area (% of land area) 234
Figure 2.28 Fossil fuel and cement production emissions (MtC/yr) 235
Figure 2.29 Energy efficiency (GDP per unit of energy use (constant 2011 PPP $ per kg of oil equivalent)) 235
Figure 2.30 Electricity production from renewable sources, excluding hydroelectric (% of total) 236
Figure 2.31 Literacy rate, adult total (% of people aged 15 and above) 236
Figure 2.32 School enrollment, secondary (% gross) 237
Figure 2.33 Share of high-skilled employment (%) 237
Figure 2.34 Number of wars and armed conflicts 238
Figure 2.35 Terrorism incidents 238
Figure 2.36 Freedom rights (number of countries rated "free") 239
Figure 2.37 Proportion of seats held by women in national parliaments (% of members) 239
Figure 2.38 Internet users (per 100 people) 240

Box 2.1 Variables Included in the Computation of the 2015 SOFI 218

 

Work/Tech 2050
Figure 3.1 Average Rate of Unemployment by 2050 by 10-year increments 246

Table 3.1 Age Group of Participants 244
Table 3.2 Respondents’ Degree of Expertise in Futures Research 245
Table 3.3 Institutional Affiliation of the Participants 245
Table 3.4 Average Rating of Technologies Likely to Replace Rather than Create More Jobs/Work by 2050 -- 249
Table 3.5 Average Rating of the Factors Thought to Help Create Jobs and Prevent Mass Unemployment by 2050 -- 250
Table 3.6 Average Rating of the Likelihood and Effectiveness of Some Suggested Actions to Create New Work/Income by 2050 -- 253
Table 3.7 Average Likelihood Rating of Some Potential Developments Addressing Income Gaps 256
Table 3.8 Necessity of Guaranteed Income (number of responses) 258
Table 3.9 Potential Changes in the Cost of Living by 2050 -- 260
Table 3.10 Scenarios Axes Rank-Ordered by the Number of Votes Received 266
Table 3.11 Themes to be Considered for the 2050 Scenarios 267


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