2018 TECH TRENDS REPORT — from the Future Today Institute
Emerging technology trends that will influence business, government, education, media and society in the coming year.


The Future Today Institute’s 11th annual Tech Trends Report identifies 235 tantalizing advancements in emerging technologies—artificial intelligence, biotech, autonomous robots, green energy and space travel—that will begin to enter the mainstream and fundamentally disrupt business, geopolitics and everyday life around the world. Our annual report has garnered more than six million cumulative views, and this edition is our largest to date.

Helping organizations see change early and calculate the impact of new trends is why we publish our annual Emerging Tech Trends Report, which focuses on mid- to late-stage emerging technologies that are on a growth trajectory.

In this edition of the FTI Tech Trends Report, we’ve included several new features and sections:

  • a list and map of the world’s smartest cities
  • a calendar of events that will shape technology this year
  • detailed near-future scenarios for several of the technologies
  • a new framework to help organizations decide when to take action on trends
  • an interactive table of contents, which will allow you to more easily navigate the report from the bookmarks bar in your PDF reader



01 How does this trend impact our industry and all of its parts?
02 How might global events — politics, climate change, economic shifts – impact this trend, and as a result, our organization?
03 What are the second, third, fourth, and fifth-order implications of this trend as it evolves, both in our organization and our industry?
04 What are the consequences if our organization fails to take action on this trend?
05 Does this trend signal emerging disruption to our traditional business practices and cherished beliefs?
06 Does this trend indicate a future disruption to the established roles and responsibilities within our organization? If so, how do we reverse-engineer that disruption and deal with it in the present day?
07 How are the organizations in adjacent spaces addressing this trend? What can we learn from their failures and best practices?
08 How will the wants, needs and expectations of our consumers/ constituents change as a result of this trend?
09 Where does this trend create potential new partners or collaborators for us?
10 How does this trend inspire us to think about the future of our organization?




With great tech success, comes even greater responsibility — from techcrunch.com by Ron Miller


As we watch major tech platforms evolve over time, it’s clear that companies like Facebook, Apple, Google and Amazon (among others) have created businesses that are having a huge impact on humanity — sometimes positive and other times not so much.

That suggests that these platforms have to understand how people are using them and when they are trying to manipulate them or use them for nefarious purposes — or the companies themselves are. We can apply that same responsibility filter to individual technologies like artificial intelligence and indeed any advanced technologies and the impact they could possibly have on society over time.

We can be sure that Twitter’s creators never imagined a world where bots would be launched to influence an election when they created the company more than a decade ago. Over time though, it becomes crystal clear that Twitter, and indeed all large platforms, can be used for a variety of motivations, and the platforms have to react when they think there are certain parties who are using their networks to manipulate parts of the populace.



But it’s up to the companies who are developing the tech to recognize the responsibility that comes with great economic success or simply the impact of whatever they are creating could have on society.





Why the Public Overlooks and Undervalues Tech’s Power — from morningconsult.com by Joanna Piacenza
Some experts say the tech industry is rapidly nearing a day of reckoning


  • 5% picked tech when asked which industry had the most power and influence, well behind the U.S. government, Wall Street and Hollywood.
  • Respondents were much more likely to say sexual harassment was a major issue in Hollywood (49%) and government (35%) than in Silicon Valley (17%).

It is difficult for Americans to escape the technology industry’s influence in everyday life. Facebook Inc. reports that more than 184 million people in the United States log on to the social network daily, or roughly 56 percent of the population. According to the Pew Research Center, nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of all Americans and 94 percent of Americans ages 18-24 use YouTube. Amazon.com Inc.’s market value is now nearly three times that of Walmart Inc.

But when asked which geographic center holds the most power and influence in America, respondents in a recent Morning Consult survey ranked the tech industry in Silicon Valley far behind politics and government in Washington, finance on Wall Street and the entertainment industry in Hollywood.





AT&T’s $1 billion gambit: Retraining nearly half its workforce for jobs of the future — from cnbc.com by Susan Caminiti

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

  • AT&T initiated a massive retraining effort after discovering that nearly half of its 250,000 employees lacked the necessary skills needed to keep the company competitive.
  • Ninety percent of maturing companies expect digital disruption, but only 44 percent are adequately preparing for it.
  • Despite the federal government’s investment in job-retraining efforts, most are deemed ineffective.


The discovery presented AT&T with two daunting options, explains Bill Blase, senior executive vice president of human resources. “We could go out and try to hire all these software and engineering people and probably pay through the nose to get them, but even that wouldn’t have been adequate,” he explains. “Or we could try to reskill our existing workforce so they could be competent in the technology and the skills required to run the business going forward.”


In a world where technology advances are measured in months, not years, companies selling everything from computers and cellphones to cereal and sneakers are trying desperately to adapt. A recent research report by the Society for Human Resource Management states that nearly 40 percent of hiring managers cite lack of technical skills among the reasons why they can’t fill job openings.

And the message isn’t lost on workers, either. A 2016 Pew Research Center survey shows that more than half of the adults in the workforce today realize that it will be essential for them to get training and develop new skills throughout their career in order to keep up with changes in the workplace.

In fact, according to Willis Towers Watson, 90 percent of maturing companies expect digital disruption, but only 44 percent are adequately preparing for it — and getting the right people to get the work done remains a challenge for most.

AT&T’s massive global retraining program — the company prefers to call it “reskilling” — is perhaps corporate America’s boldest response to this war for talent. Known inside the company as Future Ready, the initiative is a $1 billion web-based, multiyear effort that includes online courses; collaborations with Coursera, Udacity and leading universities; and a career center that allows employees to identify and train for the kinds of jobs the company needs today and down the road. An online portal called Career Intelligence lets workers see what jobs are available, the skills required for each, the potential salary range and whether that particular area is projected to grow or shrink in the years ahead. In short, it gives them a roadmap to get from where they are today to where the company needs them to be in the future.



From DSC:
This article is encouraging in at least a couple of ways to me:

  • A large company is choosing to retrain its employees, helping them to learn and grow — to reinvent themselves and to stay relevant
  • A large company is recognizing the exponential pace of change that we’re now on. The question is, are we ready for it?




2018 Workplace Learning Report — from learning.linkedin.com


The path to opportunity is changing
The short shelf life of skills and a tightening labor market are giving rise to a multitude of skill gaps. Businesses are fighting to stay ahead of the curve, trying to hold onto their best talent and struggling to fill key positions. Individuals are conscious of staying relevant in the age of automation.

Enter the talent development function.
These organizational leaders create learning opportunities to enable employee growth and achievement. They have the ability to guide their organizations to success in tomorrow’s labor market, but they can’t do it alone.

Our research answers the talent developer’s most pressing questions:
* How are savvy talent development leaders adapting to the pace of change in today’s dynamic world of work?
* Why do employees demand learning and development resources, but don’t make the time to learn?
* How do executives think about learning and development?
* Are managers the missing link to successful learning programs?


From DSC:
Even though this piece is a bit of a sales pitch for Lynda.com — a great service I might add — it’s still worth checking out. I say this because it brings up a very real trend that I’m trying to bring more awareness to — i.e., the pace of change has changed. Our society is not ready for this new, exponential pace of change. Technologies are impacting jobs and how we do our jobs, and will likely do so for the next several decades. Skills gaps are real and likely growing larger. Corporations need to do their part in helping higher education revise/develop curriculum and they need to offer funds to create new types of learning labs/environments. They need to offer more internships and opportunities to learn new skills.





Mapping the Trends on Our Doorstep: The Pace of Change Has Changed — from an article that I did out at — and with — evoLLLution.com [where LLL stands for lifelong learning]; my thanks to Mr. Amrit Ahluwalia, Managing Editor out at evolllution.com and to his staff as well!
The higher education industry has changed significantly over the past decade, and given the pace and significance of change hitting other industries as a result of technological advances, it’s fair to say the postsecondary space is ripe for further transformation.


From DSC:
From the perspective of those of us working within higher education, we see massive changes occurring in the corporate world, and we see innovations and changes also occurring in the world of K-12. Higher education should also be adapting, changing, questioning, and reflecting upon how we can best prepare our students for a rapidly changing workplace.

Below is another interesting item that I believe gives credence to the idea that we are now on an exponential pace of change. Companies are coming and going on the S&P Index…at an ever faster pace.

The 33-year average tenure of companies on the S&P 500 in 1964 narrowed to 24 years by 2016 and is forecast to shrink to just 12 years by 2027 (Chart 1).


Here is the video:

This is the transcript with the original graphs in it.

This is a nice PDF file from evoLLLution.com with the transcript, with some different graphics and some other





The 4th Next Generation Learning Spaces event is right around the corner! Make plans to attend this conference -- you won't regret it!

The 4th Next Generation Learning Spaces event is right around the corner!

Take a look at the latest agenda.

Here is just a fraction of what you can expect:

  • Explore what’s next in learning spaces + design thinking that breaks the barriers of tradition and inspire innovation
  • Retool your learning environments with virtual & augmented reality
  • Connect your learning space design with strategic planning initiatives
  • Discover next generation learning solutions during our networking breaks
  • Overcome institutional and financial roadblocks to building active learning spaces
  • Redesign spaces with limited budgets


From DSC:
I am honored to be serving on the Advisory Council for this conference with a great group of people. Missing — at least from my perspective — from the image below is Kristen Tadrous, Senior Program Director with the Corporate Learning Network. Kristen has done a great job these last few years planning and running this conference.


The Advisory Board for the 2018 Next Generation Learning Spaces Conference

The above graphic reflects a change for me. I am still an Adjunct Faculty Member
at Calvin College, but I am no longer a Senior Instructional Designer there.


This national conference will be held in Los Angeles, CA on February 26-28, 2018. It is designed to help institutions of higher education develop highly-innovative cultures — something that’s needed in many institutions of traditional higher education right now.

I have attended the first 3 conferences and I moderated a panel at last year’s conference out in San Diego. I just want to say that this is a great conference and I encourage you to bring a group of people to it from your organization! I say a group of people because a group of 5 of us (from a variety of departments) went one year and the result of attending the NGLS Conference was a brand new Sandbox Classroom — an active-learning based, highly-collaborative learning space where faculty members can experiment with new pedagogies as well as with new technologies. The conference helped us discuss things as a diverse group, think out loud, come up with some innovative ideas, and then build the momentum to move forward with some of those key ideas.

If you haven’t already attended this conference, I highly recommend that you check it out.






What these firms all have in common are powerful digital platforms that provide the scale and scope to expand into new growth markets and geographies at speeds never before possible.



From DSC:
To me, the item below provides another example of the exponential pace of change that we are beginning to experience:

Corporate Longevity Forecast: The Pace of Creative Destruction is Accelerating — from innosight.com by Scott Anthony, S. Patrick Viguerie, Evan Schwartz and John Van Landeghem

Excerpt/Executive Summary:

Few companies are immune to the forces of creative destruction. Our corporate longevity forecast of S&P 500 companies anticipates average tenure on the list growing shorter and shorter over the next decade.

Key insights include:

  • The 33-year average tenure of companies on the S&P 500 in 1964 narrowed to 24 years by 2016 and is forecast to shrink to just 12 years by 2027 (Chart 1).
  • Record private equity activity, a robust M&A market, and the growth of startups with billion-dollar valuations are leading indicators of future turbulence.
  • A gale force warning to leaders: at the current churn rate, about half of S&P 500 companies will be replaced over the next ten years.
  • Retailers were especially hit hard by disruptive forces, and there are strong signs of restructuring in financial services, healthcare, energy, travel, and real estate.
  • The turbulence points to the need for companies to embrace a dual transformation, to focus on changing customer needs, and other strategic interventions.


Are Corporations Ready for Increased Turbulence?

Viewed as a larger picture, S&P 500 turnover serves as a barometer for marketplace change. Shrinking lifespans of companies on the list are in part driven by a complex combination of technology shifts and economic shocks, some of which are beyond the control of corporate leaders. But frequently, companies miss opportunities to adapt or take advantage of these changes. For example, they continue to apply existing business models to new markets, are slow to respond to disruptive competitors in low-profit segments, or fail to adequately envision and invest in new growth areas which often takes a decade or longer to pay off.

At the same time, we’ve seen the rise of other companies take their place on the list by creating new products, business models, and serving new customers. Some of the market forces driving these exits and entries include the mass disruption in retail, the rising dominance of digital technology platforms, the downward pressure on energy prices, strength in global travel and real estate, as well as the failure of stock buyback efforts to improve performance.





Work From Home 2018: The Top 100 Companies For Remote Jobs — from forbes.com by Laura Shin


The top sectors offering such work are health care, computer/IT, education/training, sales, customer service, finance and travel/hospitality of the 19 industries represented on the list. Five of the fastest-growing remote career categories are therapy, virtual administration, client services, tutoring, and state and local government. The 20 most common telecommuting job titles include teacher, writer, developer, analyst, sales representative, nurse, accountant and program manager. Five companies are fully remote, and 30 are newcomers to the list.


Also see:

20 Most Common Work-from-Home Job Titles — from by Jessica Howington

  1. Accountant
  2. Program Manager
  3. Teacher / Faculty
  4. Writer
  5. Consultant
  6. Engineer
  7. Project Manager
  8. Business Development Manager
  9. Account Manager / Account Executive
  10. Tutor
  11. Developer
  12. Customer Service Representative
  13. Sales Representative
  14. Analyst
  15. Editor
  16. Nurse
  17. Medical Coder
  18. Territory Sales Manager
  19. Case Manager
  20. Internet/Social Media Evaluator



A Product at Every Price: A Review of MOOC Stats and Trends in 2017 — from edsurge.com by Dhawal Shah

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The MOOC landscape has grown to include 9,400 courses, more than 500 MOOC-based credentials, and more than a dozen graduate degrees. The total number of MOOCs available to register for at any point of time is larger than ever, thanks to tweaks in the scheduling policy by MOOC providers.

However, for the first time, we are seeing a slowdown in the number of new learners, a direct result of a shift in priorities towards users who are willing to pay. According to data gathered by Class Central, around 20 million new learners signed up for their first MOOC in 2017, fewer than the 23 million new learners who registered for a MOOC in 2016. The total number of MOOC learners is now 78 million.

Here is a list of the top five MOOC providers by registered users:

  1. Coursera: 30 million users
  2. edX: 14 million users
  3. XuetangX: 9.3 million users
  4. FutureLearn: 7.1 million users
  5. Udacity: 5 million users


Up to now, efforts to offer college credit for MOOCs have been targeted towards students who are enrolled in on-campus degree programs at the institutions that produced the MOOCs. Now, for the first time, we are seeing examples in which on-campus students have the option to earn credit from MOOCs, even from colleges and universities other than the one they attend.





The big MOOC providers now have a product at every price point—from free to million-dollar licensing deals with employers.






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