Just 20 years into the 21st century, we have already seen remarkable changes that we could never have anticipated. We've come up with 20 predictions that explore what the next 20 years may have in store for your organization.

In the coming decades, closing the gap between the world's 'haves' and 'have nots' will be a pressing societal imperative. As technology becomes ubiquitous, and transforms our lives for the better, technology will be accessible, a basic human right, along with food, electricity, and healthcare. In addition to ensuring access to technology for all, we will ensure resources are in place to train individuals how to use technology properly—from booking a doctor's appointment to attending the appointment virtually. Governments will collaborate with private companies to help bridge this gap, enabling new innovations.

Regulation as a service emerges as a government offering

Whereas today, an estimated nearly half of the world's population remains offline1 and technology advances threatens to increase this divide and marginalize certain groups, our new basic human right of connectivity will be realized. Healthcare, for instance, will be provided online through virtual appointments, which will be available for everyone to access. And, as AI becomes more pervasive in our lives, we will address issues of societal biases into the algorithms we create to make them more inclusive and representative of a diverse society.

Policymakers will embrace the concept of universal access, which means high-speed, affordable connectivity, along with access to technology and training on how to use that technology.

Private companies will play a role, too. They will consider how the technologies they develop and deploy can cause societal divides—and how they can help mitigate the problem, as workers and governments have universal access and high-speed, connectivity for all.

The private sector will also commit to providing equal service to rural, remote or underserved communities. Next-gen technologies such as Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites will help bridge this divide with widely available satellite internet service, providing better access to everything from telemedicine to e-learning opportunities. This technology is already underway today, with Link Global planning 5,000 such satellites in orbit in 2025.2 Acting as 'cell towers' in space, providing connectivity will be cheaper and areas currently not served by wireless operators will be reached.

1 Half the world’s population is still offline. Here’s why that matters. World Economic Forum, Eric White and Oren Pinsky, May 18, 2018.
2 Lynk begins operation of next-gen LEO satellite, plans to offer service in 2022, IWCE’s Urgent Communications, July 13, 2021.

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