Three Questions about the Future

Recently somebody asked me three questions about what I think about the future. I thought it’s interesting so I am posting the questions and answers here.
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QUESTION 1: What is your greatest hope for 2021?

My hope is that people will come to their senses and seriously start to trust one another and open up themselves to others. For example, I have talked with both Israelis and Palestinians and they both have valid reasons for their grievances and distrust of the other side. But real peace cannot take place when people like these do not trust each other. They need to move on. I am not saying that they should forget the past. That’s not possible. But they need to realize that the other side are real people with real hopes, concerns, worries, fears, as they do. Most of all people need to open up toward one another completely and without any reservations.

That’s the most important thing. However, in the areas of technology and business I would hope that there’s a new business model for technology innovation that is different from what we are having at the moment. Perhaps in ten years we will be less obsessed with protecting intellectual property rights and are more committed to a newer business model that is more based on altruism; that is, instead of protecting innovation with stringent legal mechanism, people should collaborate and share more. The drive for technological innovation will be more the benefits of all people and the betterment of the world. This will be possible in a context where firms become more fused with one another both domestically and globally.

QUESTION 2: What is your greatest fear about 2021?

My greatest fear is environmental disaster. We are having a very serious flood in Thailand, the like of which has not been seen before. It seems like things have become more disastrous year by year. So if nothing is done now, in ten years the disaster could be much more than just tenfold.

QUESTION 3: What is your greatest expectation (what you think is most likely to happen) in 2021 that is different from 2011?

In politics there is emerging a trend where the people are starting to take matters into their own hands. They are losing their confidence in the politicians and the electoral system. This is not a bad thing, and it points to a birth of a new political system where the elected politicians have more limited role and power than they do now. Power will be more diffused to the normal citizens. The tie between politicians and business corporations will also be loosened. We are seeing this trend not only on the streets of Manhattan, but in the ‘Arab Spring’ phenomenon and other similar events in other parts of the world. I think this trend will continue and will become more mature in the next ten years. Right now things are just starting.

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