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Survey Says: Tell Us Your Predictions for the Future of Software

When will you be able to buy a 4D-printed coat that becomes waterproof when it starts to rain? When will the government start collecting taxes via the blockchain? When will an augmented reality movie win a Golden Globe award? When will you work for a company with a robot on its board of directors? When will you own a quantum computer?

Let us know in a new survey from the World Economic Forum.

As the Chair of WEF’s council on the Future of the Digital Economy and Society, these are some of the questions my colleagues and I focus on when we think about what software will look like and where it will take us in 5, 10, or 20 years. In 2015, we surveyed more than 800 executives and experts on when they thought 21 “tipping points” would occur – moments when specific technological shifts would hit mainstream society, such as robotic pharmacists, reading glasses connected to the internet, and 3D printing. We compiled this data into a new report, “Deep Shift: Technology Tipping Points and Societal Impact,” to illustrate society’s expectations for the future. And in the process, we also found that it got people thinking about the types of software changes that are coming and how to prepare for them.

It’s two years later, and software-driven technology has continued to jump forward. We’ve seen more mainstream applications for blockchain emerge, as well as big strides in virtual reality and augmented reality. Advances in neural networks and quantum computing are challenging our basic conceptions of how the world works, while 4D printing is already a reality.

WEF will be issuing a new set of predictions and we invite you to be a part of it. Click here to take the survey and tell us: how do you see the future?

Victoria Espinel

Author:

Victoria Espinel is a respected authority on the intersection of technology innovation, global markets and public policy. She leads strategic efforts that help shape the technology landscape in 60 countries through work in BSA’s 10 global offices.

Espinel also serves as the President of Software.org: the BSA Foundation. Software.org is an independent and nonpartisan international research organization created to help policymakers and the broader public better understand the impact that software has on our lives, our economy, and our society.

Espinel served for a decade in the White House, for both Republican and Democratic Administrations as President Obama’s advisor on intellectual property and, before that, as the first ever chief US trade negotiator for intellectual property and innovation at USTR. She was also a professor of international trade and intellectual property at the George Mason School of Law.

Espinel is a founding and ongoing co-sponsor of Girls Who Code’s Washington, DC, summer immersion program, which empowers young women to pursue careers in STEM fields. She speaks before audiences around the world to build visibility for the amazing things people can do with software, and encourages businesses, governments, and the public to support a policy environment that will enable even more software breakthroughs.

Espinel chairs the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on the Digital Economy and Society. She was appointed by President Obama to serve on the Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiations (ACTPN), the principal advisory group for the US government on international trade. She holds an LLM from the London School of Economics, a JD from Georgetown University Law School, and a BS in Foreign Service from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. Follow her on Twitter: @victoriaespinel.

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