Predictions in 2023 were difficult due to recession warnings, declarations of a “soft landing,” and concerns about the economy running too hot. Funding for generative AI has increased, surprising industry insiders. Israel’s catastrophic Hamas offensive in the last months of the conflict strained Middle-Eastern relations even more. Humans were seen as not good at predicting, but forecasts help extend our sense of what’s possible and help us see the world through new eyes. Editors asked their colleagues and experts to discuss the Big Ideas they believe will characterise the coming year, reflecting on where we will go at work, home, and beyond. This blog post will highlight some big ideas students should keep in view as they walk through 2024.

The global centenarian population is expected to surpass 500,000 by 2050, with the US population potentially reaching 104,000 by 2023. This growth is causing financial strain on pension plans and Social Security, and making geriatrics a more interesting medical profession. As people live into their 90s and beyond, a gap is forming between those who can afford elective healthcare and those who cannot. Additionally, Americans are becoming more sicker due to lifestyle-related disorders and ageing effects. Physicians recommend focusing on non-financial ways to improve one’s life, such as better nutrition, exercise, stress management, and sleep.

AI’s growing popularity in 2023 has resulted in greater energy usage and the demand for improved models. In 2021, AI is expected to account for 10% to 15% of Google’s electricity use. In 2024, the emphasis will move from regulating AI to sustaining its power, with Microsoft investigating nuclear energy. Companies must prioritise energy efficiency and invest in renewable energy alternatives. The number of “back-door remote” positions, which allow high-performing staff to work remotely, is likely to grow. AI chatbots will shift from generalised to specialised models, with Meta investing in 28 specialised bots.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has ruled out talking about elections in 2024, noting that it is a time for defence and struggle and that elections are not appropriate at this moment. He wants to keep Ukraine united and avoid de facto separation, as well as reach an agreement with Vladimir Putin, who is up for re-election next year. Zelensky also risks losing his ally Joe Biden, which might put Europe in charge of filling the leadership void left by Washington’s absence. The year 2024 will be a watershed moment for all three countries, as well as the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

Bionic prostheses consisting of lightweight materials such as silicone and spider silk are predicted to become the norm by the 2020s. These prostheses use biology, AI-powered software, and hardware to improve agility and strength, allowing for elective surgery for the elderly or professional sports. Artificial intelligence is being used to produce “synthetic patients” in clinical studies, which could result in faster drug approvals and more effective drugs. As wealthier countries face demographic issues as a result of climate change, rising living costs, and changed employment objectives, social assistance programmes and parental leave policies may be useful.

Climate change is altering migration and real estate trends, making many locations exposed to climate effects such as wildfire smoke. Climate sanctuary notions may become obsolete as the year 2024 approaches. Germany is putting up balcony power plants that generate electricity from sunlight, supplying 10% to 20% of houses’ electricity demands while lowering energy expenses. This tendency is projected to spread to the United Kingdom, continental Europe, and the United States. Tensions between Generation Z and employers may rise in 2024, resulting in a “Great Negotiation” in which firms must reconsider employee loyalty. As Generation Z strives for economic security, they may take on numerous occupations, challenging the American dream.

Autonomous vehicles such as Waymo and Cruise are gaining popularity in locations such as San Francisco and Phoenix, but recent occurrences in California have resulted in their suspension. Analysts foresee a surge in IPOs in 2024 as companies run out of cash, with Discovery Capital Management projecting that 1,200 private companies will run out of cash by the end of the year. While AI-powered recruiting is being utilised to handle inflated resumes, biased training data may be detrimental.

Despite China’s considerable infrastructure investments and recent visits to South Africa, Africans are anticipated to officially reject China in 2024. The United States has 27 military bases in Africa, while China only has one. Africans are growing increasingly frustrated with Beijing, notably with Xi Jinping’s friendship with Putin. Clear air turbulence is a major contributor to climate change making air travel more challenging. Governments and coffee shops are considering levying fees on disposable coffee cups, with Ireland considering a €0.20 fee to minimise litter and eventually ban plastic cups. Cafe industry job losses are predicted by critics. Electric vehicles are growing popular as backup power sources, and the utility and transportation businesses must collaborate to expand charging services.

Women’s sports will enjoy financial benefits and more egalitarian chances in 2024, thanks to record viewership and increasing sponsorships at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. Institutional improvements are in the works, including tougher laws on how women are treated and a new generation of female leaders. The Olympics in Paris will solidify these trends even further. Nuclear fusion, which might generate carbon-free energy, is expected to gain traction. In 2024, the emphasis will shift away from a ‘growth at all costs’ economy towards values like community, creativity, nature, and hope.

Universities will begin offering courses on the creator economy in 2024, focusing on the commercial side of influencers and boosting creativity and flair. This move corresponds to Gen Z’s demand for job autonomy, as 54% of young adults reported an interest in becoming content creators. Influencer marketing and creator economy courses will become more prevalent, delivering formal training on critical skills such as personal brand design, media kit development, and sponsor collaborations. 

Do these BIG IDEAS intrigue you? They should excite you to see and know more in 2024. At ATAFOM University we are committed to developing graduates who possess the requisite qualifications and capabilities. By focusing on integrated education, we establish a body of knowledge, research, and innovation that will have an impact on local communities all over the world. We invite you to explore all your BIG IDEAS with us today as you enrol in one of our unique educational programs.

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