5 trends to shake the world in 2022: Predictions for the year ahead

1. The pandemic and the future of health:

Will 2022 be the year that COVID-19 transitions from a pandemic to an endemic? That’s what we’re all hoping, of course, but there’s no going back to 2019. For example, expect more of the world to follow Asia’s lead, where people have been wearing masks in public for years if they were sick (out of courtesy to the people around them) or immunocompromised. And, healthcare will never be the same post-pandemic. Expect telehealth to become commonplace now that a lot more people have been exposed to using video calls for health visits. And the COVID-19 vaccine will forever change the way vaccines (and potentially other therapies) are created. It’s not unusual for vaccines to take a decade to develop, but these were created in 10 months using genetics and mRNA technology. This could prove to be one of the most important medical breakthroughs of the century.

2. Hybrid work and the ‘Great Resignation’:

The most surprising trend that’s likely to continue to gain steam in 2022 is the Great Resignation. More people are quitting their jobs and reprioritizing their lives than ever. In December, the US Labor Department reported that the number of people quitting their jobs remains at record high levels. How could we go through something as jarring as the pandemic for the past two years and not be changed by it? The Great Resignation is just one example of how those changes are manifesting themselves.

3. Crypto, inflation and what’s next for your finances:

Speaking of growth, cryptocurrencies have been breaking new highs and attracting more interest. The crypto exchange app Coinbase passed TikTok and YouTube to become the most downloaded app in Apple’s App Store a couple times during 2021. Some view the world’s most popular cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, as a hedge against inflation. Politicians, athletes and others started taking for their paychecks in Bitcoin in 2021. We’ll see if your employer will offer you that option in 2022.

4. Space, travel and the next internet:

One of 2022’s most dramatic developments is the new space race. China and Russia are collaborating on a future moon base (in 2030) as well as landing a robot on an asteroid (in 2024). Not to be outdone, NASA announced its next 10 future astronauts in December with ambitions for a future Moon mission. This will be the year that SpaceX plans to put its Starship reusable rocket and space vehicle into flight for its first missions. Speaking about Starship, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said, “This is a profound revolution in access to orbit. There has never been a fully reusable, orbital launch vehicle. This is the holy grail of space technology. It is the fundamental breakthrough that is necessary for humanity to become a space-faring civilization.” Meanwhile, SpaceX’s StarLink and Blue Origin and Amazon’s Project Kuiper will launch thousands of low orbit satellites into the atmosphere in 2022. Their mission to bring fast, reliable broadband internet at a reasonable price to every corner of the planet is a welcome advance.

5. The EV has arrived — and it means business:

Electric vehicles or EVs are poised for a huge year in 2022 after a number of breakthroughs in 2021, including the Tesla Model 3 becoming the bestselling vehicle in Europe in September. The writing is on the wall for fossil fuel-burning vehicles. The US will discontinue purchases of gas-powered vehicles by 2035, the UK will do so by 2030 and a broader coalition of countries have set 2040 as a global date for ending fossil fuel vehicles.