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While trends are known to come and go, it is not often you see the economy come full circle. Over 100 years ago, before the turn of the century and the advent of the Industrial Revolution, the notion of a salary was not commonplace. Some estimate that as little as 10% of workers had one, the rest of the population surviving off what we would now refer to as the ‘gig economy’.

What if instead of going to the shops, the shops came to you? For years, the idea of ‘going shopping’ has been understood as a kind of event; shops have been considered a destination for outings, socialising and buying, and a source of retail therapy. However, changes on the social and technological scene in the last decade are now seeing the retail experience evolve into something that renders the idea of ‘going shopping’ almost outdated.

When the world was in deep lockdown last year, a major trend that dominated social media surrounded people’s memories of ‘normal’ life. Clips of life before lockdown boasted scenes of exotic travel locations, shots of passports in hand, bustling crowds, concerts, festivals and interestingly, cinemas.

One example of this trend that circled platforms like TikTok in particular, promised to take viewers back to pre-COVID life as it played the familiar sounds of popular cinema ads, shots of popcorn and dimmed lights, and the famed 20th Century Fox intro.

However, coinciding with this was the seeming demise of cinemas and theatres with the proliferation of streaming services and the accelerating effects of lockdown on these trends. Platforms like this proved to be an unforeseen plot twist in the standing film industry narrative.

“It is trust, more than money, that makes the world go around.”[1]

This statement of Columbia University economics professor Joseph Stiglitz finds new relevance in today’s circumstances. With the past year presenting unprecedented threats and challenges to society, recent measures have seen public trust in major institutions plummet to all-time lows.

‘Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn.’[1] We have all heard the adage, so much so that it is often dismissed as a cliché.

While most of us know this statement and agree with the philosophy behind it, the reality is that very few teachers and schools genuinely involve students in learning and make education active. Despite John Dewey’s urging over a century ago to embrace experiential education and abandon the model of students being passive receivers of learning, the ‘expounding’ approach persists.[2]

We often think of emerging technology as the field of high-level businesspeople and Silicon Valley tech wizards. We don’t often see today’s innovations as being a tool for enhancing accessibility, increasing affordability and empowering equality.

However, recent developments have seen it do just this. Here are 3 fields in which technology is making everyday life more affordable and more accessible for the everyday consumer.

With the UN predicting that 68 percent of the world’s people will live in urban areas by 2050,[1] it is essential that spaces we are living in are viable and sustainable for years to come. The cities we are familiar with, complete with collections of grey buildings, tangled roads and traffic, are set to change and the plans for these changes are already being implemented.

Here are 3 kinds of cities we will see in the future:

With vaccines emerging and a new year ushering in a renewed demand for some kind of back-to-normal routine, society’s return to work is front of mind for many professionals. However, having adjusted effectively to remote work, we find ourselves at a pivotal moment. Many businesses, leaders and workers are questioning whether returning to work is a viable decision and are rethinking how our new work life could look.

The moment we are in gives us the unique opportunity to abandon the costs and inefficient practices that have been forces of habit for decades and decide which parts of our work life are worth keeping.

Last week, The Wall Street Journal published an article marking the 100th anniversary of the word ‘robot’.[1] First coined in a Czech play by Karel Čapek, the term ‘robot’ has gone on to represent everything from dystopian images of machines posing as humans to simple chatbots that converse with people on websites. Interestingly, the term predated the actual object by a couple of decades.

Recent years have seen the topic of bias surge in news, procedure and legislation. It is now common knowledge that we each have a level of unconscious bias, which we must take into account in decision making processes. Movements of last decade have centralised the need to undo the injustices that prevail in our society and awareness of the needs of minority groups has significantly grown.

However, coinciding with this surge of knowledge and pursuit of equality has been our ever-increasing development of technology. Artificial Intelligence is appearing across all industries, spheres and processes. Despite achieving unprecedented levels of efficiency, productivity and speed, it is also bringing with it the biases of the society it serves. At the same rate that our awareness of injustice increases, the technology we are creating threatens to perpetuate it.