What's in store for the future? Let's take a look: 2009-2020

Five years, and our economy will be just ducky.

That's according to a recent story in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, a paper I've long admired. Reporter Emily C. Dooley interviewed a handful of experts in the Richmond, Virginia area, and that was their take on the situation. That by about 2013, we're all going to be surveying the economic landscaping and saying, "Hey, not bad."

Of course, five years is a long time to wait to adjust to the new reality of gas prices or to feel more secure about your job and lifestyle. The article makes it clear that these are just predictions, implying that in five years, things could go great and then bad again, where we're looking at another down cycle. But it got me to thinking...
Maybe we should all start planning on calendars a bit further out than we usually do, especially if you're an entrepreneur or investor looking for that next great trend. It also kind of helps to psychologically know what's out there, and what people expect in the not-so distant future. And it's encouraging that the future news isn't all that bad either. Some is, sure. But not all.

So I whipped out this handy dandy chart that should help everyone over the next 12 years, starting from next year, 2009. I don't pretend to think I have every known upcoming or possibly upcoming event here -- I don't -- in fact, in the several hours (what was I thinking?) that I spent putting together this hodge-podge list, I could have easily spent many, many more and still would feel like this calendar isn't complete.

Thus, this is just a random list of events that are expected to occur between now and 2020. Hopefully it'll help inspire some ideas for someone out there, or you'll just all find it interesting to read.

2009: A new president, of course, will take over the reigns of the White House... all televisions will be broadcast in high-definition starting February 17... The overall world economy is predicted to slow even more, but the United States is expected to lead a rebound that we'll be seeing in 2010, according to a New York think tank called Global Insight... Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs is expected to be out in July, and more big movies planned for this year include the superhero film Watchmen and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince... an iPhone may be in your future, if you don't already have one; Apple predicts it will sell 45 million of them

2010: America continues spreading its culture across the globe; Domino's will have 500 outlets in India... Toy Story 3 plays in theaters across the country... Vancouver will host the Winter Olympic Games.

2011: American troops are expected to be leaving Iraq this year or certainly the next, according to the latest reports... The Hobbit will be out in movie theaters everywhere... Spiderman 4 will also swing into theaters as will other superhero movies. Look for The Avengersa superhero movie starring Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, Ant-Man (Ant-Man?) and Thor... Oprah Winfrey will celebrate the 25th anniversary of her talk show, which will end this year unless she signs a new contract.

2012: The sequel to The Hobbit will be out, as will Pixar and Disney's Cars 2... London will host the Summer Olympic Games... Nissan will launch an electric car.

2013:The largest man-made bridge, stretching from the nation of Qatar to the island country of Bahrain will be open to Middle Eastern travelers... The video game market is expected to reach $63.2 billion, 60% higher than what it is now... Universities are expected to be recruiting more international students, due to an expected 3.5% drop in the number of American high school graduates, thanks to falling birth rates... Remember your new iPhone? Well, payments made using mobile phones to purchase digital goods (like movie tickets) and physical goods will grow more than fivefold than what it is in 2008, to $300 billion... Either President Barack Obama or President John McCain will be re-elected, or a new president will be in the White House.

2014: The Russian city of Sochi will host the Winter Olympic Games.

2015: Dubai, UAE expects to welcome 15 million tourists a year; right now, there are about 2 million... according to a plan unveiled in 2008, China plans to have its world-class space industry humming along...

2016: Brazil is expected to go from being the ninth largest economy to the fifth, according to the current Brazilian president... Veterinarians in the United States come off a streak of employment growth; it's an occupation that's supposed to increase 35% from 2006 to 2016.

2017: America's healthcare costs are expected to top $4 trillion, double what it is now... If it goes the way it's been going, Taiwan will be an aging society -- in other words, more old people than babies... this is the year that Russia's naval base in Crimea, Ukraine expires; expect sparks, if they haven't already flown, because the two countries have already made it clear: Russia wants to keep it, and the Ukraine wants the Russians to leave.

2018:Iran plans to send its first man to the Moon... Everyone reading this, assuming everyone remains in good health, will be 10 years older than they are now... Russian solar physicists Galina Mashnich and Vladimir Bashkirtsev will either pay $10,000 or collect it. They've bet that amount of money with a British scientist, that the Earth is cooling and not warming. They'll compare global temperatures between 1998-2003 with temperatures between 2012-2017...

2019: Expect numerous stories in the press about Blade Runner, and debates whether Ridley Scott's vision, filmed in 1982, of how the future would look has actually come true. So far, of course, no replicants, genetically manufactured human beings, are on the market... if nothing is done between now and then, Medicare will be bankrupt.

2020:It will be law that cars in America must be manufactured to drive 35 miles per gallon. Ah, the wheels of progress.

Geoff Williams is a freelance journalist and the author of C.C. Pyle's Amazing Foot Race: The True Story of the 1928 Coast-to-Coast Run Across America (Rodale).
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