In the conversation of futuring and becoming future smart, there are six supertrends shedding light on where the world is going. According to Cohen (2015), the future is going to be shaped by these supertrends that effect the well being of every individual in some way or another. These six supertrends are 1) technological progress, 2) economic growth, 3) improving human health, 4) increasing mobility, 5) environmental decline, and 6) increasing deculturation (Cohen, 2015). It is hard to know which of these supertrends are easiest to predict, and which ones will show the least amount of predictability. It is this author’s opinion that of these six supertrends, it may be most difficult to forecast the supertrend of improving human health.
It is obvious mankind is being reshaped by the aging of the population (Torres-Gill, 2007). It is expected that the U.S. alone will have more than 1.1 million centenarians (those living more than 100 years) by 2050 (Brickey, 2001). Diet, exercise, weight control, and stress management are all areas where human health are making strides forward in the desire to lengthen human life (Kadlecet al., 2005). However, the variable that is always unpredictable is the behavior of people themselves. Despite the scientific advances and popularity of health initiatives, people still choose to indulge in pleasures and lifestyles of excess. The supertrend assumes the life expectancy of mankind will continue to grow increasingly, however, overindulgences may prove difficult to overcome.
Another element that may work against increased health is the role of social networking. Successful aging and an individual’s attachment to a community are strongly linked (Communities, 2005). It is unclear the long term effects social networking will have on human health and longevity as it replaces live human interactions. Another factor making this supertrend difficult to forecast.
Brickey, M. (2001). THE EXTENDED LIFE: Four Strategies for Healthy Longevity. Futurist, 35(5), 52.
Cohen, D. J. (2015). HR past, present and future: A call for consistent practices and a focus on competencies. Human Resource Management Review, 25(2), 205–215. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.hrmr.2015.01.006
Communities, from: A. L. (2005, September). Beyond 50.05: A Report to the Nation on Livable Communities. Retrieved January 23, 2016, from http://www.aarp.org/livable-communities/learn/civic-community/info-12-2012/A-Report-to-the-Nation-on-Livable-Communities.html
Kadlec, A., Arumi, A. M., Public Agenda Foundation, Alliance for Aging Research, & American Federation for Aging Research. (2005). The science of aging gracefully: scientists and the public talk about aging research. New York: Public Agenda. Retrieved from http://www.publicagenda.org/research/pdfs/science_of_aging_gracefully.pdf
Torres-Gil, F. M. (2007). Policy Advocacy for an Aging Society: Philanthropy and Social Change. Generations, 31(2), 35.