What Should We Anticipate in Early 2020’s?

AI-colleagues, corporate activists and stories to bring prosperity.

March 14, 2020, Veera Hakkinen

What role Artificial Intelligence (AI) will have in the workforce? How economies and capitalism will change in the future? How should we fix the sustainability and what is the value of positive stories about the future? In our webinar, Sitra’s Leading Foresight Analyst Mikko Dufva and Futures Platform Content Director Tuomo Kuosa discuss these themes and more.


AI is transforming industries and knowledge work faster than we humans can keep the track. When power and profits concentrate in the hands holding the algorithms, what are the right things to focus on?

The crucial question is who gets to influence on how the technology develops and how it is implemented, says Mikko Dufva. Being aware of the future images we hold about AI is important because they have an impact on how the future will unfold.

Dufva thinks understanding technologies and what we want from them in the future is also critical for democracy.

Tuomo Kuosa reminds us that it is unclear whether the third paradigm of self-developing AI and singularity will ever be reached.

Either way, the current second paradigm already has tremendous impacts on many industries and almost all knowledge-centric jobs will change - some sooner, others later.



The economy is at crossroads with the crisis of capitalism, disruptive innovations and the growing demand for corporations to act on sustainability challenges. Reaching the human-driven data economy needs a new kind of leadership, but how should we act on these?

Sustainability itself is not enough, argues Dufva.

We have already crossed too many planetary boundaries and the question is, should we rather pull back a little to fix what we have broken?

Restorative economy or further on, a regenerative economy with a goal to improve the status of the environment could offer a better solution. Corporations should take a role as activists holding a strong stance towards environmental and social issues.

Kuosa sees that vanishing middle class and growing inequality, especially in the US, is feeding the nostalgia to the 1970s.

When the world lacks positive stories about the future, it’s difficult to maintain credible leadership. Dufva adds we should abandon the hope that things would remain the same and create those positive stories to find new hope.



There’s no question that we should aim for more sustainable societies in the future. But how to do it in profitable ways and keep the business running?

Dufva thinks that the circular economy helps the bottom line, but the bigger question will be ecological reconstruction.

As a natural problem solver, companies can have a strong role in this, but the transition to a new sustainable society should be done fairly for everyone. A silver bullet does not exist, instead, a portfolio of different solutions is needed.

Kuosa puts a lot of hope on impact investments that can help to fund socially responsible initiatives. New technological developments in the area of repurposing CO2 can be a profitable way to decrease carbon emissions.

Vertical farming, local energy production and 3D printing can also enable more self-sustainable and hyper-localized cities in the future. This could optimize production, increase cost-efficiency and make cities more resilient for example towards extreme weather conditions caused by climate change as Dufva reminds.



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In the webinar "What Should We Expect In The Early 2020s?", Mikko Dufva and Tuomo Kuosa discuss at length about 3 key themes: AI as a Colleague, Changes in Economy and Leadership and Sustainable Profitability. 

You can watch the webinar by filling the form HERE.

Further questions or comments can be sent to max (a) futuresplatform.com.

Material mentions and recommendations:

BIOS: Ecological reconstruction (2019)

Sitra: Megatrends report 2020

Scott Smith and Madeline Ashby: How to Future (2020)

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