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Konrad Sippel, Solactive
Konrad Sippel, Solactive

Solactive publishes future trends report

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At the end of March, financial index specialist, Solactive, published its 2024 annual report on future trends.  

The report, which was launched in 2020, takes a look at eight trends this year, including the future of energy, the space economy, sustainable economies, ‘feeding the world’, health care, geopolitical risk, ‘digital me’, AI and quantum computing.  

Explaining the methodology, head of research, Konrad Sippel, says: “We try to figure out how the world will change, based on a perspective of 20-30 years. We also look at the assumptions about some of the bigger changes that are currently underway and the investment opportunities that could benefit from the long-term changes identified.”  

Considering the topic of quantum computing, a trend added to the report for the first time, Sippel comments: “Quantum computers haven’t reached feasibility yet, but if we look at this on a 20-30-year time horizon, we strongly believe that they are going to be around in 2050, and on a massive scale. We compare where quantum computing is now to where ‘regular’ computing was in the 1930s and 1940s.” But there are some notable differences, as he observes: “We believe that it will be accessed in the cloud straight from the beginning.”

Reflecting on the themes that might be of most interest to ETF specialists, Sippel says: “The space age is going commercial. We have private-sector companies providing the equipment, tools and rockets for the next generation of space exploration. “From speaking to clients, we’ve found that there’s a lot of interest in the space chapter of our report. The quantum-computing theme is also attracting attention. 

He adds: “One of the questions that many people ask is about what comes after AI. They say that now that we’ve understood AI, what’s going to be the next breakthrough technology?

“Quantum computing was talked about a little maybe five years ago or so and then it went back into ‘hibernation’, simply because it hadn’t broken through, but there is new interest in this now. 

“There will always be new technologies that create hype. And of course, everyone’s looking at the gains that AI stocks have made in the last 12-15 months, and what’s next. 

“What’s next is a question that investors have been asking ever since ETFs have been around. 

“AI is still of interest, though. A lot of people are looking at how they can benefit from its transformational changes. If we take a longer-term view on AI, then we are very likely to be at the beginning of some form of industrial revolution driven by AI, that is going to disrupt every single sector, from media and finance, through to manufacturing and production.  

“One of the trends that we’ve talked to clients about is who is going to benefit from these disruptions – in my view, in every industry there are companies who would cope well and make the most of the AI ‘revolution’.

“But there are going to be others who will fall behind,” he concludes.  

Solactive Research – Future Trends 2024

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