My Predictions: Societal Change over the next ~100 years #52 #cong20


 Good news: Humanity will survive and get become more self-aware and consious.

Bad news: We will need to endure a lot of pain and suffering to get there.

Total Words


Reading Time in Minutes


Key Takeaways:

  1. Global Equality: We will get real about solving them
  2. Environmental Challenges: Lots of pain, a lot of engineered mitigation solutions.
  3. Rehumanisation to bring us back to whats important
  4. Democratisation of knowledge

About Pat Kennedy:

I studied engineering and worked in water and energy resource management for many years. I also have a fascination with societal infrastructure and how it relates to development. I own an Irish tech company called eTownz and we have spent much of the past 10 years chipping away at a problem: how can we help communities make the most from local development?.

Contacting Pat Kennedy:

You can connect with Pat on LinkedIn, see his work on eTownz or send him an email.

By Pat Kennedy

It almost goes without saying that the world is changing at an ever-increasing pace … COVID, big data, IoT, AI, climate change, K-pop… the list goes on.

In this blog, I attempt to outline what I think will happen in the next 100 years with respect to 3 key aspects of our life on Earth.

By way of context, I studied engineering and worked in water and energy resource management for many years. I also have a fascination with societal infrastructure and how it relates to development. I own an Irish tech company called eTownz and we have spent much of the past 10 years chipping away at a problem: how can we help communities make the most from local development?

So for this year’s Congregation, I’ve decided to get very loose with my virtual pencil and see what type of bold, general statements I can muster on what I think “Society 3.0” will mean let’s say over the next 15-20 years.

Global Objectives

1) Global Equality
It will not be as easy for the super-rich to hide their money in the future, and society will firstly understand and then take action against humanity’s greatest embarrassment, its inequality. It will ask, “Do we have the society we want when one person can be worth 200+ billion while billions of others don’t have the financial means for food and a basic existence?” I think society will not accept this and will (if perhaps slowly) chip away at this so there is not so much disparity.

COVID has taught humanity one thing, if we face an existential crisis, we have the capacity to somewhat work together to address big problems, put the power, money and systems in places to address the effects and find solutions.

I think rich society will realise it’s not in their interest to have a sizable portion of the world languishing in abject poverty. The US implemented the 4yr “Marshall Plan” to rebuild Europe post World War 2. It simply set aside about ~2% of its GDP (equivalent to ~E200 billion in today’s money) and implemented a very successful investment plan. Society will implement a grand plan to help lift much of Africa, Asia and South America out of the circle of poverty it finds itself. Why would the western world do this? I have a few reasons:

Climate change will cause unprecedented forced mass migration, force migration issue has a common goal, migrants don’t want to leave and they are often unwanted in the richer countries they flee to. Walls and oceans will not be able to stop the influx of people and society will realise there is one solution to this problem, to lift the poor out of extreme poverty.
Advances in technology will make it easier to lift regions out of poverty. Digitisation of education, flexible economies/workforces and efficiency in building new infrastructure just make this easier than it was for the past 100 years, so why not?
It makes economic sense to convert poor regions into markets where people can buy things.
Data leads to transparency and the wrongs of the world will be more fully exposed and will not be tolerated (e.g. resource exploitation of developing countries, misinformation)

2) Environmental Challenge:

Little doubt, climate change will have unimaginable negative effects on humanity and life on earth. Engineers will engineer endless small solutions when combined will make things tolerable. We will move cities, replace our outdated energy systems, build mammoth climate mitigation infrastructure, who knows, maybe even learn to control the weather, rebuild rainforest, savannahs or clean our seas (hopefully while there is still something to save). While millions may die while we learn this truth, in the next 100 years we will learn to stop our rapid degradation of the planet and begin to reverse the impacts we are inflicting on Mother N.

3) Re-humanisation: So the wealthy portion of humanity has become educated, created more complex jobs for more complex graduates and now we have less time for family, friends, community, music, art the building blocks of Society 1.0 …. I think in society 3.0 there will be a pervasive change in societal mindsets. Robotics, AI and other technologies will mean we don’t need to work 100hrs/week, maybe 30 hrs/week will suffice. This creates the headspace for humanity to look at itself and rekindle our appreciation for family, friends, community and society. This will mean people will become more active in their communities and do so for personal and collective reward, perhaps not a monetary reward but social rewards of simply living a happier life.

4) The democratisation of knowledge
As the old saying goes, “knowledge is power” is still very true today but there are a lot more caveats now. Online education, AI along with many other tools mean that it is not as easy as it was to own knowledge and keep it just for yourself. This has many benefits for developing countries as they often have cheaper cost base and knowledge is sometimes a factor which excludes them from development. These walls will start to crumble allowing a more even world.

So that’s it, my “back of an envelope” predictions for society 3.0 which can be summarised as:

Good news: Humanity will survive and get become more self-aware and conscious.
Bad news: We will need to endure a lot of pain and suffering to get there.

<?php previous_post_link(); ?> <?php next_post_link(); ?>

The Solution: A Global Network of Smart Communities Implementing Change #54 #cong19


This article explores why a global network of smart communities can transform our world for the better and identifies key attributes of a smart community in the future.

Key Takeaways:

  1. “Smart communities” have the greatest potential for rapid positive change in the world
  2. The community development sector in Ireland is comprised of thousands of groups, people and volunteered hours. Output from the sector can be greatly improved with improvements in efficiency brought about through digitisation
  3. Digitisation and the development of evidence-based approaches to local development will have a transformative change in Ireland and across the world
  4. Smarter communities of the future will use the information to better understand opportunities, make better decisions, improve cross-community collaboration and work in a more efficient and effective manner.

About Pat Kennedy:

Pat is the CEO of an Irish tech company called eTownz. eTownz have spent the past 8 years undertaking research in community development best practices. The company is developing a platform “eTownz Community Council Dashboard” to allow communities to better plan and manage local development activities.

Contacting Pat Kennedy:

You can connect with Pat on LinkedIn, see his work on eTownz or send him an email.

By Pat Kennedy

Our world is facing many economic, social and environmental challenges. Local communities have potentially the power to be the greatest force of change in the world. In order to realise the potential of communities they will need to modernise (and modernise without losing their soul)

Across the world, locals with shared goals, come together and form groups. Together, they utilize their shared skills, energy, resources and free time to change their communities.  This is in reference to all sorts of groups: business groups, sport groups, environmental groups, social support, heritage and arts groups, the list goes on.

The internet as a service has completely transformed most sectors. However the community development sector has not had the same transformative change through dedicated digital services.

So, what would the future look like if the community development sector went through a similar transformation as it has in other sectors? What if we could better quantify community work in your community, county and even country. Quantify all the activities by local group, everything including but not limited to …Tidy Towns, Chambers of Commerce, Men’s Sheds, Coder Dojos, GAA, St Vincent de Paul, Meals on Wheels, Sustainable Energy Communities, the list goes on.

Community activity is vast but largely unaccounted for, some high level figures include:.

  • 18,586 non profit groups in Ireland (mainly community groups)
  • 10,9816 people are employed in the sector (many again community orientated).
  • The “Leader” budget alone for 2014 – 2020 is €250 million along with many other public funding mechanisms.
  • Over 25% of the Irish population volunteer their time with various groups.
  • There are 232 million volunteers hours annually which is equivalent to €2 billion annually (@minimum wage )


There are six areas where dedicated and centralised online community development tools could have a significant impact in the future.

1) Bottom Up Data

Like all sectors, in order to make smarter decisions we need access to up-to-date & relevant data. Smart communities will be equipped with the tools to regularly gather local data. This will include sensors to environmental data but also user information on the projects, tasks and goals of local clubs and groups.

A smart community ecosystem would allow information from these various sources to be made available to community stakeholders allowing greater understanding, improvements in efficiency and better targeting of solutions to specific local goals and challenges.

2) Top-Tier Data

The Open Data movement provides rich and detailed public datasets which can help communities better understand their opportunities and issues. The data is open source and publically available, however it needs to be cleaned, visualised, interpreted and delivered on a very regular basis to those involved in local development, localised unemployment data, weather data, crime stats, housing information. All this made available by public bodies and in the future this will be processed and delivered in a manner which helps local communities grow.

3) Community Engagement, Opinion and Local Governance

Facebook & other social media tools have provided a place where people can discuss local issues online. However, social media has some limitations, mainly because there were not designed as a community development tool. In future, local communities will have discussion tools, voting tools, idea boards among others. Such tools would improve the cross pollination of ideas and help build engagement/participation in local initiatives.

4) Task Management in Local Development

The figures indicate that people want to contribute to their community but how.  Help needs to be flexible and respect the skills and interest of the volunteer. Community groups are always looking for more help however in future they will outline the specific help needed into task management tools. Subsequently, this can be shared among their members and the wider community so that people could be carrying out these tasks whilst on a lunch break, on a bus, or in front of the team.

Task management tools provide continuity between meetings and a clear roadmap on the agenda. It also helps reduce the pressure on the key community stalwarts to do everything. By tracking volunteer hours and contributions, we then can look at rewarding local volunteers in different ways. Examples of this include, time banking so they can exchange services, organize awards ceremonies for helpers and maybe even vouchers for local businesses !

5) Online meetings & training

Not everyone can attend meetings when they are on, they could be away from home or minding the kids. In future community groups will move towards conducting meetings either full or partly online. Consequently, this will open the door for so many more people to contribute to local issues without attending a meeting in person. A simplified means of documenting and distributing meeting notes, project plans and such again helps bring more people into help with local initiatives.

6) Effective & Efficient Knowledge Transfer

Effective and efficient transfer of ideas and expertise among the sector is an essential component of a smart community. Knowledge silos exists across many players in the sector from research institutes, to community groups and funding organisations. In future there will be a system to carefully document and catalogue best practices, case studies and other relevant information in a centralized digital repository. The experts across various sectors can help define best practise and project methodologies to create a collective “know how” which can be accessed by communities across the country and world.