2014 Top 10 Key events heralding future trends

First top 10 list: Events during the year that have the highest significance for future trends, and can be sure to reverberate next year and going forward.

  1. The rise of ISIS – signaling the nonlinear threats of terrorism in the future, and more broadly, the increased power of non-state actors.
  2. The annexation of Crimea – signaling the end of the geopolitical post-Cold War era, as borders are less expected to be respected.
  3. The $40 billion valuation of Uber – Showing the enormous potential in disrupting existing industries, if done right, and monetizing assets that were previously impossible to monetize (people’s time, people unused cars, time wasted waiting for taxis).
  4. UKIP’s (UK Independence Party) gains in UK by-elections and rise of the far-right parties in the European Parliament elections – a sign of the increased frustration with the status quo in today’s political economy in the EU. The economy is moribund, and politicians are powerless.
  5. The Ebola outbreak – demonstrating the increased interconnectedness of the world, for better or worse.
  6. The Scotland referendum – showing increased nationalism, but not always nationalism that corresponds to current borders, but rather smaller (Scotland, Catalonia) or bigger (Islamic State Caliphate) parts.
  7. The announcement of China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank – signals the first nail in the coffin of the supranational system set up post-World War II, as the rising powers want a larger say in the global economy. If the IMF doesn’t reform, then they’ll create their own institutions.
  8. The Alibaba IPO – already seeing a higher valuation than Walmart, suggesting the enormous promise of the Chinese consumer economy.
  9. The Amazon drone delivery announcement – heralding a brave new world of instant delivery of anything and everything. Maybe.
  10. Regin – a piece of malware probably created by the US, showing how cyber warfare is getting more and more powerful.

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