22 Self-fulfilling Prophecies That Will Come True in 2022
Have you ever fantasized about something so intensely that it actually became true? In 1948, Robert K. Merton coined the term “self-fulfilling prophecy” to describe this phenomenon. It occurs when a prediction, directly or indirectly, becomes a reality due to positive feedback between the belief and subsequent behavior.
There are thousands of examples of self-fulfilling prophecies. It’s an important psychological phenomenon that demonstrates the impact our wishes, dreams, and fears can have on our reality. Does this mean we understand the significance of them? Not necessarily. Michael Biggs, sociologist at the University of Oxford, points out an important nuance: “The actors within the process—or at least some of them—fail to understand how their own belief has helped to construct that reality; because their belief is eventually validated, they assume that it had been true at the outset.”
In other words, once a self-fulfilling prophecy becomes true—and it must, otherwise it wouldn’t be a self-fulfilling prophecy after all!—it’s assumed to be ‘true’ and not a result of behavior or belief.
Self-fulfilling prophecies are more widespread than one might assume. In fact, they are everywhere. To paraphrase Ruth Hubbard, the first woman ever to hold a tenured professorship position in biology, you could argue that every theory, whether it is a scientific model, a philosophical stance, a book, a manifesto, or a theory of change, is a self-fulfilling prophecy because “it orders experience into the framework it provides.”
One of today’s most fascinating sell-fulfilling prophecies: Bitcoin.
From inception, the sheer audacity of the concept gave it momentum. In 1997, James Dale Davidson and Lord William Rees-Mogg published their book The Sovereign Individual. The authors predicted the emergence of “cryptography”: a borderless and nationless digital jurisdiction shifting the balance of power from the state to the individual. And they also, clairvoyantly, foresaw the rise of “cybermoney”:
“As cybercommerce begins, it will lead inevitably to cybermoney. This new form of money will reset the odds, reducing the capacity of the world’s nationstates to determine who becomes a Sovereign Individual. A crucial part of this change will come about because of the effect of information technology in liberating the holders of wealth from expropriation through inflation. Soon, you will pay for almost any transaction over the Net the same time you place it, using cybercash…. It will be tradable at a keystroke in a multi-trillion-dollar wholesale market without borders.”
Who will Nakamoto be?
More than ten years later, on January 3, 2009—at around 18:15:05 UTC—a person calling themselves Satoshi Nakamoto mined the very first bitcoin, after announcing it in an October 2008 white paper and eventually open-sourcing the project in 2010.
The guessing game around Nakamoto’s true identity has become a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy in itself. Elon Musk recently claimed that the enigmatic Nakamoto might in fact be Nick Szabo, a well-known computer scientist and cryptographer. In any case, the Bitcoin mastermind, considered one of the 15 richest people in the world, has good reason not to reveal their identity: the U.S. government would most likely arrest them for alleged tax evasion.
At this point, it doesn’t matter who they are; in fact, the very mystery around them has only enhanced Bitcoin’s allure, not the least because the genesis story is now as decentralized as the mechanics of crypto themselves. To quote Nakamoto themselves, “If enough people think the same way, that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.” Whoever we think Nakamoto is, whoever we want them to be, they will be.
The mysteries of Bitcoin don’t stop there.
Some Bible prophecy advocates claim Bitcoin could be the “mark of the beast” discussed in the New Testament’s Book of Revelation. Others claim that Nostradamus predicted Bitcoin, with his ominous statement: “He who spends the invisible coin shall prosper.”
And prosper they shall.
At the outset of this year, the media—from CNET to Forbes, TIME, and Coindesk—is awash with predictions for Bitcoin and crypto in 2022, and they are bullish. Many experts predict Bitcoin is on its way to passing the $100,000 mark, though with divergent opinions on exactly when that might happen. Billionaire hedge fund and venture capital investors are adding Bitcoin to their portfolios. The influential venture capital investor and House contributor Tim Draper expects the coin to reach $250,000 by the end of 2022. Research firm Arcane reports that in 2021 Bitcoin outperformed the S&P 500 index. The analysts expect this trend to continue this year, and predict that several crypto companies, many of them already valued at over $1 billion, will go public this year, following the successful IPO of Coinbase (which currently boasts a market cap of $72 billion).
All of this reminds us that self-fulfilling prophecies are essential to business. Any successful visionary founder issues one. Any company vision is one. Any stock performance, upward or downward, is. Any project, successful or failed, too.
To turn this into an advantage, ask yourself the following questions:
What is the change you want to effect? Which underlying belief can you amplify so it becomes a behavior causing that change?
Let’s play this through with a self-fulfilling prophecy of our own: business will become more beautiful. To make business more beautiful (the change we want to effect), we must create beauty in the form of personal, emotional experiences that touch people so deeply (our belief we can amplify) that they return to their workplace determined to amend their reality to fit the strong emotions they felt, and to create spaces, rituals, and practices that enable them (a behavior causing that change).
Now apply this to climate change, social justice, democracy, or the future of work, and see what happens.
A self-fulfilling prophecy is a positive reinforcement cycle. When it is socially contagious, that is when the instigated behavior becomes collective behavior, when more and more people see the world not as it is, but how it should be (“a false reality becoming the truth,” to quote Robert K. Merton), actual change will happen.
Faith can move mountains indeed.
In this spirit, the most optimistic prediction we can make about 2022 is that it will be the year of self-fulfilling prophecies. Why? Because we believe so!
So let’s get started. Here’s a list of 22 self-fulfilling prophecies that we believe will come true in 2022:
- We will make great headway toward vaccine equity.
By March, as many as one billion doses are scheduled to arrive in the African continent, which is, in theory, sufficient to fully vaccinate 70 percent of the population. While this will not solve the COVID-19 crisis, and neither mitigate the unjust rollout and distribution across low, middle, and high-income countries, it’s progress heading in the right direction.
Ketamine will foster a path toward better mental health.
You might remember it as a psychedelic drug at raves in the 90s, but increasingly Ketamine-assisted therapy is providing help with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. On January 21 at our Open House, we’ll hear more about its effects from Dr. Shannon Dames who runs the Roots to Thrive program, a Canadian treatment course that combines ketamine with psychotherapy.
Regenerative culture will become THE workplace culture.
Globally, two in five people report having become lonelier over the past six months. According to Forrester’s report, leaders and organizations will be held accountable to respond to pandemic fatigue and provide better health support, and will understand its positive impact on their company’s sustainable development, steering us towards a more regenerative culture.
WFH will be meta, meta, meta.
With Apple, Qualcomm, Sony, Meta (formerly Facebook), and many other companies working on new products that zoom us into the metaverse, our workplace from anywhere has just become upgraded. Create your avatar, and see you on the other side!
The Great Resignation will become The Great Restructuring
“The phrase has come to describe record levels of job turnover,” Kathryn Hymes writes in Wired, “but it overlooks the bigger story: a radical rethinking of our relationship to work.” She is one of a growing choir of experts who predict that the Great Resignation will usher in a Great Restructuring. Derek Thompson, along similar lines, argues in The Atlantic that “the basic terms of employment are undergoing a Great Reset.” Designer, researcher, and HR expert Ben Jackson told Galaxy Brain’s Charlie Warzel that he expects the demise of an “ideological regime” propagating an “obsession on things that can be quantified and an obsession on efficiency, to the exclusion of things that can’t be measured precisely and still have outsize impact on a company’s bottom line and on health and well-being of its employees.”
The boss won’t be missed.
According to a study by Gartner, less than 50 percent of employees believe that their manager can lead their team to success in the future, mostly due to their lacking management skills in a remote or hybrid environment. With the pandemic leading to about one-third of teams operating without a traditional manager role, we’ll simply see fewer of them. By 2024, 30 percent of corporate teams will be without a boss, Gartner forecasts.
Big Tech will become more self-aware—and remain big.
During the past year, Big Tech’s market caps increased massively (Alphabet’s by 69 percent, Apple’s by 34 percent, Facebook’s by 27 percent), and so did revenues (Facebook’s by 43 percent, Alphabet’s by 34 percent, Amazon’s by 32 percent). At the same time, the great reckoning continues. In the wake of Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, new alliances are forming to hold tech companies accountable. After being fired from Google, Timnit Gebru just started her own AI research institute, DAIR, focused on responsible use of AI. Former Facebook employee, Yael Eisenstat, who is now a policy adviser and future of democracy fellow at the Berggruen Institute, says “we will see movements from tech workers themselves, who can and hopefully will demand more ethical, transparent, and inclusive decision-making from their leaders.” A less optimistic take is that tech might increasingly become “the locus of fantasy, escapism, and fin de siècle excess.” This is one concern of Tim Hwang, author of Subprime Attention Crisis, who predicts that technology will serve as a “cult infrastructure,” leading to “technology fundamentalism.”
Quantum will leap further ahead.
While a future quantum internet—though in progress—will need more time to develop, the industry, with players like IBM, is working on fostering quantum skills to ensure workforces are ready for the high-performing computing landscape.
DAOs will be mooning.
In 2021, DAOs surged and now collectively have about a million members. According to ConsenSys, the top 20 DAOs have $14 billion in digital assets. Following the predictions of Surojit Chaterjee, chief product officer of Coinbase, we’ll see DAOs becoming more mature and mainstream as they redefine employment—“never receiving a formal offer letter, accepting tokens instead of or along with fixed salaries, and working in multiple DAO projects at the same time” are all developments we could see over the next year.
Neuromining will engage the subconscious.
One indicator of where customer and employee engagement is headed is neuromining, which combines behavioral intelligence and related technology to analyze, understand, and influence human subconscious behavior. Gartner believes that by 2024, 40 percent of consumers will trick behavior tracking metrics to intentionally devalue the personal data collected about them, so the subconscious will become the next frontier. The firm estimates that by 2027 a quarter of the Fortune 20 companies will be supplanted by companies that neuromine and influence subconscious behavior at scale.
Robots will give birth.
After creating the world’s first-ever living robots engineered from stem cells in 2020, the same research team from the University of Vermont, Tufts University, and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, has discovered that xenobots can actually self-replicate. So far, they can’t live outside of the laboratory and have short lifespans of a few weeks—but they can give life, which is nothing but sensational (including all the ethical questions it raises.)
The energy transition will continue.
We are seeing the largest increase in global electricity generation from renewable sources, with the biggest solar farm to date becoming operational in Abu Dhabi this year. Moreover, House Resident and Exponential View creator Azeem Azhar and First Light Fusion co-founder Nick Hawker make a passionate case here why nuclear fusion’s time is finally coming.
Climate tech will arrive at scale.
As reported by PwC, startups and venture capital are poised to help halve global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. With a sharper focus on ESG in private markets, alongside regulations such as the EU’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation, the shift—in minds and money—is channeled toward climate tech. And yet, the $60 billion of venture capital invested in climate tech worldwide in the first half of 2021 pales against the $115 billion major streaming companies are planning to spend on new content to gain market share this year.
Meat will be yummy and meatless.
One star example of this trend, the Israeli maker of “cultivated meat,” Future Meat Technologies, just secured a record-breaking $347 million round of funding. The company is working on beef, chicken, lamb, and pork offerings. So yes, this is the future, and you should taste it.
You will love living in a stranger’s home.
With a 300 percent increase in member sign-ups this past year, this global platform proves that home-swapping is becoming a travel dream you didn’t know you had, as it turns out to be an equally exciting and economical alternative, with added benefits such as using each other’s cars, children’s toys, or gym memberships on top of living the life (of someone else).
The Arctic and Antarctica will need to be protected from humans.
With mass tourism taking off and countries tapping into its resources and land for military facilities, Antarctica is increasingly endangered to lose its protection from human population manifested in the 1959 Antarctic Treaty. Similarly, Greenland is becoming the new El Dorado for mineral and mining companies despite local people’s resistance. What might help? Choosing home-swapping (see no.15) instead of traveling there. Or creating new Marine Protected Areas and learning more about the potential effects of solar geoengineering in protecting and restoring the reflective Arctic ice.
The moon will get crowded.
All eyes will be on the lunar missions from countries including India, Japan, and Russia. With all the excitement around space exploration, let’s just hope no comet will be coming at us like in the movie Don’t Look Up, oh wait….
The European Space Agency and Russia are planning to launch their ExoMars lander and rover to the surface this September, joining NASA’s Perseverance and Curiosity.
The 90s-are-back trend will peak
First off, the good news is: the 90s were slightly cooler than the 80s. The bad news: some of the fashion trends were still hideous, (jelly sandals!) but, hey, nostalgia is a potent force, as Mad Man Don Draper knew. And when it comes to design, the 90s renaissance is easier to embrace than the Y2K resurgence favored by Gen-Z. Remember the Y2K bug, Acid House, and raves? The latter has at least aged well.
TikTok will continue to rule the social media world.
Latest predictions on the platform say TikTok will reach 755 million monthly users after seeing steady growth of over 40 percent in the past two years, with time spent per use surging higher than any other app. If you're not there yet, now’s the last call, even if just for the latest virtual restaurant buzz.
The tiger will be our spirit animal to save.
Chinese New Year will fall on February 1, starting a year of the Tiger, promising adventure, self-esteem, and a strong energetic presence. Speaking of which, this year also marks the completion of a 10-year program to double the global tiger population involving 13 Asian countries. What does the Tiger year bring to you? Check it here—ROAWR!
You will dream with us in Lisbon.
Join us for our annual gathering from October 28-31, celebrating the prophecies that came true and putting out new ones, inserting whatever you need to insert into The ___ Dream.
What are your self-fulfilling prophecies? Add them to the list!