In terms of how we will eat, green markets founder and "real food" proponent Nina Planck is optimistic that there will be more small slaughterhouses, more small creameries, and more regional food operations—and we'll be healthier as a result . New York Times cooking columnist Mark Bittman, similarly, thinks that people will eat fewer processed foods , and eat foods grown closer to where they live. And Anson Mills farmer Glenn Roberts thinks that more people will clue into the "ethical responsibility" to grow and preserve land-raised farm systems .
And what will our culture be like? We may not get rid of racism in America entirely in the next 40 years, but NAACP President Benjamin Jealous predicts that in the coming decades the issue of race will become "much less significant," even as the issue of class may rise in importance. Father James Martin, a Jesuit priest, says it's even likely that we'll see a black pope , reversing centuries of Euro-centrism in favor of Catholics in Africa. Nigeria is one such country with a large Catholic population.
Meanwhile, prisons expert Robert Perkinson says he thinks there will be fewer Americans in prison in 2050 , because we will realize that the current high levels of incarceration are out of sync with our history and values. Historian and social scientist Joan Wallach Scott worries, however, that unless the countries of Europe figure out how to accommodate Muslim immigrant populations, t here will be more riots, and increasing divisions along economic, religious and ethnic lines , such instability could have knock on effects in countries ranging from Egypt and Iran to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
Industry bodies and regulators should invest and create incentives. They can play a helpful role, for example, by working with contractors, owners, and technology players to define new standards for emerging technologies, develop pilot projects, and showcase success stories. They can create grants, bonuses, or subsidies to nudge owners and contractors toward using digital solutions and help them educate and train the next generation. They can also encourage the adoption of digital technologies, such as 5-D BIM, in public projects, as well as set productivity norms, such as the use of prefabricated components. On the investment side, some industry bodies have established venture-capital funds to help the best start-ups scale up and to connect them to developers and contractors.