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However, Hammond said, the fast pace of technical innovation is only one of a number of megatrends shaping the world, megatrends that must be addressed if the world is to be a safer, healthier place to live for its growing population.
The first is the growing population itself. Hammond said 7 billion people live on Earth today, with 8.2 billion to 8.3 billion expected by 2030 and over 9 billion by 2050.
That represents a fast growing base of consumers that businesses will be addressing. "But where are we going to find the food, water and electricity to serve a population growing by half?" he said.
Getting enough food is easy, if the conditions are right, Hammond said. There is also plenty of water, but it is in the wrong places. While some predict the increasing use of tankers to move water to where it is needed, Hammond said he expects to see the development of low-energy water desalination to alleviate this problem.
The second megatrend is the chaos being caused by global warming.
Hammond said he respects and sympathizes with those who believe that humans are not responsible for global warming. However, he said, the truth is, regardless of the cause, the planet is indeed warming, leading to increased extremes in the weather.
"It is important for us to find ways to reduce this warming," he said. "Over the next 50 years, we need to transition to lower energy use."
The third megatrend is energy production, an area Hammond said changes must be made in order to protect the planet.
While full energy independence is a laudable goal, it needs to be coupled with the development of alternative forms of energy, he said.
"This is imperative," he said. "There is a 30-year carbon lag. The carbon we are emitting [into the atmosphere] today, which is four-times what we produced 30 years ago, won't come to haunt us until 2042."
The fourth megatrend is globalization, or the need to support the world's poorest people as a way to enrich everyone.