Unless you grew up in the UK during the 1980s and 1990s (like your author), the phrase ‘your starter for ten’ may not mean anything. It was a term coined on a British quiz show called University Challenge, which ran from 1962-1987, and then restarted in 1994. Contestants’ first question – their starter – was worth ten points. We mention this in the context of our most recent thematic work. 

As many readers will be aware, every year at Heptagon since 2012, we have published an annual outlook piece, highlighting what we believe to be some of the key future trends that will continue to shape the world. Our 2024 publication came out this week. The good news for readers who don’t have time to peruse the whole note is that below follows our starter for ten – a quiz with answers, or our ten top pieces of trivia. Even better, each is accompanied by a hopefully handy implication too.

·           Generative AI could account for 1% of US GDP by 2030, if it were to grow at the same pace as software did in the 1990s. Conclusion: love it, loathe it, or don’t yet fully understand it, AI will be a game-changer. Embrace it to remain front of mind in almost all conversations.

·           The cost of treating the obesity crisis globally will reach over $40tr by 2035. Conclusion: we need to focus more on solutions to this challenge, particularly since it is markedly bigger in value terms than the AI opportunity (1% of current US GDP is ~$2.3tr).

·           30% of innovative pharmaceuticals will be created by generative AI by 2030. Conclusion: given that novel drugs can take over a decade to emerge and have less than a 10% rate of success, generative AI has the potential to lower costs and increase hit rates.

·           AI can help people complete tasks 25% more quickly and improve their quality by up to 40%. Conclusion: a computer won’t take your job, but someone who knows how to use AI better than you could do so. Expect more deployments.

·           Despite more than $6tr spent on renewable energy since 2005, the world is still ~80% reliant on fossil fuels. Conclusion: despite record temperatures in 2023 and much political pressure, we are still in the early innings of the renewable energy revolution.

·           The price of solar modules has declined by 99.6% since 1976 – the year your author was born. Conclusion: falling input costs for building out renewable solutions can surely only be a good thing. Within the next five years, 90% of new energy deployments are forecast to come from renewables.

·           Almost one-in-five cars sold this year will be electric vehicles. Conclusion: similar to renewable energy, the runway ahead for electric vehicles is significant. Just don’t expect them to be autonomous any time soon.

·           Nearly 70% of drivers say they are afraid of fully self-driving cars. Just 9% trust them. Conclusion: see the prior point, but more importantly, all data (regardless of where or how they are used) have no value unless secured, analysed and stored efficiently.

·           There will be a 40% gap between global water demand and supply by 2030. Conclusion: expect significantly more investment in this sector, since the world economy depends on water to function.

·           A third of the world’s population has yet to come online. Conclusion: once they do, we need to consider how to use enhanced connectivity and potentially infinite content to solve the world’s much larger problems including water (and food) shortages.

The sources for all the above can be found in our theme piece.

15 November 2023

The above does not constitute investment advice and is the sole opinion of the author at the time of publication. Past performance is no guide to future performance and the value of investments and income from them can fall as well as rise.

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Alex Gunz, Fund Manager


The document is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute investment advice or any recommendation to buy, or sell or otherwise transact in any investments. The document is not intended to be construed as investment research. The contents of this document are based upon sources of information which Heptagon Capital LLP believes to be reliable. However, except to the extent required by applicable law or regulations, no guarantee, warranty or representation (express or implied) is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this document or its contents and, Heptagon Capital LLP, its affiliate companies and its members, officers, employees, agents and advisors do not accept any liability or responsibility in respect of the information or any views expressed herein. Opinions expressed whether in general or in both on the performance of individual investments and in a wider economic context represent the views of the contributor at the time of preparation. Where this document provides forward-looking statements which are based on relevant reports, current opinions, expectations and projections, actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. All opinions and estimates included in the document are subject to change without notice and Heptagon Capital LLP is under no obligation to update or revise information contained in the document. Furthermore, Heptagon Capital LLP disclaims any liability for any loss, damage, costs or expenses (including direct, indirect, special and consequential) howsoever arising which any person may suffer or incur as a result of viewing or utilising any information included in this document. 

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