In just a few short years, we'll be living in a world without car parks, credit cards and even foreign languages, a top futurist has predicted.

Michael McQueen, a Sydney-based, award-winning speaker, business strategist and trend forecaster, told the world was changing rapidly and the next decade would see unprecedented change both in Australia and around the globe.

In his latest book, How to Prepare Now for What's Next, McQueen reveals a roundup of products, services and industries that are on the brink of extinction — and how we can "futureproof" their lives.

"In 10 years' time, the world will be so incredibly different," McQueen said.


"The downside to all these changes is that... 47 per cent of current professions could potentially disappear within the next 15 years or be significantly eroded by technology and automation.

"That's nothing new — in the past, we've seen it happen with production lines — but now, to futureproof your career, you need to focus on things technology can't do well, things that are uniquely human-like empathy, creativity and instinct.

"Professions where the majority of things you do are 'human' are the safest. Repetitive, transactional stuff will disappear, but while you can train a machine to be a caregiver, you can't actually make it care because it has no soul."

McQueen said Australians were quite eager to embrace new technology, so he expected change to occur very rapidly.

He also shared his top six picks of common things which will disappear forever within the next decade.


According to McQueen, the once-popular music downloading service will be gone by early 2019.

He said that while Apple had repeatedly denied claims the shutdown would happen by the end of next year, sources have "pointed to a plan to completely terminate iTunes music download sales by early 2019".


That shutdown will apparently involve paid downloads, although existing downloads will still work.


McQueen said despite recent setbacks, the rollout of driverless cars was unstoppable — and once it becomes commonplace, it will change the landscape of our cities.

And it's going to happen quickly — Tesla founder Elon Musk suggests autonomous driving will be available to the public by 2020, while Quartz magazine's Zack Kanter predicts it will be commonplace by 2025 and have a near monopoly by 2030.

McQueen said not only would it become far less common for people to own their own vehicles, car parks will also vanish — as would the need for car insurance.

"Parking is a nightmare — it makes more sense for the car to drop you off and go home or go into an Uber-style pool of other cars and earn you cash while you're at work," he said.

"We only use our cars around 4 per cent of the time on any given week so it looks like a dumb place to put our money as an asset.

"The impact of driverless cars will be that less of us own cars — there's a prediction that within the next three decades, owning a car will be like owning a horse."

McQueen said parking lots will no longer be necessary as a result, and that car parks within some new malls being built today were already designed to be converted into offices once car ownership dwindles.


While credit card use was already declining thanks to technology like Apple Pay, McQueen said even that will soon be replaced.

He said Square's Pay By Name system, which detects when a known mobile phone is in range, identifies the buyer, and displays his or her face on a screen so that the person behind the register can simply tap the picture to complete the transaction, was the way of the future.

But he said mobiles would also be removed from the equation soon, in favour of biometric technology which will recognise our voices, fingerprints or retinas as we walk into a store, which will kickstart the automation process.

Chinese payment giant Alipay has already unveiled technology called Smile to Pay which allows customers to verify their identity and pay for a meal via facial recognition.


By 2020, technology research company Gartner estimates that AI-powered chatbots will be responsible for 85 per cent of customer service interactions.

McQueen said the technology was far cheaper than hiring humans and was also more efficient, which meant call centres were on the way out.


In the not too distant future, tourists and businesspeople alike will be conversing using a translation earpiece that works in "almost real-time" — and doesn't need bluetooth or wi-fi connections.

Powered by IBM's Watson AI technology, the Translate One2One will be a gamechanger, according to McQueen, who predicts it will remove the need to learn foreign languages entirely.


The massive growth in electric vehicles will see the humble servo disappear from our streets.

McQueen said he was certain the growth of electric vehicles would eventually lead to the "demise of need for petrol" — and petrol stations.