Economist predicts 2016’s big stories before they happen

Dec 30, 2015 | Online advertising

The Economist Films has launched its first 30-minute film – “The World In 2016” – looking at some of the iconic moments of the year ahead. The film explores the major changes that are going to bring the world together in 2016, and the ones that are going to drive people further apart. The film […]

The Economist Films has launched its first 30-minute film – “The World In 2016” – looking at some of the iconic moments of the year ahead.

The film explores the major changes that are going to bring the world together in 2016, and the ones that are going to drive people further apart.
The film covers:
• Rare access to China’s secretive Olympic training camps ahead of Rio 2016
• Exclusive interviews with Doctor Who star David Tennant and British hip-hop star Akala, as the world prepares to celebrate the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death
• Final testing of what will be the largest floating structure ever deployed on the oceans – and a possible solution to the devastating problem of plastic pollution
• A demonstration of the controversial transformation that virtual reality technology is bringing to health care
“The World in 2016” looks ahead to the Rio Olympics by revealing the extraordinary lengths China are going to guarantee medal success; highlights the biggest environmental problem most of the world has never heard of; tells the powerful human story behind the year’s must-have technology; finds out how Shakespeare’s timeless stories are being retold in new ways; and meets the hobbyist forecasters who are giving US intelligence analysts a run for their money.
“We wanted to offer an antidote to the countless review-of-the-year shows and stories – and instead give people a peek at what’s in store for next year,” said David Alter, Director of Programmes at Economist Films. “This is our take on The World in 2016 – the big things we’ll all be loving, hating or fearing for the first time, the stories that are going to hit the zeitgeist, the water-cooler moments of the year ahead.”
Five interconnected stories take viewers through the issues and events that are set to dominate 2016 and illustrate the breakthroughs and trends we believe will define the year.
The full film and clips are available to view, link and share on and YouTube on a free-of-charge and copyright free basis (on digital platforms)
Revealed – China’s controversial Olympic training

· A rare opportunity to see inside China’s secretive Olympic training camps ahead of Rio2016. The Economist has secured exclusive access to the world’s largest mass recruitment and sports training programme.
· China’s billion dollar Olympic training infrastructure houses 51,000 athletes at elite national and regional institutes and a further 400,000 children in specialist Olympic ‘schools’ around the country.
· Instructor Shen Chen describes how recruiters visit towns and villages to test thousands of small children against a host of specific physiological criteria. Those with the right physical attributes are recruited to the programme from as young as 6 years old.
Rio medal hopeful, 23 year old trampolinist Gao Lei admits: “My biggest sacrifice is my childhood happiness.”
Anniversary of Shakespeare’s death to breathe new life into his work

· Exclusive interview with former Doctor Who and Royal Shakespeare Company ambassador David Tennant on the RSC’s preparations for the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare.
· Tennant and British hip-hip star Akala reveal plans to reach out to a new, young audience for Shakespeare.
· Akala’s Hip-Hop Shakespeare Company will be at the forefront of a global push to engage millions more young people, with workshops and performances around the world that aim to marry street culture with high culture.
· Shakespeare’s work has been translated into more than 100 languages (including Klingon) and been studied in school by more than 50% of the world’s population.
Akala: “For any great poetic tradition to survive it has to be updated, it has to be delivered anew. It’s not about lowering quality – that’s patronizing, and young people see through it. It’s about demystifying Shakespeare – getting people to hear the words and feel the words. And hip-hop has become the global vernacular in which young people express themselves.”
Ocean’s longest floating structure to tackle plastic pollution

· Plastic pollution is set to become one of the big environmental stories of 2016.
· 21 year old Dutch entrepreneur Boyan Slat is behind an audacious plan to clean up some of the 8 million tonnes of plastic washed into our oceans every year.
· During final trials in the Netherlands, Slat explains the thinking behind the floating ocean barrier that will capture the plastic – and why it has attracted serious support from global leaders in science and engineering. In 2016 his company will place the first section of a planned 100-kilometre barrier into the North Pacific Ocean.
· Each year plastic pollution causes the death of one million seabirds and one-hundred thousand marine mammals and introduces toxic chemicals into the food chain that ultimately increase the risk of human infertility, birth defects and cancer. If the barrier works the project could come to be seen as one of the boldest environmental endeavours of all time.
Boyan Slat Founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup: “This will already be the longest floating structure ever deployed on the oceans. The ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ is a symbol of how the negative side effects of technologies created a global problem in the last century, and what I really hope is that The Ocean Cleanup in this century can be a symbol of how we use technology to actually make things better again.”
Pioneering Virtual Reality treatment for psychological disorders

· Virtual Reality will be the dominant breakthrough technology of 2016 – but its reach will be felt far beyond the realms of gaming and entertainment.
· Californian psychologist Skip Rizzo has pioneered the therapeutic use of VR. He demonstrates how the technology is already being used to help treat a range of psychological disorders. From vertigo to PTSD, the immersive experience has proved an effective tool to access traumatic emotional memories.
· Rizzo’s work with retired US servicemen and women has helped to lay the groundwork for the Virtual Reality Medical Centers that are now starting to proliferate, with an ambition to reach some of the 7% of people worldwide who suffer from anxiety disorders.
· Health care is one of a broad range of everyday applications that are about to be transformed by Virtual Reality. Sales of VR tech products are estimated to generate $US3.8bn over the course of 2016.
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