An optimistic projection for 2020 is developed using commercial, technological and demographic comparisons between 1975-6 and the present. Trends in different industries are explored to deduce which industries are likely to be dynamic and grow. Attempts are made to identify fractal similarities among the systems and interactions discussed, and various dichotomies are noted. There are advantages, and disadvantages to integration, or large size, and being smaller, decoupled and more dependent although autonomous. The predominant industrial activities in the future will call for a workforce with sound skills in information technology (IT) areas together with a solid knowledge of the sciences and logistics; there will be a lesser requirement for individuals with specific discipline-related 'traditional' engineering backgrounds. There is need for new paradigms for the education of future engineers.