The world is changing. It may not feel like it, but the outlook is good.
I was speaking at an entrepreneurial conference in Slovenia last week and I heard someone say that we are not experiencing a ‘global crisis’ - they preferred instead to describe our current economic situation as “global change”.
At the end of the Q&A I was asked how I see things in the future. Rather anxiously, I was asked “what’s next, what is going to happen?”. Clearly there is a lot of concern about the future and how best to prepare for it. These are important questions that will help shape the businesses that entrepreneurs (like those attending the conference) will go on to create.
This is a summary of the three observations that I shared:
1. It’s a fact, the future is good news:
I’m delighted to report that we humans now live longer, are more healthy, more prosperous and have more leisure time than ever before. And it appears to be a constant trend.
I’ve heard expert futurologists speculate that humans will live to 1,000 years old. What is even more astonishing is their thought that the first human to achieve this may have already been born.
2. It’s not just the world that is changing - people are too:
My Grandfather was horrified that we had lost the basic human capability to hunt. We are equally horrified to have to acquire it. And so he feared for our survival.
Me - I’m quite happy to pop to Sainsbury’s when I’m hungry, (Tesco even, if I’m really desperate). As a generalisation we’ve become more ‘shoppers and browsers’ than ‘hunter-gathers’.
Predictive Intelligent Convenience (which I wrote about recently) will prevent us from having to wrestle with spontaneous problem solving and navigating unforeseen obstacles. Technology will literally prevent us from standing on packed railway stations waiting for indefinitely delayed trains. It will reconfigure our schedules so that we don’t experience such issues and inconvenience. Importantly, it will do so without our involvement or consultation. We will be unaware of the obstacles that were avoided.
Our elders will anxiously be at pains to prevent us from becoming the sat-nav generation who collectively drive off a cliff together simply because the computer told us to.
3. There will be real-world tangible differences in how we live:
… and they will be more significant than pre-to-post printing; pre-to-post television etc. The one innovation that I am most passionate about is the introduction of driver-less cars.
In my experience of discussing this innovation, my sense is that generally our curiosity about driver-less cars stops at the incredulity of being in a vehicle that has no driver - which sounds absurd. But I believe that this technology will change everything - so much so, I’ll write a separate blog post to list the numerous impacts.
I’m not a futurologist - my thoughts are in-part born out of my unique position of working with some of the best digital entrepreneurs in Wayra, which is a privilege. The aim of sharing these thoughts is to help inspire the next group of digital pioneers.
I read in the media that today (Monday 21 January 2013) is “Blue Monday” - according to some journalists the most depressing day of the year. My photo is of the globe belonging to my youngest daughter. I may sound like a born optimist, but it really has got a healthy glow about it.