Henry Ford once surmised that if you asked people what they wanted, they would have replied "faster horses".
The truth is we really do not know what it is we want when it comes to the future.
Steve Jobs had a similar viewpoint. He believed that you could not ask people what they wanted but had to show them what they could have.
The same holds true today. We have a lot of technology available to us that could radically change the fortune of humanity. In fact, we have the ability to create "super humans" according to many.
In spite of this, many fear the technology that is coming down the road. A great deal of this is due to Hollywood and Science Fiction writers. Films such as the Matrix and Terminator give us a view of technology, especially artificial intelligence, that is entirely negative.
What is ironic is that, throughout history, technology has improved humanity. While there are bumps in the road, such as atomic energy, it mostly beneficial. Sure we dropped the two bombs during World War II which is a blight on humanity. However, we power many homes, hospitals, and schools using this power.
The reality is that technology is going to radically alter the business world. At the top of the list is Artificial Intelligence. While many have visions of it being our overlord as depicted in SciFi books and films, this is not likely the case. Instead, we will merge with technology over time.
For example, search is getting better. Why is this important? Because in our digitized world of information, being able to pull up the data exactly as we need it is vital.
Of course, today we enter a word or phrase into a connected device and the search engine pulls up a series of results.
This all changes when we add advanced levels of AI to search. Instead of a search engine, we have a personal AI assistant. This will be something that knows us intimately. So not only can it provide us with any answer we seek (first generations are Alexa and Siri) but also coordinate all we need. Scheduling, ordering, and a host of other activities that assistants handle will be done by our personal AI.
Of course, there is nothing that says we cannot have a fleet of these. If we accomplish that, we essentially have our own personal AI workforce. So basically we will see entire companies that are composed of nothing but AI, even if they are only narrow in their scope.
It is important to remember that AI is really just software, albeit advancing in scope. Thus, we have a preview of what is to come if we look at the financial industry. Through automated trading, software basically runs markets. Humans are not involved in the trading platforms for many of Wall Street's largest firms.
Another area is deepfakes. While many will say these are bad and can be misused for propaganda, there are benefits to it.
For example, in the film industry, what happens if an actor or actress dies during filming? The entire production is shut down with the script being rewritten. This adds major delays as well as a great deal of expense.
With deepfakes, the actor or actress could be "faked" into the parts of the film was not recorded. This would allow for deadlines to be met while keeping the costs down.
Robots are going to take over many facets of the business world. This includes those that are shaped like cars.
Our manufacturing is rapidly being moved into the realm of robotics. Whether it is on the factory floor or in the form of 3-D printing, this entire industry is going to be automated. At the same time, we see the idea that the transportation sector will become automated, ultimately creating a safer as well as more efficient system.
There is a downside to all this naturally. Humans in the workforce is likely to decline. This has huge implications upon society, ones that we appear not ready to address. Sadly, it seems we will wait until there is a crisis upon us before we seek alternative solutions.
Either way, it is not going to be business as usual. Over the next decade, there will be major changes taking place, much due to technology. How companies adapt is going to determine whether they will still be in business.
This also have implications for those who are entering the workforce. We are seeing time condensed as technology speeds up. Therefore, what was a 5 year plan is now 3; a 10 year plan became 7. Are we able to operate in this manner?
Cryptocurrency is seeing the adoption of DAOs. This is going to take on added meaning as we proceed forward. Entire companies will be autonomous providing us an entirely new business structure. This is going to extend beyond the crypto industry and will likely be one of the common ways companies are established.
How do we interact with an entity that has no employees, board of governors, and no physical location?
Ultimately, we are faced with a future that is not only made up of prosumers but one where the users are the owners. In additional, through the concept of fractional ownership, people from all over the world will have a piece in many different entities. One individual could own a piece of thousands of different companies.
If this comes to fruition, what does it mean for employment. Overall, it is easy to see how most people will not require it since they will have resources due to their ownership in different projects.
In short, we are looking at a radical transformation of the entire business world.
It will be interesting to see how people handle what is coming down the road.
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