Future will not be about managing change alone, which inherently is difficult. It will be about managing scale, quality and accelerated change, which will be highly challenging.
A recent read of an important book by Vishnu Makhijani brought up a few important observations, which I think worth sharing.
Tackling human obsolescence will be a challenge
With increased technology comes the risk of human obsolescence. With the advent of automation, robotics and AI, the prime questions that come to everyone’s mind are: what will happen to the jobs currently done by humans? Will humans become obsolete and redundant as labor-intensive and skill-oriented work gets increasingly done by machines both efficiently and at a lower cost? Should we race towards machine learning and digitization before looking at basic computerization and retraining the masses? This is a key question that countries must grapple with now before it becomes too late!
Energy, like data, will disrupt every industry
While the first level of disruption happened due to the rapid fall of data prices, the second level of disruption would happen due to the sharp drop in renewable energy prices.
This is because two energy deficient nations, China and India, are increasingly generating and using solar power. Today solar and wind power at below Rs. 3 per Kilowatt-hour are competing at par with thermal power generated by coal. If prices fall to below Re. 1 per unit, which should happen in the next few years it would become disruptive. It will cause millions of energy-dependent businesses and gadgets to change the way they do business.
Climate change will bring challenges and new opportunities
While climate change poses major challenges, it will create enormous opportunities for new business and economy. Replacing fossil fuels is a billion-dollar opportunity. Managing water scarcity and water quality, air pollution, solid waste, natural disasters and outbreak of diseases are the major identified challenges. But unique innovative solutions exist today that if rightly adopted can not only meet these environmental challenges but give birth to new businesses and huge employment opportunities.
Cybercrimes and cyberwars would need high preparedness
Quoting from the reports of three audit majors namely PWC, E&Y and McKinsey the reports point to the phenomenal increase of cybercrimes in economies that have already moved towards digitization. While cybercriminals are working round the clock to breach secure systems to gain from financial frauds, ”hackactivits”- politically driven hacker activists pierce online firewalls, to make political statements. Talking to 200 CXO’s all over the globe, the McKinsey report had predicted that attackers will continue to increase their lead over corporate defenses.
Finance beyond regulation could challenge the authority of states
The advent of cryptocurrencies will increasingly be a challenge to governments and regulatory bodies. So far it is largely controlled and used by techies who created them. But, as the world of high finance understands and adopts it in the global commodity markets, its use will spread. And with that will be created new and alternate channels of completely unregulated monetary transactions. This is not a risk for a specific country but also for the rest of the world.