5 Innovations That Are Changing How We Do Business

Recent innovations have changed how we do business, and done it in ways that, a few years ago, seemed impossible. The impacts are significant, affecting millions of people already. It comes as no surprise, too, that many are treating them with derision and distrust, as jobs and whole career paths move onto the scrap heap.

The workplace landscape is being reinvented before our eyes, just as it was at the start of the industrial revolution. Only history will decide whether the net effect was an improvement to our standard of living and that the changes were fair and equitable to the majority.

For now, though, we present five of the most exciting and influential innovations presently impacting our lives.

Automation & Artificial Intelligence

Automation will continue to make enormous strides over the next ten years. Studies have predicted that up to 47% of current jobs are at risk of disappearing due to automation and artificial intelligence. It’s not just factories where this is happening; it’s in service job environments like fast food restaurants, where touch screens have replaced workers. In trucking, too, driverless trucks have the potential to put millions of drivers out of work (or multi-tasking along the interstate).

Big Data Decision Making

What if the government replaced its census with big data? There has never been more useful data on communities, more readily accessible than today. The whole point of data is to leverage it to make better decisions. In ten years we could see businesses elect to use data to make decisions instead of managers, perhaps even in real-time.

The Access Economy

Some of the fastest growing companies today don’t own much at all. Consider that Airbnb doesn’t own any rooms and Uber doesn’t own any cars, and you’ll start to see a new economy taking shape, where ownership isn’t as important as it used to be. The access economy is dramatically shifting the nature of work and how people make money. But with thousands of independent contractors running around it means basic benefits like unemployment insurance and healthcare will need to move with it.

3D Printing & Manufacturing

3D printing is moving ahead in leaps and bounds. Everything from prosthetics to weapons and jet engines to whole houses can now be ‘printed’ instead of manufactured. Still viewed by many as a hobby, 3D printing will soon upend traditional manufacturing by having printers do what entire factories used to.

A Digitally Connected World

Much of the world’s population enjoys access to the Internet, but there are still sizable groups in more remote regions that are yet to get online. There’s a growing chorus of support for the notion that free access to the Internet should now be a fundamental human right, and that a lack of access unfairly excludes people from new information, and from taking part in modern-day commerce.

In ten years, it’s possible to envision 90% of the world connected to the Internet. With that many people online, it will expose businesses to a huge group of new consumers and unlock massive opportunities to those who appeal to these new markets with relevant offers.

We’re already experiencing many of these advances today, so it’s not difficult to imagine where they will take us in ten years. The greatest challenges will be around ensuring this progress doesn’t leave people behind, lest social divisions and civil strife halt entire nations from participating in and benefitting from this next level of prosperity.

 

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