Is our future the exponential age?
The years 2017- 2018 are deep in the midst of the Exponential Age, economists believe. Some thought leaders have dubbed the era as the 4th Industrial Revolution and there are no signs that the rapid growth we’re currently experiencing is going to slow down, they say. There’s no speculative growth. It’s real and it’s happening now. We’re at the core of a revolution that’s going to alter our lifestyle, the way we commute and communicate, and how we get work done. Economists proclaim we’re living in an Exponential Age. An age where technology is being leveraged for rapid growth in every industry and sector.
Just to get an idea of where the impact of the exponential growth has been experienced and seen, here’s a peek into some of the growth that’s happening around us.
- Wearable Tech
We’ve seen plenty of Virtual Reality and Fitness gear that has helped enhance our entertainment and lifestyle, but wearable tech isn’t stopping just there. Recently, Levi’s launched its $350 smart jacket created in partnership with Google. The “x Jacquard” let’s you control your music and calls by swiping over its sleeves, among other features. Then you have SnapChat glasses which allows you to share your experiences on the go. There’s much research going on in the world of Wearable Technology and consumers are anxiously waiting to see how their lifestyles and experiences can be further enhanced.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Home assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Apple Siri and Google Home are swiftly being welcomed into homes across Europe and North America. With such intelligence at home our ability to offload mundane tasks and stay organized has enhanced much more than what Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) of the mid 90’s and early 2000’s could ever dream was possible. In the corporate world, IBM Watson has developed a tool that provides legal advice within seconds and with 90% accuracy, compared to the 70% accuracy performed by humans. In healthcare, Watson has been helping diagnose cancer 4 times more accurately than humans. We can expect to see many other industries and consumer goods being impacted by the development of AI that’ll help people become more efficient and productive.
In the medical industry there’s presently a race to develop the “Tricorder” (made famous in Star Trek) that can take retina scans, blood samples and breath analysis to study over 54 biomarkers and identify a whole range of diseases. This device alone will revolutionize the medical industry by providing health care that’s cheaper and world class to millions across the globe.
We’ve all been hearing about self-driving vehicles and how Google, Apple, and Tesla have been heavily investing in its research and development. Intel made a $15bn leap in the same direction with its purchase of Mobileye. It’s clear that while traditional players and leaders in the automotive industry are still developing traditional vehicles (though some are pushing more research into electric cars), the way forward in the exponential age are self-driving vehicles. The first of such vehicles appear in public and it’s predicted that by 2020 this disruption will rock the automotive industry. The impact of this disruption translates to:
the children of the present generation will never have to learn to drive,
road safety will drastically increase, and
the insurance industry will dramatically be hit with decreasing premiums and the need to reinvent their business model.
- 3D Printing
In just 10 years the price of the cheapest 3D printer has gone from $18,000 to $400, while its speed enhanced 100 times! The technology is now easily assessable to just about anyone. What’s so significant about this technology? Well shoe manufacturers have been using it to manufacture their products. In the airline industry, 3D printed spare parts have made remote maintenance and repair work efficient. A Chinese construction company has 3D printed a 2-storey house while a startup in San Francisco claims to make your 3D printed house in just 24 hours. These are just some of the revolutionary impacts of 3D printers and it’s fast gaining more use.
Globally, we have huge dependencies on our agriculture industry and it’s no surprise that this too is being impacted by the technological advances of the exponential age. There’s much research being currently done to develop robots that can significantly minimize the extensive physical work carried out by farmers, enhance produce yield and minimize wastage. The best part is, efforts are being made to develop this technology at prices under $100 to cater to developing nations.
7. Human behavior and lifestyles
Some powerful disruptions are occurring in the world today and at its core is technology as the main driving force. The exponential age is significantly altering human behavior and lifestyles. Thought leaders predict that 70-80% of jobs will disappear in the next 20 years. That means university graduates in the next 5-10 years will be unemployable unless they have the ability to create their own jobs! Advances in medicine and healthcare has impacted the average lifespan of humans which is increasing by 3 months every year, analysts say.
Living in an exponential age will expose us to rapidly evolving products and services. Whether we read the signs and jump on the bandwagon of technology or not is a choice that companies and leaders must make today otherwise there’s an imminent threat of being irrelevant fast. Traditional companies need to embrace the rapid growth by looking forward to what they should be doing and not backwards at what they had been doing. The key for every leader of every company out there is to realize what contributions they’ll be making to the world and how they plan on executing their massive purposes.