Technological change driven by the acceleration, distribution and application of computing power across industry via the internet, cloud and individual mobile platforms has been called “the second machine age” and “the fourth industrial revolution”.
Impactful technologies are broad based: from artificial intelligence and machine learning to cloud and quantum computing, from drones and autonomous vehicles to virtual and augmented reality, 3D/4D printing, robotics, connected devices and the internet of things.
The pace is astonishing. 90 percent of the world data has been created in the last 2 years. The march of algorithmic trading continues apace. Today, 90 percent of stock trades are created by algorithms, up from 75% since we last examined this trend in 2017. It is expected that 1 trillion objects will be connected already by 2022, rather than 2025. Also in 2017, AlphaGo Zero beat the world champion Go player 100 games to nil. The year before it was 4 to 1.
Robots and algorithms are getting better at building cars, driving them, writing articles, managing funds, diagnosing diseases and delivering individually tailored learning–and we ain’t seen nothing yet.
Impactful technology also poses significant challenges: from cybersecurity and privacy, to rising inequality and job automation. Questions about bias in technologies driven by algorithms and artificial intelligence and how to make them accountable will increase in urgency and importance.
The pace of change arising from impactful technology is an invitation to understand the profound changes that are underway, and to ensure that they can be empowering to individuals, businesses and communities who are using them.