Erik Peterson: What New Technologies Mean For Business
We recently saw global trends expert, Erik R. Peterson, talk to a room packed with CEOs in Washington, DC, about his “Escape Velocity” proposition—which centers around innovation in a time when the only constant is change. He talked about approaching technology disruption, the links between shifting technologies, the current and future implications of these sweeping changes for organizations across every industry, and what business leaders around the world need to know to stay ahead of the forces driving global change.
During his riveting presentation, Peterson touched on the changing nature of production and provided an up-close and personal view of how tech advances will disrupt the business environment, and what companies and industries must do to pre-position themselves for the sweeping changes ahead. He focused on what he calls the “5+2” horizon—five key technologies underpinning production. It includes: Artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), advanced robotics, 3D printing, and augmented reality (AR), as well as two closely-related tech areas, nanotechnology and biotechnology. By plotting the state of play in these areas and then mapping what could happen next, he sketches a Fourth Industrial Revolution in which many current business assumptions simply no longer apply.
Drawing on his extensive experience and research, he discussed the intersection of global business, economics, geopolitical changes, technology shifts, and other social trends. He also dug into the key global business trends and strategic issues shaping the global business outlook, including surveys on foreign direct investment and attitudes of corporate leaders worldwide. Peterson challenged the audience to take a “commanding heights” view of the macro-drivers of global change and then explore how they translate into immediate opportunities and risks. “The opportunity for leaders,” he said, “is to inform strategy and tactics with a sharp understanding of the broader strategic context.” He closed by saying, “This is the world we're moving towards: Algorithms off the charts and massive amounts of data. But we need to not only be thinking in quantitative but qualitative ways as well to get our predictions right."
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