Last updated: Virtual reality, blockchain, and other trends that will drive competitive advantage

Virtual reality, blockchain, and other trends that will drive competitive advantage


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The future will be what we make it. Unlike the past or the present, it’s the only arena where we have any control. But the future, as the saying goes, isn’t what it used to be. As digital technology rockets through the exponential growth curve, there’s only one way to ensure long-term competitive advantage: Be better at seeing the future than everyone else.

Walking 30 normal steps takes you about 30 meters. But 30 exponential steps – where each is double the one before – will take you on a round trip to the moon. Astonishingly, the last two steps are 75% of the total distance, with the final step reaching from the moon back to earth.

This reveals why advances in digital technology are coming at us so rapidly. We’re about 30 exponential steps into the march of Moore’s Law.

There are some powerful digital forces reshaping the world over the next 5–10 years. These stories will help you prepare for the amazing opportunities they hold and anticipate the risks you’ll want to avoid.

Gaining a competitive advantage: Top 5 forces shaping business

Here’s a sample of areas that will see the outcome of digitization and digitalization:

  1. Are self-driving cars a joyride or a wrong turn? Either way, there are sharp curves ahead. Cars that drive themselves will be a profound shift that touches almost every industry, geography, and aspect of life: our hometowns, car design, liability, safety and even the car industry itself.
  2. Drones generate a lot of buzz. We are hurtling toward a future in which drones are widely available, increasingly autonomous, and capable of tasks we have not begun to imagine. They will augment human capabilities in a range of commercial industries including agriculture, utilities, scientific research, and emergency response.
  3. Virtual reality, and its digital sibling augmented reality, is emerging from science fiction into the real world and will soon change everything from shopping and entertainment to healthcare and luxury retail. Future uses may even transform our very definition of reality.
  4. Bitcoin’s blockchain could disrupt our financial system. Its model of trust, through massively distributed digital consensus, is challenging our assumptions about what makes transactions secure. As a result, this computer science breakthrough might reshape commerce across the entire digital economy.
  5. The future of robotics will be more like Ironman than Terminator. While robots excel at lifting heavy objects, working in dangerous places, moving with precision, and performing repetitive tasks, human advantages suggest we should blend the best of people and machines.

“It’s difficult to make predictions, especially about the future” is a quote with hazy provenance. What’s clear, though, is that exponential technologies like self-driving cars, drones, and virtual reality are not just hot, trending topics in your social feed. They will – individually and in combination – disrupt industries, create new winners and losers, and radically change many aspects of society.

The purpose of technology is to give you the foresight to help ensure the very best outcomes – to make business and the world run better.

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