Gerd’s Guide to Disruption, Part 2: the cashless society, 3D printers and piracy, mobile devices as external brains …and more

So here is part 2 of my Guide to Disruption, continued from points 1-7 last week, here. Update: download the PDF with all 3 posts: Gerd’s Guide to Disruption 2013

Before I dive in, this is a key point to remember: because of global technology-fueled empowerment (hopefully not enslavement😉 and the accelerating trend to a true ‘global village‘ (see my XMedia Basel slides on this, here) sudden and merciless disruption can now arise from any place with high speed Internet access (see waze versus Garmin and Navteq) as education and learning goes digital, talent arises from everywhere and venture capitalists finally go global (not sure that’s such a good thing, though) Thanks

8) The cashless society will increasingly – and in some BRIC & CIVET nations very rapidly, indeed – become a reality, mostly driven by the mobile technology innovation boom that delivers pretty amazing solutions for the un-banked in developing countries (such as MPesa).  Europe will take the longest to adapt to this trend; here, cash may well remain with us until the thorny issues of privacy and the total trackability of electronic money can be solved (in my view, this is only about 5 years away).

9) 3D printing aka fabbing and ‘makers will shake up the world of physical goods and products (i.e. almost anything made out of plastic or other composite / additive-manufacturable materials such as cups, covers, shafts, nuts and bolts, or some engine parts etc) just like the Internet changed the world of digital goods; ‘piracy’ of 3D printing designs and of course its implicit trademarks and patents will be widespread – think “Napster for Stuff”.  This will really give a new meaning to the meme of ‘access not ownership’ – overall, I think this is a good thing – but this trend will severely disrupt a lot of companies that make ‘stuff’ (and thereby forcing them to switch to offensive rather than sustaining innovation). Read more on the 3D printing trend at Business Insider and Arstecnica.

10) Because of the recent leaps in highly addictive social-local-mobile-cloud (SoLoMoCl) technologies and interfaces, Internet-enabled devices are increasingly becoming the de-facto extensions of our minds (hopefully not our hearts…yet), and mobile devices are well on their way of serving as our external brains. The next  – and frankly, rather frightening – stop may well be the full integration of the Internet into our bodies (i.e. implants, next-generation human-machine interfaces, and bionics), followed by what Ray Kurzweil hails as ‘the coming singularity and transhumanism’.  So where is this going? Would a Wikipedia brain implant be much different than controlling an app with your iris, or with Google Glass? Is there a material difference between taking a cholesterol-lowering drug and beefing up your internal ‘mindfiles’?  IMHO, I think there is – but more on that another time.

11) In the next 10-20years, most of the significant GDP growth will come from BRIC+Africa+CIVET (i.e. the emerging economies); the center of economic power moves South and East, and innovation, capital and talent will follow. I am not entirely sure if or where GDP growth is still a suitable or even justifiable logic for anything (I personally would rather favor a switch to gross-national-happiness | GNH | as the new metric for our stockmarkets:), but in any case this has far-reaching implications on which languages we will learn, how we innovate and who our next competitors (or more likely, frenemies) will be in the near future. The new America is Brazil (now that is truly worrisome), and maybe the new India is Nigeria….?

12) A super-charged torrent of digitally-native innovation (i.e. products and services that only work because of the SoLoMo Internet, such as Uber, AirBnB and Zopa) will come from new players – yes, in the BRICs – that will continue to be mostly industry outsiders but usually are fast, ruthless and very subversive innovators that are very good at ‘finding the backdoor’ into many incumbents’ markets. Ouch. Many large incumbents will start to hyper-collaborate rather than hyper-compete as a consequence (see the recent Avis-Zipcar deal). Speed will matter more and more – and keeping it all in-house, and wrapped up in patent and trademark applications will be much too slow. Talk about a perfect storm!

This all leads to the same destination: hyper-collaboration is the future, and businesses become ecosystems – from Ego to Eco (stay tuned on that meme:)

That’s it for today – hope you enjoyed part 2.  Part 3 is coming next week, in the meantime please comment, and spread the word. And think.

comments powered by Disqus

Futurist Gerd's Personal Newsletter


Cookies & Policy

By using this site you agree to the placement of cookies in accordance with our terms and policy.