His presentation itself underlined the drastic transformation the world is going through into this new normal. Mr Leonhard presented from this home in Switzerland, rather than flying to Hong Kong. Recognising that the new reality allowed fresh presentation style, he displayed words and images next to him as he spoke, rather than the standard format of addressing a series of images projected on a screen.
The world is undergoing a Great Transformation, he said, with four “bigs” playing a leading role – Big Tech, Big Media, Big State and Big Health. The result would be “Hellven” — it could be Heaven or Hell depending on how it is handled, he cautioned. The future presents utter uncertainty, he added, and businesses needed to abandon traditional, pre-COVID ways of doing things and adopt a VUCA – volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.
Technologies were developing extremely fast, and the COVID-19 pandemic was accelerating this, Mr Leonhard noted. He quoted the late economist Milton Friedman who said: “Only a crisis – actual or perceived – produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around.” And there are ample new technologies and ideas “lying around” at present, the futurist pointed out.
The crisis and technological potential would drive extremely rapid, disruptive change, he said, with more progress over the next decade than the world had seen over the previous three centuries. He expected computers to match many human capabilities as early as 2027, and asked if humans are ready for the “future shock” that such changes would bring…. READ ON