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SEPTEMBER

77

“The changes we will all have to face in the next 20 years may just blow our minds. As individuals

and as leaders, we will need to be ready...”

BUSINESS

INTEL TIME

Change is a fact of life that individuals,

organisations and nations alike have no

choice but to deal with. Those who are able to

acknowledge this fact and cope with change

will survive. Those who are able to seek out

change and actively embrace it will thrive.

But to complete Disraeli’s statement we need

to add one further critical observation – the

pace of change is accelerating.

The changes we will all have to face in

the next 20 years may just blow our minds.

As individuals and as leaders, we will need

to be ready.

Change is inevitable, and it’s getting faster. Business

adviser and author

Campbell Macpherson

explains

how we can be ready for it

All change

Live long . . . and prosper?

Due to advances in clean water, nutrition,

antibiotics and disease eradication, average

worldwide life expectancy has sky-

rocketed. As recently as 1900, humans

lived, on average, a mere 31 years,

according to the WHO. Today, the

worldwide average life expectancy is 71.4.

For a quantum leap in human lifespans,

turn to the mysterious world of

biotechnology and genetic medicine.

Revolutionary advances in these fields look

set to push the limits of human life

expectancy well beyond its current level.

Has the first person who could live to 200

already been born?

Gaia strikes back

Climate change will inevitably become one

of the world’s biggest challenges,

exacerbated by the election of a small, but

increasing, number of Western politicians

who are climate science sceptics or deniers.

And yet the science is clear. “Continued

emission gases will cause further warming

and long-lasting changes in all components

of the climate system, increasing the

likelihood of severe, pervasive and

irreversible impacts for people and

ecosystems” (2014 Intergovernmental

Panel on Climate Change Synthesis Report).

Water will be the new wealth

The Oil Age will end when oil is no longer an

expensive commodity; once long-term supply

significantly exceeds long-term demand. It

appears that this day may arrive much

sooner than we thought. Oil-producing

countries are now desperately trying to

transform their economies, which will in

turn alter the economic and political

landscape of the Middle East, central Asia

and Latin America.

So, while oil may become plentiful and

cheap, water is likely to become scarce and,

until we work out how to manufacture it

efficiently and at scale through the fusion

of hydrogen and oxygen, the most highly-

valuable commodity of all. Future wars are

unlikely to be waged covertly over oil; they

are likely to be waged overtly over water.

Pocket super-computers

The processor in your iPhone is more than

30,000 times faster than the computers

that NASA used to put men on the moon in

1969. It was not even 25 years ago that the

internet tiptoed out of the US military and

was introduced to the world. The internet

today is the backbone of just about

everything – many of the world’s largest

companies only exist because of it.

The rise of the machines

Artificial intelligence still has a long way to

go, but machines that can learn and adapt

have already arrived. Ray Kurzweil, a