Every one of the factors squeezing the unhappy middle-income household, or the young person who is worse off than their parents, is accelerating. Japan-style economic stagnation is spreading to other economies, particularly in Europe. The huge numbers around the world who aspire to move to richer nations is growing rapidly.
Above all, the pace of technological change seems set to jump into a faster gear with the arrival of artificial intelligence – computers which learn as they go along, and have the potential to disrupt or make redundant the jobs, training and qualifications of hundreds of millions of people. One assessment is that we are on the brink of change happening at 10 times the speed and with 300 times the scope of the Industrial Revolution itself.
More livelihoods are going to be upset, more professions transformed, more skills made obsolete and more new ones required than ever before in the history of the human race. From the car that drives itself to the robot that provides a company’s security and audits its accounts at the same time, new devices are going to present not just an important scientific event but a transformational political one too.
Cisco’s giant customer conference, Cisco Live, began on Monday in San Diego and was the last time that 20-year outgoing CEO John Chambers would impart his vision in a keynote speech.
The upshot: He says more than one-third of businesses today will not survive the next 10 years. The only ones that will survive will turn their companies into digital, techie versions of themselves, and many of will fail trying.
“40% of businesses in this room, unfortunately, will not exist in a meaningful way in 10 years,” he told the 25,000 attendees, adding that 70% of companies will “attempt” to go digital, but only 30% of those that try it “will be successful.”
“Either we disrupt or we get disrupted,” he said.