By Royden Morgen
I have been reading a remarkably interesting book called ‘The future is faster than you think’, which considers ‘how converging technologies are transforming business, industries and our lives’. I have lived through many of the developments that the writers use to illustrate the massive and increasingly supersonic speed of change, and the book gave me pause for thought about how our lives have been transformed in such a short space of time .
In the 1970s I began my management career in an exceptionally large aluminium foundry with forward thinking owners. It was there that I had sight of my first computer, – an IBM that took up a large area of the office space available. This computer had a specialist that alone could feed it the data it needed onto floppy discs that were coated with iron oxide and enclosed in a protective cover.
Since those days of awe-inspiring monstrosities, the world of computing power is in many ways a reflection of the change that the writers are describing in the book. Even a small mobile that we call a smart phone gives me more computing power that that large IBM and is many million times more powerful than those computers used by NASA to guide those intrepid explorers Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins to the moon in 1969.
At present, I am using a computer that sits on my desk and measures just 10”x10”x2”, giving me far more computing power than that IBM in the 70s, and which can easily be used a granddad in his early 70s!
As I write, the software corrects my spelling and questions my use of certain vocabulary. However, that is extremely basic compared to the evolution taking place in the world of AI, Internet, 5G, gaming, drones, electric and autonomous vehicles, robot taxis, flying cars, Musk’s hyperloop, industrial robotics and medical advancement.
Another area discussed in the book is one close to my heart; 3D printing or additive manufacturing – the construction of a physical object from a CAD or 3D model. Today we can print those objects in hundreds of different materials, with the on-demand supply of simple to complex objects looking set to transform huge areas of our lives.
To all my colleagues in the world of manufacturing I recommend you consider reading this book, because if you fail to recognise and adjust your thinking you could follow those retail giants that have been overtaken by the likes of Amazon; to put it another way, your business could become a dinosaur that is only seen in books and museums.
The Future is Faster Than You Think
Peter H Diamandis and Steven Kotler.