Emerging to convergence of technologies.
BRIAN BOSIRE. | NO IMPOSSIBILITIES, ONLY OPPORTUNITIES
We are just emerging into the convergence of technologies.
Beyond the buzzwords both in Bio-technology (Genome editing, bio sensors etc.) and Information-technology (AI, Block chain, Big data, IoT, 5G etc.), we are just starting to see real life and practical applications of these technologies at scale.
The urgency to adapt to climate change and resource depletion provides the biggest opportunity for the emerging technologies to scale.
The future of food production for instance will happen at the convergence of both the emerging technologies in bio-tech (especially genetic engineering), which provides better adapted crops and better yielding seeds; and information technologies (IoT, Data, AI) which provide predictability, real-time monitoring and automation. Information technologies will shape the future of data flow & logistics where IoT & block chain will provide visibility, transparency and a trusted agricultural commodities markets. In addition, Data and AI will power knowledge sharing platforms for the worlds majority producers (smallholder farmers) and Real-time data streams will feed predictive models to stabilize unstable market prices and environmental uncertainties resulting from climate change. This will lead to reliability of successful agricultural E-commerce marketplaces where on-demand sourcing and delivery of produce shall work in friction-less way.
On the other hand, Lack of efficient legacy infrastructure in most public utilities in the developing world is a huge opportunity to leapfrog the need for high capex, centralized systems that have led to marginalization of rural communities from national grids. Building the future of asset and infrastructure management. e.g. Drinking water systems to counter water shortage, will be transformed as emerging technologies will allow for distributed water networks connected by a virtual network powered by IoT, Data analytics and a trusted block chain to enforce water quality & safety standards.
The impact of new technologies is limitless, but at the same time, all these technologies are a means to an end and not a solution by themselves. Access to this tools and technologies especially in the developing world shall still remain the biggest measure of their success. Lack of access may amplify the digital gap and hence the poverty gap. If applied correctly, they will solve poverty of all kinds.
This piece is inspired from a talk I gave on the future of Food and future of water with business leaders at the Gordon Institute of business science – University of Pretoria.