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Science fiction of the last century now close to reality

Science fiction of the last century now very close to reality
MYOB report explores human experience in the next 25 years

In the latest in the Future of Business series, MYOB explores the technological revolution that will transform the way we connect, relate and interact with one another. Yet, while we will have experienced a dramatic shift in the way we work by the 2040s, what might be even more remarkable is the increased value of the human experience.

MYOB Chief Technical Advisor and futurist Simon Raik-Allen says, even with incredible advances in technology, people need to be together to truly be creative.

“Right now, we’re on the cusp of what the World Economic Forum calls the fourth industrial revolution. There’s no doubt that momentous change is underway and that there will be huge employment impact from the disruptive change. But, like the last industrial revolution, it is more likely to enrich our experiences and provide more opportunities for meaningful work and exciting business.”

Mr Raik-Allen believes that, rather than technology isolating or excluding people, it will bring them together.

“It doesn’t matter how advanced our technology becomes, in the end, it will come down to people and values. The next revolution will lift humanity, embrace creativity and shape a world that empowers communities. People will always be at the centre of the business, and their experience will be more valued than ever.”

“This is our vision at MYOB. We understand that business isn’t just business, it’s personal. Although we continue to design, innovate and advance our technology, ultimately it’s the human connection that enables our business and our clients to succeed. We’ve believed this for the last 25 years and we’ll be doing this for the next 25.”

Looking back to look forward

While not all the technologies promised for the world in the 21st Century have come to fruition, Simon Raik-Allen says we can learn a lot about what the future holds by looking back.

“We live in a world that is taking its first steps in developing a host of technologies that will shape our future. Jetpacks, self-driving cars, bionic limbs, interplanetary travel, holograms, AI assistants – the stuff of science fiction in the last century is now very close to reality,” says Simon Raik-Allen.

In the Future of Business report, MYOB looks at how the trends we are seeing now might help shape business innovation of the future.

“When I look back at the two decades of global innovation, there has been some stunning successes and some resounding failures,” says Mr Raik-Allen.

“For many of them, that success or failure has hinged less on how well they were built or the idea on which they were created, and more on how they were received by people: did they solve a problem, have a place in society, and capture the imagination in a way their competitors didn’t?”

The report examines the evolutionary dead ends of the technology sector, from Dvorak keyboards to Google glasses and highlights some of the key factors – including social acceptance, marketing power and even colour – that determines the winners and losers.

The future of business is personal

Mr Raik-Allen says while technology will drive dramatic changes in many areas of business – office roles and administrative functions, manufacturing and production will likely be tasked to robots or be automated in some form – the face-to-face value of human interaction will be more highly valued than ever.

This will give rise to a whole new section of business designed to fulfil the need for human interaction and experience, provide tailored, personal advice and guidance, or create experiences designed specifically for the customer.

“How many of these developments will unfold, and their influence on business and society, is unpredictable. But, by looking at the last 25 years, we can see patterns of development, which allow us to discern the ways current technology may evolve,” says Simon Raik-Allen.

“In particular, in every development and at every stage, we see how important the influence of society and the individual has been over every new technology. Regardless of the developments in areas like AI and robotics, we are building a future people will inhabit – and developers ignore at their peril the very human side of business and technology.

“As a business owner you need to make sure that you can rapidly change to align with the way in which not just technology but society is moving. In predicting the future of business technology over the next 25 years, people will be your best barometer.

“Understanding what they want, what problems they need solving, how they’d like their experience to be delivered, and whether they are ready yet for the next step will determine success as much in 25 years as it does today.”

The MYOB Future of Business: 25 years into the future report is available for download now at www.myob.com/futureofbusiness

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