We are now entering an era of the ‘intelligent world’, a period that will see unprecedented changes in the way we interact with each other, with machines, and even with our homes.
This is a new age of exploration, an era of charting a new path in terms of the capability of technological advancement, rethinking what it can do, imagining the impossible and then trying to find a way to make it a reality.
It is difficult to imagine the breadth and the depth of changes to come, but the act of exploration will continue to drive us forward, illuminating the next steps in human progress.
Technological solutions are increasingly becoming a way of life, helping to make work easier and facilitate smarter living; economically, politically and socially.
With smart phones increasingly becoming ubiquitous by the end of the decade, we are living in a smart world. A person in Turkana, Nairobi or Malindi all require fast internet connection. This is because the world has become a global village through interconnectivity.
Today’s world is one where people can easily access information and services through a few finger taps: from food to transport, financial services to education and even healthcare. We can immerse ourselves in what is happening on the other side of the world through our smartphones.
This new smart world is very efficient at making better use of resources, saving time, expanding access, improving supply chains and more. Kenya may have started this journey recently, but has moved exceptionally fast in expanding access to these technologies to a majority of people. While it might seem difficult to think beyond the current advances, predictions show that in the next 20 to 30 years, we will be moving from a smart world to an intelligent world.
An intelligent world is one where we can increasingly predict individual and societal needs so we can better provide for those needs; it might be one that dramatically improves productivity and quality of life. But it might also be one that causes job losses or facilitates cyber-crimes. We know that it is coming, but we don’t yet know what it will look like. We can expect that like most economic changes, it will likely benefit some before it benefits many, but with what consequences? We could anticipate the need to change our education systems to prepare for new or different jobs, or change our urban infrastructure, but to what? For us, we believe we need to work with our customers, partners, and citizens around the world to explore what these changes might look like and what they might mean.
There’s no doubt that no one individual, no one government and no one company has the answer. But we must explore technological changes and their impacts on societies and economies together.
To explore, we need to predict, anticipate, understand and prepare. We need to develop scenarios and use scenarios — even ones that may never happen—and consider what kinds of policies, training, infrastructure, partnerships and plans may be necessary to adapt or drive the intelligent future.