In 2015, Microsoft founder, Bill Gates declared at a TED Talk that the greatest threat to the world in the next few years was not a nuclear war but a virus getting out of hand. People did not really take the warning seriously and when Covid-19 hit, everyone went back to play back the prediction. Its accuracy sent chills down many a spine.
The big question leaders need to ask right now is what next? Covid has reshaped humanity in ways most of us did not think possible. New realities have been birthed and new opportunities grabbed. What will the future of humanity look like? Are we ready or will it catch us napping like Covid-19 did?
In a world where things once thought impossible are commonplace, a world of data centres on the floor of the ocean, a world where Tesla fixes a braking fault in cars remotely or where they wirelessly upgrade batteries of cars to flee Hurricane Irma; in a world where houses are powered 100 percent from their roofs, what else can we expect to see?
How about the dropping cost of computers. Granted, one may argue that this is relative but when you think of the fact that only affluent nations and large corporations had computers before and that some smartphones today pack more computing power than earlier era mainframe computers then you realise how much power the individual now has at his fingertips.
Prof Michio Kaku, the American theoretical physicist, futurist, and populariser of science based at the City College of New York, forecasts that computer chips will soon cost as little as a penny. He says they will be found everywhere including our contact lenses. This means there is a future where the minute you put on your contact lenses you will be instantly online. It implies that students can get contact lenses and during exams with a blink of an eyelid, gain access to the internet through their lenses. This will totally change the face of education.
Then he talks of Robodoc — artificial intelligence that helps persons battling illness to get diagnoses from the internet in real time. He even talks of the fact that your car will become a robot that you can engage in arguments with so much so that when you want to park your car you merely ask it to park itself. He adds that memories could soon be uploaded and downloaded at will.
With biotech, scientists are now creating body parts. This is where a human body shop can be created from body cells. All this sounds futuristic but the future is already here. We have TV sets and gadgets that get more intelligent with use always watching and listening.
People will respect your functionality rather than any title you bear. Power in the new age will reside with those who through their thought processes are able to offer the most relevant solutions to problems. True power will not be in knowledge but in the application of knowledge to solving problems. To get to this place, the new leader must be a student of trends and history.
To be continued....