The future of business: this time, it’s personal

There has been a lot of talk about the rise of the machine and just how many jobs will be displaced because of new technology.

But what we still need to talk about is that the future of business and technology is very much human.

One of the key insights of MYOB’s latest Future of Business report  is that while technology will dramatically change office roles, people still yearn for the human experience.

“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,” says MYOB Chief Technical Adviser and futurist Simon Raik-Allen.

“It doesn’t matter how advanced our technology becomes, in the end, it will come down to people and values.

“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.”

The report predicts that there will be a whole new section of business to fulfil the need for human interaction.

Businesses that provide tailored, personal advice and guidance and create experiences specifically for the customer will be on trend. Understanding what the customer wants, the problems they need to solve, and understanding how customers would like their experience delivered will be key – just as it is today.

While it seems that technology may seem cold and impersonal, you only need to see the way things are developing to see that technology is trying to become more human.

Where’s the humanity?

Angela Clark was the head of innovation and digital director for the ABC, where she was part of a team looking at the way Australians were consuming media.

She said one of the key takeaways of this investigation was that people were starting to find the interaction with the phone as cold and limiting.

We spend more time glued to the mobile screen than we care to admit, after all. There’s a fair chance it’s the first thing you look at in the morning – before even looking at your partner.

The phone screen acts as our conduit to interacting with the world around us, but the physical act of being locked into a screen is increasingly leaving consumers cold, according to Clark.

“I think a lot of people would like their hands back,” Clark told The Pulse.

She said a coming megatrend in media consumption is the consumer moving away from the screen and starting to move more to voice control.

“People are quite frustrated with the limitations of mobile phones – having that screen to look down on,” said Clark. “You’re starting to see smart homes and smart cars that have a lot more voice controlled things which feels a lot more natural – rather than being locked into this tiny screen you have to look down on.”

The rise of voice technology and the connected home was pointed out in the Future of Business Report too as technology which demonstrates that technology will become more useful in the next 25 years. It demonstrates that technology is not developing in spite of humanity, but rather responding to a human need.

Tech that will become more personal

Raik-Allen has predicted the technology which will evolve over the next 25 years, based on the idea that technology will become more personal to us than ever before.

Super-powered Siri

“People will have access to a ‘super-powered Siri’.” “The digital assistant, embedded under the ear, will be available 24/7 and able to help with everything from restaurant suggestions to booking client meetings and gauging traffic flow.”

Hello, house

“Control the home you live in, or the office you work in –  from wherever you are.”

“Artificial Intelligence will be ingrained into buildings, meaning people can ‘talk’ to the building – be it in person or through the use of super-powered Siri – and ask for adjustments in temperature and lighting or even cleaning.”

Tech-powered clothing

“Clothing will have the ability to give people superhuman skills.”

“From exoskeleton suits  that make lifting heavy packages or building new offices a breeze, to leggings that make it easier to walk, or even run.”

20/20 vision

“Poor vision? While Lasik surgery will still be popular (and come with a lifetime guarantee) some people will choose to opt for supercharged contact lenses.”

“With the ability to be worn consistently for up to a year at a time, the lenses will have the added benefit of overlaid VR.”

Custom prosthetics

“Prosthetics won’t just restore movement; they will give people new skills. Right now a biological scientist is making use of a prosthetic arm with a built in drone and flashlight and a French artist has a prosthetic that doubles as a tattoo gun. “

“By the decade 2040 prosthetics will be more customised and accessible than we could ever have imagined.”

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