2018 Top Technology Trends

240_F_6103632_ib328fMRJVHjrJSvj2VORJI21LaeKU1sAs Technology continues its rapid innovation the leading trends all suggest massive opportunities for nations and companies that can harness the potential of the new capabilities.  While most of the trends listed are sure to progress rapidly, there is a cautionary tale underneath each for the impacts to society that will be incurred.  It will take time to understand each one and it may not be able to be undone once certain abilities are unleashed and entrenched into global business and governments that have control.

Top Tech Trends:

  • Artificial Intelligence:
    • Artificial Intelligence will drive a new level of deep learning and ability to approach new levels of big data analysis.
    • New graphic data and forms of linguistics research will also enhance the transfer of knowledge.
    • Algorithms for dealign with noise to signal ratio or pattern anomaly recognition will be a competitive advantage.
    • Machine vision spanning facial recognition, security or any detailed oriented visual task will transform how we can approach new sources of information.
    • Increased pattern and trend recognition will drive profiling and personalization of services.
    • Decision support systems will gain a new level of insight and sophistication driving a more data driven decision approach.
    • AI chip design and manufacturing will expand but like CPUs only the best will survive long term.
  • Human to Machine Interface
    • Multi-model interaction include touch, audio, visual and facial recognition will evovle.
    • Ethics based interfaces will grow as AI develops
    • Natural language processing will increase in accuracy and should surpass the quality of touch interaction within the next 5 years.
  • Quantum Computing
    • The ability to process entire new sets of problem spaces beyond the traditional computer architectures
    • The ability and speed in which variable scenarios can be processed expands exponentially
    • The predictability of random events can be better modeled.
  • Internet of Things
    • A world of sensors and new data sources exists that can provide new insights about systems and society.
    • The security for such a world of data represents a monumental challenge.
    • The network and bandwidth demands for an IoT world may not be able to keep pace with the volume of data generated.
  • Digital Currenies
    • Standardization on platforms and protocols will lead the experimentation.
    • The definition, depth and authorization around digital identies.
    • Demonstrable security and indemnification of transactions
    • The ability to have cross national law and regulation is instrumental in its long term viability.
    • Oversight and monitoring protocols for regulatory bodies.

Source: MIT, Alizila, Berkely

 

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2018 China: Trends & Challenges

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I’ve been following the top stories, investments and business partnerships coming out of China.  Here is a summary of the top trends and challenges that I have seen in the first quarter of 2018.  In general, China is poised to continue its growth and global significance throughout 2018.  President Xi continues to strengthen his position and agenda through the large scale placement of government officials at all levels of the government that are aligned to his direction.   This could see China’s ability to implement new policies and enforce complicate rise significantly.  Though it is not clear sailing ahead with many long standing challenges that continue to grow in magnitude including:

  • More complex relationships on the international scene including heightened tensions with the current USA administration.
  • Vast regional disparities in terms of infrastructure, demographics, and types of support needed at different levels of development.
  • An aging population that brings many needs for services but also offers a large amount of consumer savings that can pay for new aging service industries.
  • Declining heavy-industrial sectors as the scale of infrastructure development slows and more emphasis is placed on smart cities and sustainability.
  • Property values have not crashed yet, but many places are stagnated and many fear it could be a large economic impact in the coming year or two.
  • Debt levels are on the rise as more people seek investments in new ventures.
  • Environmental pollution is an issue that could demand attention as many cities boarder on ecological crisis that could result in large scale health issue.

Now look more to the opportunities and trends we see several areas where large scale effort and investment are being focused:

International

  • China remains slightly ahead of its goal to double GDP by 2020.
  • Many global-scale Chinese companies are still primary focused in China,  but they are anxious to scale internationally.
  • Soft power is a key global strategy with China that is capitalizing on international tensions between the USA and many of its rivals or long standing partners.   China is using this time to become that alternative option to partner with.
  • Belt and Road will remain the flagship international state-to-state collaboration program for building China-sponsored infrastructure around the world and this creates opportunities for all parities to form deeper relationships with China.
  • China is also looking to attract more foreign direct investment into China’s growth.  One region of interest is the Greater Bay Area ( GBA), which is the coordinated development of Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong.

Industry

  • Manufacturing is still at the forefront of many of China’s industry priorities.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things.
  • The development of EV cars and mass transit have goals established both with incentives and penalties for not meeting them.
  • Battery technology and production will lead the EV automotive industry growth in the early years.
  • Green industry growth for more sustainable solutions are also at the forefront of governmental priorities in the development of smart cities; with over 30 cities proactively working to hit their green goals by 2020.
  • Car sales continue to rise rapidly in China as the middle class rises.  This is despite the large scale traffic and congestion problems in many of its major cities.   This also drives the government priorities about both EV car offerings and IoT lead smart cities to address the traffic challenges.
  • China’s pharmaceutical industry is growing rapidly producing many new product offerings each year and is also licensing the use of many new chemical/molecular discoveries.
  • Outcomes based health insurance is also changing the landscape of the consumer insurance and healthcare systems.
  • Steel, Cement, Coal – should stabilize and shrink in decades to come following trends similar to other industrialized countries that also had rapid rise and stabilization.
  • Wealth management is becoming a huge industry in China for both domestic and foreign financial sector players.
  • eSports is a rapidly growing entertainment industry gaining momentum in both profitability and consumer interest.
  • Many multi-national corporations are seeing the need to partner with large Chinese companies that have a depth in big data market analysis.  An example would be the Alibaba and Ford partnership.
  • A concerning trend in all consumer sectors has been the dramatic drop in consumer trust.  It is widely believed that corruption has spread too deep.  The rise and large scale of adoption of digital currencies as the back bone of transactions has help reverse the trends.   In addition, the digital abilities for P2P transactions help increase a buyers confidence that it is not a scam by working directly with the sellers.

Government Centralization and Control

  • China’s centralized anticorruption agency have been sent police against corruption within the government.   The a unified National Supervision Commission, Beijing will have an easier time rooting out local noncompliance and making an example of officials and executives.
  • Cash will become obsolete in China by 2020 and this means that financial flows are easier to monitor, centralize and analyze spending within the country.
  • Facial-recognition technology has progressed so that the public security bureaus can use AI to identify the movement of people.  Everything from locations of officials, terrorists, criminals or missing children stolen from their families.
  • The government is seeing the power in platforms and is looking to expand its infrastructure to track more data and provide services over these platforms.  Especially in areas of studying the advances in the smart cities programs.

 

Sources included:  McKinsey, Forbes, China Business Review, Alizila

 

Canada Announces Five Superclusters

waving canada flag
Canada commits to its vision to develop five new superclusters:
  • Ocean Supercluster (based in Atlantic Canada)
  • SCALE.AI Supercluster (based in Quebec)
  • Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster (based in Ontario)
  • Protein Industries Supercluster (based in the Prairies)
  • Digital Technology Supercluster (based in British Columbia)

Together the superclusters represent more than 450 businesses, 60 post-secondary institutions and 180 other participants in sectors covering 78 percent of Canada’s economy.

“The Innovation Superclusters Initiative created an important dialogue between industries, companies, and communities focused on building the next generation of manufacturing firms in Canada,” said Jayson Myers, CEO, Next Generation Manufacturing Canada. “These vital conversations have set the stage for new partnerships, customer relationships, and investment opportunities that will shape the future of advanced manufacturing in Canada.”
Source: SSTi

Greater MSP / Talent Crunch

Screen Shot 2018-03-20 at 7.38.09 PMGSMP hosts a morning event at the Hilton Minneapolis focused on “Managing Through the Talent Crunch”  They covered how the partnership is evolving to meet new challenges in economic development, and shared an overview of the new 2018 Talent Report. A moderated panel of senior talent leaders and industry experts provided their thoughts and insights.

Speakers include:

  • Richard Davis, Executive Chairman of U.S. Bancorp and GREATER MSP Board Chair
  • Michael Langley, GREATER MSP CEO
Panelists include:
  • Shawntera Hardy, Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (Moderator)
  • Ken Charles, Senior Vice President, Global Talent, U.S Bank
  • Amy Langer, Co-founder, Salo
  • Carol Surface, Chief Human Resources Officer, Medtronic
7:30 a.m. – Registration opens
7:30 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. – Networking and breakfast served
8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. – Program begins

9:30 a.m. – Adjournment

Great Lakes Water Controversy

United-States-Map-2Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker  is proposing that the City of Racine be allowed to divert 7 million gallons of Lake Michigan water everyday as part of the Foxconn deal in southeast Wisconsin. However, conservation groups oppose the plan, and argue that it not only undercuts the Great Lakes Compact of 2008, but also such a diversion for private industry use is unprecedented.  Source: SSTi

This is another example of the growing struggle to jointly manage shared natural resources.   Many cities, both in the USA and Canada rest on the shores of the Great Lakes.  Who dictates that cities uses of their shoreline and access to the water.   In the past law suits have come around pollution claims of an up stream user contaminating the water for those down stream and many of those suits have held up in court with large reparations to the offending party.   While most cities try to regulate water usage for the greater good it becomes more concerning when private industry wants large scale access to those shared resources for their personal profit.   Complicating the matter even more is that multiple nations share natural resources like access to fresh water sources and the seas.

This rising crisis of global sustainability is bringing many of the Grand Challenges to the forefront of national agendas.   The world will need to create a new dialogue and ability to regulate and manage a court of appeals on a global level.   Ownership of shared natural resources will also be contested, as will, the issues of unsymmetrical distribution of many resources.   Today we have some internal bodies like the United Nations,   ICJ/HAG, and  G20 to name a few.   These can serve as models to learn from while exploring a more globally inclusive model to represent all nations.

I encourage everyone to follow and share stories about Natural Resource controversies,  appeals, and deals that will begin to set the precedents for the decades to come.   We all need to be alert to the lobbying forces of private interest over the greater good.

 

Cybersecurity: An FBI Perspective

IMG_4068I attended a presentation by a former FBI executive director John Slattery.   He spoke about his experience across more than three decades with the FBI involving counter-intelligence work and the rise of cybersecurity.

The first part of the program covered his career with the agency that spanned from agent training, to field agent, to undercover agent, then the move into management and lastly really unique roles working in CIA HQ around joint FBI/CIA efforts.  His career included many external cases on counter-intelligence, as well as, some internal crisis within government agencies.

The second part of the session talked about real-world public examples in the private sector.  This part of the talk demonstrated how companies were at huge risks in terms of their security protocols and technology vulnerabilities.   Mr. Slattery talked about his current role consulting with both corporate and government parties around cybersecurity and internal security processes.

Key Take-Aways from the conversation that was covered in some depth.

  1. The top countries that are actively organizing and threatening America include:
    1. China
    2. Russia
    3. North Korea
    4. Iran
  2. Levels of espionage and intelligence gathering are as high as cold war era.
  3. Technology is being employed and developed as weapons of warfare.  Just like military arms and economics have been highly refined technology is the new frontier for waging conflict.
  4. Top areas of technology risks include:
    1. Planting or turning inside personnel to gather data and/or access to systems.
    2. Email / Phishing for data.
    3. Tunneling or hacking into systems.
    4. Big Data gathering of public data and network traffic for analytics
    5. The growth of IoT is creating a huge security risk for nations because of all the data and lack of security maturity in those platforms.
    6. The growth of the dark web and its capabilities.
    7. The use of social media to spread disinformation and shape public opinion by hostile groups.
    8. Security policies at all levels of society ( Government, Business, Social ) are not in place and lack maturity given the pace of technology evolution.
    9. Lack of funding to create national security assets to manage and counter the threat.
    10. Lack of public and business understanding of the threats and the scale of damage that can be inflicted upon public and private institutions.

The Q&A session ranged broadly across the topics above and current FBI investigations going on at the highest levels in Washington in terms of foreign powers disrupting our government.    A key message here was that foreign powers have been trying to do this forever,  it is just the level of sophistication is increasing exponentially.

Another key topic included the use of artificial intelligence employed in counter-intelligence.  There is great potential here in terms of pattern or anomaly identification across large sets of integrated big data.   The concern is that it will still take a thoughtful human interpretation of information to develop insight and provide the intervention plans required to stem the threat.

As the conversation started to cover what companies need to do it was clear that besides all the basic policy and technology infrastructure that security still must be lead by people.  Every situation has its own context that must be investigated and understood.   The other aspect that companies must address is that they provide the channels for employees to share concerns and have the ability TO ACT when this information is received.

See more international event photos in the gallery

 

Canada’s Manufacturing Supercluster

waving canada flag

On the heals of the top 9 supercluster proposals.  Ontario has been selected as the location for the Government of Canada’s Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster, which is part of a $748 million Innovation Superclusters Initiative. The supercluster will bring together small, medium-sized and large companies, academic institutions and not-for-profit organizations to generate bold ideas, resulting in new jobs, groundbreaking research and a world-leading innovation economy.
The Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster will develop next-generation manufacturing capabilities, such as advanced robotics and 3D printing. Ultimately, the Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster aims to position Canadian companies to lead industrial digitalization, maximizing competitiveness and participation in global markets.
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(Photo: HE Canadian Press/Todd Korol)
Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development,
“The Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster will create new opportunities for all the companies involved, help create more than 13,500 new jobs in Ontario and across Canada, and add more than $13.5 billion [US$10.6 billion] to Canada’s economy over 10 years,” said Gould. “This is great news for Ontario’s economy, for Canadian innovation and for our society.”
Source: SSTi