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AI is coming to you sooner than you think!

Artificial intelligence is coming - best make sure we are receptive and ready to embrace everything it has to offer. It is going to change our world over the next ten years at astonishing speed - according Vic Crone of Callaghan Innovation (their White Paper is available here). "Unfortunately New Zealand is lagging behind, we are too inward looking. We tend to focus on our domestic market instead of international markets. This stance is going to hold us back, we are not as well connected as we need to be to leverage on the world stage."

Revolution timelines . . .

Scarily, the facts in this White Paper lay out the need, the urgency and measures we need to take to be ready for the coming 'revolution' - to put this into context, over the last 20 to 30 years the three 'big' innovations 1) Internet 2) Mobile technology 3) The Cloud will be dwarfed by ten more equivalent sized innovations over the next 10 years! Employment will change dramatically, "the only safe role will be the CEO's".

New Zealand exports are in decline (as a proportion of GDP) - we continue to focus too much on our domestic market - this is setting us up to be picked off by other nations who have grasped the nettle and look further than their own shores and invest in research and development in new technologies.

Exports as proportion of GDP . . .

New Zealand vs Asia - survey results from the CPA - SME business owners expect to introduce a new product, service or process and in particular >10% through online sales.

(CPA Australia Asia Pacific SME Survey 2017)

New Zealand research and development spend in comparison . . .

These are the technologies driving the disruption . . .

The AI Artificial Intelligence Technology Landscape . . .

Timeline for impact . . .

In a MYOB SME survey in 2017 which asked the question, which trends do you think will impact your industry in the next 10 years . . .

  • 13% big data

  • 13% 3D printing

  • 23% automation

  • 14% machine learning

  • 39% cloud computing

  • 44% improved connectivity

We really need to change our outlook, we need to wake up and prepare and embrace the AI technologies that are knocking at our door!

A major impact will be felt in the labour force - the scale of automation over the next ten years is estimated by McKinsey & Company at 41% for New Zealand.

By comparison: Mexico 54%, Japan 53%, India 51%.

Leadership skills to required to enable this change . . .

Company boards play a pivotal role in enabling this change, but disturbingly:

  • Only 35% of boards say they have the right skills and experience to lead their digital future

  • 28% don't have the right digital capability (37% are unsure)

  • 47% of boards receive good quality reports and information from management on technology related matters

  • 23% of boards actively participate in security policy

  • 93% of security breaches could have been avoided

And finally, the curse of the domestic focused market . . .

Callaghan Innovation White Paper explains in great detail their view of the future, it makes very interesting reading, in essence the six lessons we can take from it for SMEs in particular:

  1. Investment in technology, including new digital payment tech

  2. Focus on innovation through new products, services and processes

  3. Look to grow your revenue from exports

  4. Use social media for business purposes

  5. Make online sales a more important part of your business

  6. Improve business strategy and management

(CPA Australia Asia Pacific SME Survey 2017)

Paul Thompson

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