• Marion Burchell

Large world events result in big social change

Great past world events have had lasting impact on our society. The Black Death brought about the decline of feudalism in Europe due to labour shortages caused by the significant drop in population. The 100 years war further added to the decline of the system with the shift in power from monarchs and feudal lords to the common people.


More recently, the impact of 9/11 resulted in significant changes with increased security levels, a focus on surveillance, and an increase in the use of biometrics.


How will the Covid-19 pandemic impact our society?


With record unemployment rates, on-going skills shortages and increasing inflation - one thing is clear - something needs to change.


Frustrations over flight cancellations, lost baggage, manufacturing delays due to staff covid infections - the list goes on. It seems to me we are in the midst of another significant social change. This time, the rise of machines.


Digital technologies such as automation, robotics and AI are not new. In some sectors they have been used for some time, such as remote operations of mine sites. However mainstream adoption has been slow, and in some instances cautiously avoided or delayed due to concerns around machines taking people's jobs.


It appears the time is right for greater adoption of technology to fill the human void in the workplace.


Dining at a recent restaurant a robot played maitre d' and showed us to our table. Another took dirty dishes to the kitchen for processing. A server robot was on stand-by in case needed to bring ordered food to the table. Digital tablets were used for ordering, with delicious culinary choices sent direct to the kitchen. This was one businesses way of overcoming the shortage of hospitality staff.


There is no doubt our world is changing.


Digital technologies advance at a rate different to the traditional way businesses operate and adapt. There is a real risk that businesses will be left behind with an ever accelerating rate of digital adoption and advancement.


Every Board member and executive officer needs to have some knowledge of technology. It is no longer the realm of the CIO or CTO. It is fundamental to how business operates.


Every government should be creating the right environment for technology advancement, innovation, and adoption, or its citizens will pay a high price for being left behind.


Are we ready?

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