MYOB’s 2040: Wearable tech fades, drones fix leaky pipes, crypto currencies thrive and 'holonars' takeover seminars

NASA's robot helper
In 2040, tiny machines will control everything we do, people will live closer and closer to each other, and businesses can be started in minutes while big data reigns.

Move over wearable tech. In 2040, New Zealanders will see body parts interfacing with smart chips that can report and manage our diet and weight. Nano robots will be crawling through our body delivering medicines through our veins.

Mind over matter will no longer be a buzz word. In the future, you mind will be able to control a lot of things just by thinking about them. These and others futuristic scenarios are painted by MYOB’s chief technology officer Simon Raik-Allen, in Future of Business Report – New Zealand 2040.

The MYOB report looks into the future of business and work over the next 25 years, as well as the impact of a number of developing technologies. The report features a range of perspectives, including views on the future from Federated Farmers, the Employers and Manufacturers Association, Microsoft and an international futurist.

Spooked by the idea of smart chips embedded in your body? How about your plumber being a drone fixing your leaky pipes, or conversing with your colleagues through holograms at the water cooler? How about robots arriving arriving at your door, remotely controlled or autonomous, to perform circuit replacements, or new product installations.”

In 2040, Kiwis will be force to live, work and eat within walking distance of our homes, Raik-Allen says.

“Communities will start to pool their resources and share. Councils will split into smaller enclaves. The suburban and community websites, involved with borrowing and trading goods, will be in full swing in 25 years. You’ll be able to trade with your neighbours, list your skills on local noticeboards, and find local experts to fix an ailing solar panel. Drones will deliver packages between communities or even a coffee and a bagel to your current location.”

Simon Raik-Allen, MYOB chief technology officer

Machines, machines everywhere

Our homes will house, and be made up of thousands of microcontrollers, motors, and sensors controlling every aspect of our building and environment.

Imagine inter-suburban work centres housing technology to connect everyone, rooms filled with giant wall-sized screens to facilitate virtual working and telepresence. Banks of 3D printers would be continually churning out products ordered by the local community, he says.

“Seminars, that became webinars in the 90s, will now become holonars. You will sit in virtual auditoriums, next to three-dimensional light-based images of your colleagues from around the globe watching a hologram on the stage of someone giving a talk. And you will do this just as easily as you gather in the office today.”

Businesses can launch new projects and hire 500 people within minutes, Raik-Allen adds. “Your company could be just you and a couple of project managers: the thinkers, controlling every aspect of the company through new digital interfaces. The wall-sized touch screens would allow you to design new products, guide the use of raw materials and channel resources to where they are most effective would be done all with the wave of your hands.”

Honda's Asimo robot in action

Death of current 'money'

He alludes to the demise of the conventional currency the way we know it. Internet-based currencies will emerge, governed by independent bodies managing an international network of exchanges.

“Currencies will likely emerge as a way for businesses to work within their closed networks, with major corporations able to create and manage their own money, make internal payments – such as payroll, and even trade with other enterprises.

“Any business will be able to make its own cryptographic currency – to buy and sell at values regulated by the market and at the perceived value of the company. As this trend develops, exchanges of currencies, much like we have today, will arise entirely independent of national economics.”

Preparing for the future

Business is very inefficient today, Raik-Allen notes, particularly around decision-making and project management. “This is because we lack the numbers and the depth of information to make them relevant to our business decisions.”

Big data will help. Getting dashboards to gain visibility into how your business is performing. But first, get out of the paper world and start building some charts to get the data in place.  

Read the full report here