Wednesday, December 20, 2017 / Perth Australia / By Niekie Jooste
In this edition of "The WelderDestiny Compass":
In the last couple of years it has become increasingly obvious that the great technological changes heading our way would radically change the world in most of our lifetimes. It was obvious that radical change was not something that would happen over generations, but rather it would happen in the space of a few years.
In no area of life would the changes be bigger, and have greater impact, than in the workplace. There was a fear building in ourselves and others that we were loosing control, and that we could end up being the roadkill of the "machine era".
To try and wrest some measure of control back, we decided to rather harness the energy contained in this technological juggernaut. To this end, we started up The WelderDestiny Compass at the beginning of 2017. It was our bold vision to try and monitor the trends that will shape our world, and discover the skills and knowledge necessary to prepare ourselves for those changes. The vision is to not only survive the changes, but to also profit from those changes in the medium to long run.
Today we look back at 2017. We consider some of the trends and technologies we have discussed, and decide which was the trend or technology that epitomised 2017.
If you would like to add your ideas to this week’s discussion, then please send me an e-mail with your ideas, (Send your e-mails to: firstname.lastname@example.org) or complete the comment form on the page below.
Now let's get stuck into this week’s topics...
In 2017 we looked at technologies such as:
We also discussed numerous other societal and industry trends such as the structure of organisations and jobs, that are just as important as the technology in helping us to understand the future.
We also did a bit of study into areas such as leadership, psychology, statistics and, of course, welding.
But in hindsight, the biggest trend that has gripped the world in 2017 has been the rise of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. Bitcoin and blockchain was only introduced in 2009, in the wake of the global financial crisis. (GFC) By 2016 there were signs that the blockchain technology was going to get a life of its own, and had the potential to radically change many existing processes and ways of doing things. In 2017 it exploded onto the world in a big way.
But let us not get ahead of ourselves. Blockchain (also called distributed ledger technology - DLT) technology is still rather immature, so there is still a lot of growth and development, but the growth in 2017 has been phenomenal.
Now, I just want to quickly get back to the part of our vision where we want to profit from the coming changes. Let me ask you if you have positioned yourself in some way to benefit from the blockchain explosion? Have you dabbled a bit in cryptocurrencies? Have you maybe bought a stock or two that is leveraging off the blockchain to grow new services or markets? - I hope you have.
The foundation of DLT is that it enables disintermediation. In other words, it enables the transfer of value between two parties that do not know each other, without the assistance of a "trusted" third party.
So, for instance it is easy for one party to directly pay another party electronically without having to go through a bank or other financial intermediary. This can even be done across any national boundary without having to be concerned with foreign exchange issues.
Another way of putting this is that "trustless" transactions become possible.
It has also introduced the concept of the Digital Autonomous Organisation. (DAO) These are "organisations" that work according to a set of rules that are clearly defined beforehand. There are no oversight committees, boards of directors or direct ownership. They work because the rules have been designed in such a way that each participant in the transactions are incentivised by self interest, but when viewed as a whole, it works by everyone adding value to the community that feeds into this organisation.
This has the potential to totally change the way people interact in social networks and also how services are delivered. Suddenly the idea of what a solopreneur is, becomes quite different than in the past.
It has also introduced the concept of everyone being able to take charge of their own information and data, and being compensated if another party would like access to that information. Suddenly data becomes a tradeable commodity for everyday people, rather than just the Google's and Facebook's of this world.
Young people entering the "workforce" in 5 or 10 years time will be looking at something totally different than what we are used to. The industrial age will truly be replaced by the information age.
As a highly regulated industry, with many regulators, intermediaries and third parties, the emergence of DLT enabled structures and systems could totally change the way we operate. The aspects of our business that could be impacted by DLT are:
I am sure that there are many more possible areas that could impact us in the welding industry, but I am sure that the list above is enough to convince you that DLT has the potential for great change, and redistribution of value and wealth. Take note and act accordingly!
This will be the last issue of The WelderDestiny Compass for 2017. I will be taking a bit of a break over the Christmas and new year period. The first edition of The WelderDestiny Compass for 2018 will therefore only come out in the middle of January 2018.
I wish you all a blessed Christmas season, and great 2018. I believe that the pace of change in 2018 will just increase, so take some time out to relax and get refreshed for another year that promises to keep us on our toes.
Yours in welding
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What do you think was the biggest trend, story or technology of 2017? What kinds of subjects would you like us to discuss in 2018? Please share your stories, opinions and insights regarding today's topic.