Publication

How to conceive business in the time of robots?

14 2017 August
Executive Education INCAE

Let's check the history books: let's realize that we are in a fourth technological revolution. The advantage is that its cycle lasts only 30 years and the challenge is that it is uncertain, complex and changeable like nothing has been before. It is time to be vigilant, inform ourselves and act.

Welcome to the "Fourth Industrial Revolution" and "exponential technologies", as Professor Guillermo Cardoza calls the presentation with which he invites us to think about designs that offer solutions and know how to enter the markets in these times of competition and transience.

We are in the era of artificial intelligence, in the fusion of the real world with the virtual world and in the times in which the productive logic of goods and services has been superseded by that of creating transformative experiences. It is explained by Professor Cardoza, with a Ph.D. at La Sorbonne and specialized in innovation management, business competitiveness and business in emerging economies.

After the first Industrial Revolution, the one we studied in school and located in the middle of the 150th century, the world entered serial production 1970 years ago and around XNUMX it went overboard with the automation of processes. The current generations grew up in this one and when we thought that we had already mastered it, surprise !: intelligence is not only ours and the world is not only that which we can touch with our hands.  

“Now, we are facing a dizzying growth in access to information. It is time to take advantage of exponential technologies, those that have to do with concepts that we have surely heard happen: 3D-Printing, Robotics, Nanotechnology, Synthetic Biology, artificial intelligence ... And all in front of a fascinating speed in the changes of public behavior ”, Explains Cardoza, Academic Director of the Service Design and Senior Executive Program

Examples abound, but we don't have to go far. We see it every time we turn on the computer to watch our favorite series on Netflix or wonder how Facebook recognized a face in a photo and got the identity right. 

Intel also uses its algorithms to segment its customers based on demand and purchase need. Not to mention the famous Watson system that IBM develops in conjunction with a group of different universities in the United States and that defeated the best human competitors in the Jeopardy!

There are many more examples of artificial intelligence developments applied to business. There are the logistics companies that use robots for functions that until recently were the monopoly of human brains. Also in banks, algorithms resolve the degree of risk of a credit operation.

The problem is what the risk analyst of that bank will do then. That is part of the pending task, because the fourth industrial revolution seems unstoppable. Two projections mentioned by Professor Cardoza to reaffirm it: 

1. It is estimated that in 10 years 10% of world production will be printed in 3D 

2. They foresee that with the development of autonomous vehicles (true computers on wheels that park better than if we were driving!) 90% of the current vehicle fleet will be useless. 

We can conclude that the effects on logistics companies, on the labor sector, on transport and in general on the world economy will be enormous. Sometimes for the better and other times not so much. 

Another disturbing and challenging forecast pointed out by the INCAE expert: 10% of the 40 best industries cataloged by the global business magazine Fortune will disappear in 500 years.

Yes, we already know that Tesla is not yet achieving the positive return that other mainstream vehicle companies do, but we will say different things soon, perhaps five years from now; maybe in ten. 

It is also known that not all of us will rush to manufacture autonomous cars or mega systems like Watson. But opportunities spring up like May grass on all scales and markets. In addition, if we are part of the market we must know when we can take advantage as clients or public.

Others already went through that, when the economy went from agricultural farms to industrial chimneys and from these to services. Now that we know that there are goods and services and that the demand is for experiences, companies must think about how to solve these needs by applying them to business models

The topic will be central in the one-week program that INCAE will hold in Panama starting September 25, with professors of marketing, finance, business and operations. Knowledge and tools that, within a time, perhaps a very short time, could be worth gold.

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