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Casium, India: Director of Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work Says New-Generation Technologies Will Provide Long-Term Sustainable Competitive Advantages to Those That Master Them

“As with any set of new technologies, there is a lag between adoption and results; this is particularly true with technologies that are fundamentally changing the nature of economic competition,” says Benjamin Pring, Director at Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work and co-author of “What to Do When Machines Do Everything: How to Get Ahead in a World of AI, Algorithms, Bots, and Big Data”. “For example, the meteoric rise of Google and Facebook has clearly been a boon to consumers, but a major deflationary force for media and publishing companies, as their historic revenue cash cow — advertising — has migrated online.” Excerpts:

“As a number of financial analysts have noted, much new technology is eroding the pricing power of incumbents and is thus having a net deflationary affect. There is correspondingly a heated ongoing debate in academic economic circles about the need to measure — more accurately — the “real” impact of technology on productivity and growth. There is no doubt that the vast majority of modern workers are far more productive than they’ve ever been (think about your own work day and output), but the fact that this productivity doesn’t show up in statistics suggests there is something amiss with the statistics.

There are two areas where robotics and automation are currently having the greatest impact, and then three others that over time will be become equally important; currently, financial services, and media and entertainment, have already seen AI/automation completely change the nature of the service/product and how the service/product is created.

In the near future, the healthcare industry will transition from a “sick-ness” industry to a “well-ness” industry through the “quantified self” move toward bio-sensors and predictive healthcare maintenance. Similarly, education will move from a “one-to-many”, still quasi-“industrial” approach (1-teacher-to-30-kids and so forth) to a “one-to-one” approach based on tailored and targeted “next-best-action” recommendations for an individual student. Lastly, autonomous driving will change the nature of transportation fundamentally in the next 20-30 years. Self-driving vehicles will not only generate huge safety benefits, but will also entirely reshape cities and how we use physical space.

Digital transformation, of course, needs to be managed. AI/automation/robotics are simply tools, and like any tool, need to be mastered. There are many inhibiting factors that will prevent, or slow, the pace of transformation in any given company or society (social, legislative, commercial, etc.), but we firmly believe that the power of the new generation of technologies will provide long-term sustainable competitive advantages to those that adopt and master them. Missing the change to seize these advantages in the next 36 months will leave “laggards” so far behind in the competitive race that they may never be able to catch up. Denial, inaction, and pessimism are not the foundations for good business models.”

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