The technological changes with the most socio-economic impact in the coming years will mean the industrial transformation of the countries of our environment, substantial changes in daily life and industrial revolutions of relevance both to employment and from a geopolitical point of view. The signs of these changes are already described daily in the media, but as the worst of the crises that are not expected, it seems that economic policies and businesses prefer to look the other way, avoid the evidence and postpone the changes they feel inexorable. These are five changes that will transform our future.
They are still expensive and impractical because of their limited autonomy in most cases, but the new models that will be launched in the coming years will corroborate that fossil fuels are not the future of automotive. The new Tesla, which is expected to be launched this year, will have a level of performance, autonomy and price closer to those of the average Berliners (about 35,000 euros) than those of super-luxury vehicles. In the case of motorcycles, some brands already offer perfectly comparable products (166 kilometers per hour, more than 300 kilometers of autonomy from the company Zero, for example) although prices must go down to break the market. Combustion engines are clockwork, an entry barrier for competitors. On the contrary, electric vehicle engines are simple and China is able to offer them at low prices in the short term. Batteries are increasingly suitable for automotive use.
The consequences of this technological revolution in the making is the restructuring of a sector of the car infrastructure is not amortized and great templates. However, in 20 years ‘ time it will be as surprising to see a diesel car as smoking in enclosed spaces today. In the Chinese city of Shenzhen, for example, the municipal bus fleet will be completely electric this year. The industrial consequences of the electric transformation of the motor vehicle fleet will be dramatic, also from the point of view of employment. The 2.7 million vehicles made each year in Spain account for 10% of GDP and 9% of employment, according to data from the Association of Anfac manufacturers.
The domotic revolution that has begun will have an impact on daily life and the economy. Associated with the automotive sector, the possibility that vehicles should be driven autonomously in the future, with the impact it may have on certain sectors of activity, no longer seems so remote. In a more prosaic plane, smart bulbs, whose light intensity is operated from the mobile via wifi, are an already cheap example of the changes that are coming. For just over 10 euros (origin, China) it is possible to buy one of these gadgets that is assured have a useful life of more than 10 years. The acceleration of the introduction of technology in the home, of the internet of things, will change daily life. The products will be communicated to each other, the sensors will be included in all the gadgets in order to be monitored in real time.
In industry, the robotization of processes tends to nullify repetitive processes and will also result in progressive labour restructuring. However, the overall balance of process robotization in the economy suggests that it does not have such feared negative effects, at least from a global point of view. It takes away jobs and encourages the emergence of others.
Economists such as Vicenç Navarro claim that everything depends on whether productivity gains are reinvested or go on to add to the positive balance of the owners of the means of production. Also whether the means of production remain in few hands or socialize, or whether conceptually the robot is owned by the employee who oversees it. Artificial intelligence, understood as the autonomous evolution of machines, now modifies the operation of software and must accelerate technological evolution and fusion between the mind and machine
Money loses bellows. But conventional credit cards can also lose weight in the face of new e-payment systems. In China, payment through the Wechat application, the equivalent of Whatsapp, which has also announced the introduction of short-term money exchange systems in Europe, is already common.
Electronic payment with the mobile phone is already a reality and will be increasingly enhanced even in micropayments. Street stalls in some parts of China are no longer paid with money, but via mobile, a trend that can become widespread worldwide in the coming years. For some, the breaking in of the mobile as a means of payment can transform the bank as we know it in a faster way than anticipated.
Microsoft’s absolute dominance in personal computing will go down in history. The mobile phone boom has changed information consumption habits and technology platforms are in transformation. Experts point to a growing convergence between mobile and personal computers. The idea is that the process capacity of mobile phones will increase exponentially by equating it to that of personal computers, so the former will be able to function as the latter. Nor should we underestimate the role that so-called Google PCs or Android PCs can play, cheaper computers geared exclusively to use on the internet, from EUR 40 currently in China, to EUR 200 here. The growing computerization and growth of mobile as a multifunctional tool has economic consequences by substantially modifying global technological leadership, which has been transferred from telecommunications companies and ‘software’ to technological hardware manufacturers, such as Apple, Tesla or Asian giants (Huawei, Samsung, LG, Lenovo, Xiaomi)…) or the internet (Facebook, Google, Amazon, Alibaba…).