Today and the future

Today many large businesses are closing down and bankrupt. Many economic rules are becoming obsolete in this globally connected and dynamic environment. Many successful companies that prospered ten or twenty years ago are no longer exist. Since the turn of the century, over 60% of the biggest global companies have failed and the rest are still struggling to stay alive. At the same time, some small companies are rising and become the “biggest” in the industry because they all know how to take advantage of technology and market needs. For example, five years ago, how many people ever heard of Uber, Airbnb or Snapchat? More than that, currently the list of millionaires and billionaires are full of young people in their 20s or 30s and one of the youngest multi-millionaires is only 21. If we look more closely, all of them have one common factor: “They all come from the technology industry.”

A market analyst wrote: “Technology is at the core of today’s business, impacting everything, every decision, and everybody. If you look at how Uber destroyed the Taxi business, it is all about technology that raises this startup into billion dollars business. Uber is constantly innovating to further improve its customer’s experiences: Faster, better and more convenience. Today, technology drives everything, changes everything, and impacts everything. Clearly, every company must adopt technology and advance towards full digitization if they want to survive. But adopting technology is NOT about buying more computer equipment but knowing how technology can be used to improve efficiency and profits. In order to do that, the company leaders must fully understand technology and have a comprehensive plan to change the way company do business. More than that, the business has to undergo a re-structure, with fewer levels of management or “Flat-out” the organization so decisions can be made quickly to take advantage of new opportunities.”

In this dynamic global environment, no company can stand idle but move fast as the market changes quickly. But the key challenge is to find and hire the best technical people who understand technology well enough to lead the company in this connected environment. According to several studies, by 2025, robotics and artificial intelligence will completely change the entire world business. The way people do business today will become obsolete unless it evolves into something simpler with more automation. For example, most manufacturing companies will use robots to replace labor workers, it means many people will lose their job. How can a country deals with high unemployment of 30% or 40% in a very short time? With artificial intelligence, many offices, banks, business and financial companies will use software instead of office workers, that also means many people will not have a job. How can an economy remain stable when there are so many people with no job and no hope of the future?

It is important to understand that businesses, works, jobs, and careers will completely change as technology changes many things. The future will be much different from the today and many businesses and jobs that we have known today will be gone tomorrow. For example, the traditional 8 hours of work and five days a week are already the thing of the past as most current businesses are operating 24 hours per day and seven days a week. The traditional physical offices and location have been replaced by online business, and most transactions are happening via the Internet and soon everything will shift to connectivity. There is a global issue that every country must solve namely “technological unemployment”. This means high unemployment due to technology as machines will replace people to increase productivity and profits but it also creates more opportunities for people who know how to take advantage of it: The technical people.

My question to students is: “If you do not study technology now, when will you?


  • Blogs of Prof. John Vu, Carnegie Mellon University

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