The ability to predict the future is crucial. It is the crucible on which every leader whether corporate or global is measured. But the crystal ball of the real world is bound by a hundred variables and that makes it supremely complex. From the decline of West Indian cricket to the over dependence of middle eastern countries on oil, celebrating the present and failure to see the future is the primary reasons for decline. A few weeks back I had written about Intel and how its inability to plan for the future has put it in a spot.
So this week, we try to peer through the crystal ball and I with all my put on confidence try to comment on the same. We take a walk through ideas as varied as car batteries and blockchain, the future of google and India’s pharmaceutical industry. We end with how looking at the past can help us learn on how to predict the future and in a way teach us that no matter how many times you are right, it will always be a little more luck than pure skill. I say this because the future is not simply an equation of variables, it is a equation of variables that still haven’t come into existence. And that makes it challenging. So here we go.
1. The information age solved a bunch of problems we didn’t know existed, and created a bunch of new problems. Smartphones, Internet and Social media all come up with a bunch of pros and cons. But some of the older problems which had been bothering scientists over the world were being worked upon, away from the interest of the media. An energy source that could replace oil was and is the holy grail. As far as 30 years back people knew the solution was Lithium.It had all the properties to replace oil, but was highly combustible. For the last 10 years a company backed by Bill Gates and many others had been working in stealth mode trying to find a solution. Difficult problems take time to solve. But after 10 years they have much to show for the grind. And Tesla should buckle up. There might finally be a solution to the energy crisis.
2. So Blockchain obviously was the solution to a bunch of problems. And it has been around for quite some time. How many of these solutions have you come across that use blockchain? The issue with out of the world technologically advanced solutions is that they miss only one thing. The Problem. Its time we take stock of the most famous and discussed invention of our times and figure what it can do? Or is its use limited to the wild speculations that have happened in the Bitcoin.
3. The world of algorithms controlling stock trading was always supposed to be the fastest calculations happening in the world involving money. Probably now it isn’t. Ad exchanges and Google are making it look slow. The world of ads could probably be even more competitive than that of the stock market. If you’ve ever worked or been exposed to the industry you would know why. But then why isn’t the industry regulated like the stock exchanges. A fascinating article to read, do go through it to understand the different perspectives a single issue can have. I don’t necessarily agree with everything that is written, but that is personal opinion. It Is fascinating to read such a deeply researched article on such a common topic these days.
4, India’s pharmaceutical industry has for years tried to climb up the value ladder. While there are a host of companies that dominate the generic medicine space in the global market it is the original drug space that India lacks any presence in. As it is said, in the R&D space India rocks it in the D, it is the R which is the problem. Which is why any achievement in the COVID vaccine space can be transformational for this industry. Everyone is looking up to the Serum Institute of India because it can not only help stop the spread of COVID and make the medicine affordable but rather can set up a much brighter future for the Indian pharma scene.
5. In this last article of the week, we don’t look to the future, but we imagine a very different past. What would have happened if Nuclear power had taken over as a source of energy. What if BARC in India had actually made an efficient reactor? Would India have been a superpower? Would the world be very different from the one we know today? Articles that retrospect on a global level have an ability to really clear your vision on the world of today. One singular event can change the course of human history and that is humbling in itself?