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Rapid Technological change - profound implications

The exponential rate of technological change is going to have profoundj implications for our society, our way of life, employment (or not) cost of living - every dimension of human life.

One of the things I worry about is that this profound change is happening much faster than the industrial revolution (  , ). During the industrial revolution, the rate of change was slow enough to allow displaced workers to find jobs in other areas. This technological revolution is happening so fast, and is displacing jobs across such a huge spectrum, that I suspect new jobs may not be created fast enough to absorb displaced workers. In fact there is a real possibility that in 20 or 30 years time, 50% of people may be unemployed ... though it might be 80% unemployed. The fundamental business models of government may have to change drastically.

From an investment perspective, one major aspect of technological change is disruption. Technological change can mean that well-established (even dominant) global companies might find their business models destroyed in a few short years. Therefore, investors must be vigilant to the implications of technological change - both in destroying the value of companies that investors might have invested in, and also is creating investment opportunities in

So this web page is intended to document some of these elements of technological change.

Much of this technological change  is coming from a combination of range of rapidly fast-developing technologies. However, I will seek to provide references to separate dimensions of these changes.

Some papers I wrote for clients in 2015 are here. 

A presentation by David Brown on the 3rd Industrial Revolution - that we are in.

Magellan Asset Management - "The Technological Arms Race", pages 2 through 7. Good summary.

For more infomation:


Rapid Technology Change - Nanuk assessment.

April 13, 2018

Nanuk technology presentations:

Technological disruption - cars, oil, steel - Tony Sheba

November 21, 2017

Tony Sheba ( ) is an international expert on technological disruption. A 18/July/2017 Youtube video of Tony Sheba presenting about technological disruption is here:  A similar presentation in USA on 5/July/2017  "Clean Disruption - Why Conventional Energy & Transport will be Obsolete by 2030"

This 40ish minute presentation, among other things talks about:

  • the dramatic shakeout of the automobile industry in the 2020s ..... leading to most car manufacturers failing - leaving only 2 or 3 significant car manufacturers globally by 2030, 95% transition to self-driving electric cars by 2030, but also far fewer cars eg only 20% of the cars today as people give up car ownership based on a far more cost effective solution of calling a car when you need one. This changes the need for roads, garages etc .... changes city planning.

  • He also thinks that the impact of this evolving change is going dramatically change the dynamics of the oil industry, with oil price crashing to US$25 by 2021 or 2022. (Go to the 35th minute of the presentation) This obviously is very relevant to oil industry investors.   And because I do take this sort of forecast very seriously ......, we need to be factoring this into our energy company investment decisions!!! Timing though is important on that ... because I suspect we might have a shortage before the outcome Tony Sheba forecasts.

This is important because technological disruption is probably the biggest single item that is likely to have an impact on your portfolio over the next 5-10 years. As was discussed at 18/November/2017 Sohns Hearts and Minds Conference, if you are a major encumbent in an industry, then you need to use technology to disrupt your industry OR someone will do it to you and in doing so, will destroy your business.  

  • As Mike Cannon Brookes said in this article  

    • Mike Cannon Brookes, the co-founder of Atlassian, one of Australia's most successful software companies, said the future of commerce would be defined by a battle between industry and software providers. "The question is: Are software companies going to figure out how to move into industries faster than the industries figure out how to be software companies?"

    • Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes posed the question, "are software companies going to figure out how to move into industries faster than the industries figure out how to become software companies?". "You see this in all these industries and that is a fundamental challenge, to see who wins that battle."

  • This is a particularly important message to all Australian monopolies and oligopolies.

Artificial Intelligence

December 27, 2016

Artiificial Intelligence technology has an extremely broad range of applications. So let us look at:

Artificial Intelligence resource web sites:

Some artificial intelligence applications

Driver-less electric cars

December 27, 2016

Implications in short:

  • No taxi drivers.

  • Cheaper taxi rides.

  • Cheaper cars.

  • Reduced car ownership. Why own a car, if a driver-less Uber is cheaper?  Saves city parking. Saves having a garage.

  • Less carbon-based fuels.

  • Less domestic air travel - if you can overnight in your electic car 900km while asleep.

Clean Energy Disruption

December 27, 2016

Clean Disruption - Why Energy & Transportation will be Obsolete by 2030 - Oslo, March 2016
Tony Seba's Clean Disruption Keynote presentation at the Swedbank Nordic Energy Summit in Oslo, Norway, March 17th, 2016. The keynote, based on the book 'Clean Disruption of Energy and Transportation' assert that four technology categories will disrupt energy and transportation by: 1- Batteries / Energy Storage 2- Electric Vehicles 3 ...

Shopping - see Amazon & Alibaba

December 27, 2016

Artificial intelligence application is central to disruption in many industries like retailing.

Some references:


Death of established retailers?

Alibaba- Who is Alibaba?



Battery technology

December 27, 2016

To make a lot of other technologies viable, we need better battery technology. This includes for:

  • electric cars

  • solar and other renewable energy

  • our mobile phones

  • and much more

But the good news is, that huge amounts research is underway to bring us this technology.

Limitless cheap CPU power and memory

December 27, 2016

CPU power is becoming very cheap. Memory is becoming very cheap. The is a great enabler for other technologies like artificial intelligence.

Inexpensive high-speed telecommunications & cheap sensors

January 01, 2020

Cheap sensors & inexpensive high-speed communication is anorther key enabling technology in that they cost-effectively enable the inexpensive computing and artificial intelligence with the real world. Thus we get the Internet-of-everything.

An interesting link discussing how eaasy it is is here

This is a perspective of the Internet-of-things from Google.

Tech disruption on Infrastructure Investments

July 11, 2017

AFR 12/7/17.  "Infrastructure assets ripe for disruption".

  • 'Among the infrastructure businesses singled out as vulnerable to disruption are electric transmission and distribution grids, which are being challenged by distributed generation and battery storage. Among the others are  tollroads and passenger railways, which may be affected by the emergence of driverless cars; and ports and freight railways, which could lose volumes as 3D printers reduce the need to move manufactured goods around the world. Mobile towers could lose market share when fifth generation wireless technology arrives, increasing the speed at which data can be transferred across networks.'

  • 'While driverless cars were likely to benefit tollroads in the short term by using them first and making them more efficient, over the long term, as the cars spread throughout cities, they were likely to reduce traffic congestion, lowering demand for tollroads, he said. "Our best guess is that it's helpful over the next 10 years and then after that not as helpful." NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance acknowledged over the weekend that emerging technologies could affect demand for motorways.'

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