By: Yinka Okeowo
Six- years before the first marriage between man and Robot took place and before Artificial Intelligence became News Broadcasters and pop star Singers; and these radical technological innovations keep coming from the yearly digital crystal ball predictions by the Founder and CEO, New Horizons Nigeria, Mr. Tim Akano.
He has accurately predicted them and they all came to pass.
Now, we are in a New Year- what is Mr. Akano seeing about the horizons for individuals and businesses, technologically speaking, in 2019?
Akano: Thanks for going down the memory lane.
As you rightly pointed out- the first world Artificial Intelligence news broadcaster was unveiled by the Chinese Xinhua News Agency on November 9 2018: the Ai read news on television and millions of people around the world did not know immediately it was not a human being.
You also will recall the Japanese Pop Star Eiguchi Aimi who took Japan by surprise and for 17 days nobody knew in Japan that Ms. Aimi was not a human being singer but Ai.
You will also recall that in April 2017, a Chinese Ai Engineer, Zhang Jiajia built and married a Robot Spouse for himself named YINGYING in a weeding that was well attended by his parents and friends and conducted in accordance with the Chinese marital Culture and custom.
Also, in October 2017, Saudi Arabia made a first- they named SOPHIA, a robot, as Saudi citizen with human rights.
What does it all add up to? Where are we? And where are we going, technologically speaking?
In my lecture in December 2018 at CMD on Artificial Intelligence and the future of learning- I submitted that Homo Sapiens is in transition, and on a one-way evolution ticket to becoming something else: Homo Deus.
We have bought the ticket, unfortunately- it’s one way- , with zero chances of returning to who we are.
But I would like us to look at the Digital Crystal Ball this year differently from what we used to do in the years past.
I believe it will be more beneficial for everyone- journalist, Entrepreneur, Job seekers, parents and governments if we break it down into Sectors.
Let’s look into 10 areas: Unemployment, FinTech, Telecom, Education, Agriculture, Media, Manufacturing, Homeland Security, Trade, and governance
QUE: What do you then see as the intersection between Technology and the future of Job? Are we all going to become jobless at the rate at which Robot and Ai are replacing workers?
Tim: Yes and No.
A friend of mine put it poetically in an article recently in the newspaper ‘’how technology stole our breakfast and is about to eat our lunch’’.
But I disagree with his conclusion.
Technology did not steal anybody’s breakfast rather technology changed our breakfast menu and gave us a new breakfast menu and technology has equally announced that a new lunch and dinner menu list is on the horizons.
It is by putting issues in the right perspective that we can take full benefits of what is and what is to come.
My answer in this sector is relevant to anyone ages 10 to 69 and business organisations as well.
Below are the NEW MENU LIST OF SKILLS that technology wants that can make anyone or organisation to be relevant in the new TECH KINGDOM that we are entering.
The latest LinkedIn research on Skill and employment shows that there are 50,000 professional skills in the world today. But most of these skills will be obsolete in a matter of three to five years. Most of the traditional skills will decline in value. Banking/Finance, Architecture, Accountant, etc will decline because e of technology.
But below are the TEN HOTTEST SKILLS that will grow in demand in 2019 and beyond:
1 Creativity, Innovation and Analytical Reasoning (2) Persuasion, Collaboration, and Adaptability(3) Cloud Computing (4) Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things and Cyber Security (5) People and Time Management (6) Mobile Application Development (7) Sales Leadership, Customer Service, Digital and Social Media Marketing (8) Animation, Video, Audio, and Game development ( 9) Business Analytics and Competitive Strategies (10) Data Science & Big Data.
The demand of these ten skill-sets by the industry will grow geometrically because we have shortages and businesses are developing along these lines exponentially.
If you have children or cousin or brothers or sisters and you don’t want them to be hungry in the new TECH KINGDOM- these are the skills that will be in the greatest demand. Dr Robot will be a better Surgeon than human Doctors in few years’ time.
Ai will be a better Pilot than human Pilot, Ai will replace drivers and cars will be electric without engine.
Ai will do some Accounting, Architectural, Journalism, Military, Teaching and Engineering jobs.
Everything we are doing will converge on MOBILITY- our phone will become part of us in a new form.
It will be engrained in our flesh- this will drive the demands for experts in Mobility and internet of Things. Then when Robot produces in the factory- Peter James and John have to sell to Steve and, Florence.
A Buhari or an Atiku will always need the services of Digital Marketing Professionals to sell their candidacy to the electorates: so selling skill, Customer service, Digital and Social medial skills will be in hot demand.
QUE: What does Digital Crystal Ball says about FINTECH in 2019?
Tim: Obviously, Banking and Financial Industry are the biggest consumers of technology. Therefore, using past years as a guide, FINTECH will continue to dictate the speed of innovation in technology.
Below are the TOP 10 VARIABLES for the financial industry in 2019 and beyond.
They are: (1)Digital only Bank will grow faster than the legacy brick and wall, High street banks
(2) There is bound to be bigger cash injection by banks into Digital transformation in order to reduce overhead cost ultimately.
(3) Massive deployment of Artificial Intelligence in customer profiling for credit transaction will happen in 2019 in the banking industry.
(4) Due to the stringent and thick regulatory requirement and compliance for the financial sector- more banks will make use of Ai technologies for compliance purposes.
(5) 2019 is the year of surgically implanted Near Field Communication devices (NFC) (6) Block chain and Crypto currencies diversification will be massive consequent upon the rise and fall of Bitcoin- we have not seen the end of crypto.
(7) Quantum Computing will become mainstream because of Big Data and Internet of Things (8) GDPR and Digital Marketing for banks will drive the OPT-IN data mining sales model as a way to reach customers
(9) Decentralised App for payment- online payment using decentralised apps will grow because of their relative security vis-à-vis the legacy payment model
(10) Cyber Security- when Marriorit Hotel lost 500 million vital data to cyber thieves towards the end of 2018- that was a passing shot to all the financial institutions that cyber security will become their Centre of gravity in 2019 and beyond.
QUE: What has the Digital Oracle got to say on Telecommunications industry in 2019 and beyond?
Tim: 2019 is the 5G YEAR! – The massive deployment in advanced countries of extra supper fast internet is this year. Towards the end of 2018 a few Smart nations tested the 5G technology and the outcome was awesome.
Finland was the first country in the world to make 5G mobile internet available to individuals and businesses. US AT &T delivered a super-fast internet as a test run for about 5000 visitors using its own hardware and the result was great.
In South Korea, Ericsson, Intel and Korean Telecom connected a moving car to live 5G network as it drove through Soul and the experience of the customers was out of this world. MTN, VODAFONE are two other major players in the 5G race.
But there is one major ‘’BUT’’, Since 5G technology makes use of virtualisation and Internet of Things it , therefore, opens itself up to a wider range of attacks surface. Cyber security will become a major cost- centre for Telco companies in 2019 and beyond.
And both the breakfast and lunch of Telecoms will continue to end up in the stomach of Skype, Whastapp and those social medial stuff that offer communication at the price of Tom Tom sweet to users! My message to Telecom in 2019 is: INNOVATE FAST OR SUDDEN DEATH.
My TOP TEN GAME-CHANGING VARIABLES for Telecoms in 2019 are (1) 5G,
(2) Cyber Security: 43% of Telecoms was attacked in 2018 and it took an average of three months to detect
(3) IoT explosion- we are going to witness connection of devices running into billions or even trillions which will require gargantuan data consumption. This is the age of THINGSFICATION
(4) Saturation for Voice business, once Africa gets to seventy per cent penetration then the Telecoms will need to search for growth elsewhere may be a s a CONTENT PROVIDERS
(5) OTT and Value added Services- Over- The- Top services fuelled by video streaming and high demand for non-linear media consumption will grow exponentially in 2019.
(6) Cross industry Alliance between
Telecoms and Broadcasting companies:
Telecoms would begin to acquire companies that are producing entertaining content, for example, popular TV shows, and live sports games among others as a new growth path.
(7) Commoditization of AUGEMENTED REALITY AND VIRTUAL REALITY- Telecoms with a view to differentiating their products and services will begin to use AR,VR on smartphones to empower digital visualizations on real images and enhances customer experience,
(8) Regulations for Telecoms: GDPR, eprivacy regulations among others will drain some cash from the pocket of Telecoms in 2019
(9) Machine Leaning and Artificial Intelligence: will help in automating and bettering many back-office operations and sundry customer experiences, this will include customer predictive maintenance services.
(10) Save and affordable In-Flight Connectivity System (IFCS) as a game-changer in 2019.
QUE: You have been in the Education industry for a decade plus- what has Digital Oracle revealed to you concerning 2019 in your industry?
Tim: Technology has entered into classrooms and it will revolutionise the way we teach and learn. These are the TOP TEN TECHNOLOGY VARIABLES that will influence education from 2019 and beyond.
(1) Artificial Intelligence in Education will impact speech recognition, problem-solving, and planning. AI will also drives automation of administrative tasks like students’ grading, creation of smart content in the curriculum, and customisation of the teaching process.
(2) Virtual Reality- Medical students can now watch live simulated surgeries using VR technology,
(3) Gamefication- bringing education video games into classrooms this makes learning more fun and engaging.
(4) Learning Analytics- this will enhance better monitoring of student behaviour and absorption level by utilizing effectively the existing data,
(5) Open Education- the need to make education cheap and accessible will continue to drive the demand for open education at the Higher Education level
(6) IoT learning will enhance personalisation, drive better engagement and skill acquisition.
(7) STEAM- because the society is in transition to a technology kingdom the need for STEAM education will increase in 2019.
(8) Green Courseware- everything is going green from electric cars to green classroom.
(9) Game Theory – education is no more going to be on the basis of one-cap-fits all. Game theory allows instructors to choose the most appropriate method for student leaning in a giving situation.
(10) Brick and Mortal Education will witness slow growth compared with ONLINE/ Anytime/Live education.
Besides, the awareness to downplay paper qualification in favour of skilled-based education will increase.
QUE: What does all these add up to and where does it put New Horizons Nigeria?
Tim: We have discussed and analysed four sectors: Jobs, Fintech, Telecommunication and education. The remaining six sectors are going to witness the impact of Ai, IoT Cyber Security among others in different ways but equal measure.
With regards to New Horizons Nigeria, you will recall that we are the first company in Nigeria to introduce ICT certification- based training into the Nigeria education curriculum 13 years ago. As at today we produce about 50,000 students yearly under our certification program.
Our determination to add value to Nigerians has always been our driving force.
This is why we are the first company in IT training Industry in 2018 to launch a Comprehensive Robotics Education in High Schools which includes curriculum on 3D printing Technology, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Big Data, Cyber security and Graphics design among others.
Several schools in Abuja and Lagos have signed in for this program. This will help our children to acquire 2019 ICT skills that will make them to be competitive globally.
I can confidently tell you that the schools we partner in Nigeria receive the best of ICT education like their counterparts in Europe and America. For the rest of us: we definitely cannot beat Technology or slow it down- our best option is to join Technology and provides the skills it wants. This is the only way for prosperity in the new TECH KINGDOM.