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Tech’s Future Is Broader Than Social Media, Much Broader

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Tech’s Future is Broader Than Social Media, Much Broader was an article we found that we thought was worth sharing here. (American article)

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Only one AI application. (Photo Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

While typically the word “tech” calls to mind social media and a steady stream of “cool” aps, the greatest opportunities lie elsewhere. Applied more broadly, as it will be, technology, as ever, is poised to revolutionize the way the entire economy works.

The best way to see this future in not to dwell on the latest story of the latest wunderkind. Rather, it is to consider those areas of economic life that cry out for technological solutions. The need for more resilient supply chains, for instance, stands as one. Novel financial applications offers a second opportunity, especially in insurance, where fewer tech inroads have occurred to date. Healthcare’s needs are urgent and obvious. Tech has much to offer in helping the economy cope with an aging population and, of course, with today’s great anxiety: climate change. The picture is far from clear. The future never is. But outlines are discernable.

This is the first part of a two-part series on the future of tech. It will take up data needs, communication, fintech, and healthcare. The next article will take up the growing proportion of older retirees in the population and climate change as well.

Cloud computing and 5-G networks lie in the center of the quest for more resilient supply chains as well as other urgent business needs. The one will make internet access more reliable, while the other will introduce greater flexibility and access to cutting edge applications. Until recently, firms relied on in-house software for their production, distribution, and accounting needs. This was secure but inflexible, made communication more difficult, and required major efforts to upgrade. With reliable cloud computing, however, business can access continuously updated applications more cheaply. The “cloud” should also allow easier data sharing and communication answering a huge supply chain problem, at least in part, but also helping more broadly with all production and business needs.

Building 5-G networks will require a considerable investment. For cloud computing to offer the advantages it promises, it will also need to invest heavily in cyber protections and upgrade them constantly. Otherwise, its answers will too readily expose its users to privacy incursions, theft, and other disruptions. That threat will, of course, offer another tech opportunity. The necessary outlays will admittedly strain finances. No doubt, the expense will lead to fewer, larger providers than presently exist. But the needs of business are so great and the potential returns so large that those involved will manage these huge outlays.


On the financial side of the economy, algorithm-based solutions have already invaded investing and lending. This so-called “fintech” revolution has offered investors new ways to use their assets and manage risk. It has streamlined lending decisions as well as helped borrowers find where they are most likely to secure credit. Prior to the tech invasion, much of this was left to happenstance, luck, or protracted searches. Now this kind of a revolution is poised to occur with insurance. Dubbed “insurtech,” this technological push will — as in investing, banking, and lending – broaden access, manage risk more effectively, and streamline process that today take an extended time. As in banking and lending, this technological push will bring on joint ventures between established firms and the tech startups.

Healthcare offers an especially fertile field for new tech ventures. Rising medical costs threaten just about every developed economy on earth. Many nations, especially those with broad public healthcare systems, rely on triage and rationing to hold down costs. These unpleasant options make for a powerful public demand for some other solution. Tech strengths, once focused, can play a big role in bringing those preferred alternatives to life. The communication abilities of technology can, for instance, help with both preventative care and monitoring patients with chronic problems and do so in a more effective and cost-efficient way than presently. Algorithms can save doctors time and attention offering preliminary diagnoses and broadening the field in which nurse practitioners can operate. Still more imaginative answers will emerge in time. No doubt, some of this aid will require legal changes. And since much will depend on cloud computing, the need for good cyber protections will be essential to protect privacy. But the opportunities should ensure that those involved attend to these needs.

This is only an outline of the needs and how technology can respond but it should give an idea of where things are going. The next article will take up tech’s role in the still more complicated areas of demographics, especially the growing proportion of older people in the population, and in in answering the multifaceted needs of climate change.

This content was originally published here.