The Five Trends To Future-proof Your Business
Forbes Africa|March 2020
Some of these fads were slowly building in the previous decade, others are still nascent, but need your full attention to prepare your business for the times ahead.
Samantha Steele

1. AI AND MACHINE LEARNING

Key takeaway: Automate repetitive tasks, but be wary of automating inefficiencies and biases.

You’re surrounded by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning: from the recommendations Netflix makes based on your viewing history to those pesky adverts that track you around the internet. As Bronwyn Williams, a trend analyst at Flux Trends in South Africa, explains, “Most of what you think is AI is actually machine learning.” Williams emphasizes that fears about AI “stealing jobs” are overrated, and most businesses will see the arduous, repetitive tasks given to machines, freeing up humans for analysis and critical thinking. She warns businesses to remember it’s the human interaction that differentiates one offering from another. “Don't automate away your value. Look under the hood and make sure you understand why you are automating something – and be careful not to automate inefficiencies.” Looking at automated HR processes, companies have discovered that even unconscious human biases are learned by machines (for example, CVs belonging to certain genders and races are discredited. Machines are not born neutral – especially if they’re learning from humans.) Embrace machine learning, but do so with a pinch of salt.

2. DRIVERLESS CARS AND THE SUPPLY CHAIN

Key takeaway: Autonomous cars are still about 15 years away, but it’s best to prepare your fleet and supply chain choice now.

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