London Vs Silicon valley.

In response to: Breakfast with Ray Kurzweil in the weekend FT.

Its hard to imagine that just 5 years ago smart phone penetration in the UK was less than 10% and by the end of next year it will be nearly 90%. The amount of processing capability and information available to us on our phone means we can be immediately better informed than any individual on the planet was 15 years ago, and few people predicted this because its hard to grasp how adoption rates have been exponential and not linear.

Ray Kurzweil’s predictions over the years have often been seen as outlandish because most people don’t grasp exponential growth.

This also highlights one of the problems we have in London and the UK in competing with Silicon valley and other entrepreneurial centres” Our Anglo Saxon conservatism finds it hard to accept just how quickly the world is changing, and this feeds through to backing entrepreneurs with “crazy ideas”.

In Silicon Valley, the crazier your idea the better, because it means you’ve get less competition!

There is a Tsunami of digital disruption taking place in nearly every field of human activity. Industries are being turned on their head in less than five years and this rate of change is speeding up exponentially. For the people that think their industry won’t be impacted, whether its Insurance, health, cars or even politics, well they are the modern equivalent of the 20,000 boat people in 18th century London who slowed down the building of bridges across the Thames. A bridge was a threat to their livelihood but ultimately always brought increased economic activity. The digital disruption currently occurring is the modern day equivalent, except its happening in every industry not just boat taxis across the Thames.

Last year I spent a week at Singularity University and had the opportunity to meet Ray Kurzweil. I have to admit that some of the projections and ideas being thrown around were pretty crazy, from the possibilities of 3D printing in outer space to microchip processors smaller than a blood cell.Throw some AI and robotics into the mix and we have a potential future that seems radically different.

London is becoming a global hub for digital entrepreneurs looking to disrupt every sector. We need to change our attitudes and give more headroom to entrepreneurs and thinkers such as Ray Kurzweil. The media needs to understand this new paradigm and educate the public. We will all need to re-skill, and on an ongoing basis, otherwise lots of the current working population will be scratching their heads in 5 years time wondering what happened to their career and why their skill sets are no longer relevant.

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