Investing in the Future

The main thing to understand about the future is actually two things: the first is that it is here now, and the second is that the rest of it is going to arrive much faster than you think.

Putting flesh on these generalities, futurist and author Jack Uldrich outlined for a Boston lunch audience (convened by Atlantic Trust Company) some highlights of the rapid pace of change:

The rate of technological change is not linear but exponential. Very shortly companies operating in the “millions” will be operating in the “billions.”

There are numerous “new verticals” which will disrupt just about everything: manufacture by printing, nanotech, robotics, the internet of things, the genome, AI, Big Data.

You need only look back 10 or 20 years and see whether the shape of the current world could have been imagined at that time. The answer of course was “no.” You have to look ahead with humility, and not assume that the ideas fixed in your head are going to have anything to do with the shape of the future and, consequently, your investments in same. Even the organization of the distribution of “stuff” will be changed; think “Amazon Go” and the sharing economy.

Underlying theme? Be humble, be flexible, look around you: the future is already here and discernable if you pay attention.

Query: who fully believes this in making investment choices?  History and logic suggest such things as diversification; does anyone put 100% into the new economy?

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