Ziad Abdelnour is a Wall Street investor, author, and the current President and CEO of Blackhawk Partners. In order to predict where “future big bucks will be made,” he explains that one must first look to where the world is headed.
Just as digital cameras eliminated the Kodak company, Abdelnour predicts that future technologies like self-driving cars, 3D printing, and artificial intelligences (AIs) threaten to eliminate 70-80% of jobs in the next two decades.
If you want to make money in what he calls the “fourth industrial revolution,” you need to know what to expect. Abdelnour’s bold predictions are optimistic, grim, and shocking all at the same time. “Software will disrupt most traditional industries in the next 5-10 years,” he writes.
Uber is the perfect example. The company owns no cars. In essence, it’s just a software tool – but that software tool is now the biggest taxi company on the planet.
Airbnb owns no properties, but has become the largest hotel company in the world.
Back to artificial intelligences: “Computers become exponentially better in understanding the world,” writes Abdelnour. Just this year, an AI beat the world’s best Go player – an achievement not predicted to occur until 2026.
Law and finance careers are taking a beating as robo-advisers and smartphone apps eliminate jobs. For example, “IBM Watson” provides fast, basic legal advice that is 20% more accurate than human advice. It also helps nurses diagnose cancer (and is 4x more accurate than a human). Abdelnour predicts there will be “90% less lawyers in the future,” with only specialists remaining.
“In 2030, computers will become more intelligent than humans,” he continues. Self-driving cars will soon disrupt the automotive industry. “Our kids will never get a driver’s license and will never own a car.”
Cities will evolve as noise, traffic, and pollution are reduced to a fraction of what they are today. Many of the 1.2 million people who die annually in car crashes will live; parking garages and lots will be transformed into green space. Insurance companies will be forced to drop prices and change their business models as car accidents are reduced to a minimum.
On the flip side, many car companies will go bankrupt. “Traditional car companies try the evolutionary approach and just build a better car, while tech companies (Tesla, Apple, Google) will do the revolutionary approach and build a computer on wheels.”
Simultaneously, coal companies will be forced out of business as the nation turns to the sun for its energy. In 2016, “more solar energy was installed worldwide than fossil.” Electricity is on its way to becoming clean and inexpensive, which will come hand in hand with cheap and plentiful water. “We don’t have scarce water in most places, we only have scarce drinking water,” Abdelnour reminds us. “Desalination now only needs 2kWh per cubic meter.”
The health industry will be rocked by the “Tricorder X,” a medical device (named after a Star Trek tool) that works with your smartphone to take blood samples and retinal scans. It can identify nearly any disease – and it will be cheap. In just a few short years, everyone will have access to affordable, world-class medicine.
In the manufacturing industry we have the breathtaking rise of the 3D printer (whose price dropped from $18,000 to just $4,000 in 10 years). Today, 3D printers are used to create airplane parts, shoes, and spare parts for space stations. China has already managed to print out an entire 6-story office building (piece by piece, of course).
By the end of 2016, you will be able to scan your feet with your smartphone and print out your own shoes using a 3D printer. “By 2027, 10% of everything that’s being produced will be 3D printed,” writes Abdelnour.
When it comes to future business opportunities, you must ask yourself if that niche will exist in the future. “If it doesn’t work with your phone, forget the idea,” says Abdelnour. “Any idea designed for success in the 20th century is doomed to fail in the 21st century.”
Editor’s Note: We are not afraid of technology at PBP, and we embrace these trends, but these technologies are bulldozing their way in and will radically change our economy. Think about these when you are investing, retraining for a job and planning your childs college education. As always as jobs are lost, new jobs are created. And as new technology comes to the forefront, old technology becomes obsolete.