Global business leaders call for coordinated response to tech-driven changes

SINGAPORE - Globally, 84 per cent of business leaders surveyed are in favour of a coordinated response to tackle changes driven by technological advancements.

Half of these leaders also believe that this response should be led by inter-governmental bodies such as the United Nations, followed closely by individual governments (46 per cent), businesses themselves (37 per cent) and industry bodies (35 per cent).

These findings are according to the Timeline 2030 report commissioned by Fujitsu to explore the impact of technology on businesses and societies leading up to the year 2030. The research also sheds light on how the world might look like in the future, with advances in artificial intelligence and robotics, the ageing population, digital citizenship and Internet regulation.

While more than half of those surveyed believe that the impact of technological development will be positive by 2030, a worrying 76 per cent of business leaders feel that neither their own, nor international governments are currently doing enough to plan effectively for the impact of technology-driven change.

Said Fujitsu CEO, senior executive vice-president and head of Americas and EMEIA, Duncan Tait: "Rapid technological change is causing enormous shockwaves, and its disruptive impact on the world of business is already being seen. But there's another side to the story - the human one - as technology begins to fundamentally change our lives, at home and at work."

He added: "We must acknowledge and engage with the challenges that this presents, as well as the opportunities. Otherwise, technology may very well leave people behind."

Within their own organisations, business leaders expect the most impactful trends in the next 15 years to be the world online, automation and the ageing population. However, over half of these leaders admitted that they are not doing enough to prepare their businesses for the level of change anticipated.

According to survey findings, just under half are investing in innovation, and 44 per cent are focused on upskilling existing employees. Additionally, only 28 per cent of businesses are altering their business strategy to plan for the impact of technology.

As a whole, business leaders see the starting point for preparing for tech-driven change as focusing on the skillset required. Nearly half (46 per cent) believe upskilling the current workforce would be the most valuable measure, followed closely by 41 per cent who are looking for a change to the education curriculum.

A further 37 per cent think that investment in tech infrastructure such as high speed Internet is key, while 36 per cent feel that business and tech specialists need to form stronger partnerships.

The Timeline 2030 study was developed in partnership with insight and forecasting consultancy Trajectory. It explored 50 trends rated for certainty and impact among 1,400 business leaders worldwide.

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