I’m always captivated when I think how the two characters from the movie, The Bucket List, formed an unlikely friendship, subsequently venturing out on a quest to tick off several personal dream “boxes” before they, so to speak, “kicked the bucket”. Their goals were cast in stone (be it may on a scrappy piece of yellow paper) and they persisted with their mission even when circumstances drastically changed – at times against them.

A company’s vision statement is not that different. The vision statement is a clear and concise report of defined objectives of what the company wants strongly to achieve, and therefore needs to do, in order to accomplish where it wants to go. Once you know where you want to go you’ll need a roadmap to help you get there timeously. Business people like to refer to this as the strategic plan. Whether the strategic plan is detailed and long-term, or short and concise, it must be flexible enough to allow for changes in the business environment. Particularly in this exceptionally fast-paced technological era we currently reside in.

So, what will the future bring?

We like to speculate a lot about what it would be like to do business in ten years time, but nobody has the perfect crystal ball to make a 100% accurate prediction. However, all future trends point in the direction of Artificial Intelligence (AI). I believe that we are on the verge of a new global renaissance (enter industry 4.0) and that AI will radically change the way we’ll live and conduct business day-to-day.

However, the question still begs, are we yet ready for this degree of disruptive change to our lives?

The Independent explores this in one of their recent article’s where they looked at a survey collaboratively conducted by The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and IBM. The article speaks of how UK companies believe that Artificial Intelligence will “fundamentally change their industries”:

Almost half of firms believe the current wave of technology will fundamentally transform their industry, but only a third feel their business has the skills to adapt.

The CBI warned of a growing digital gap between firms leading the way on technological developments and those who are being left behind.

In a separate article, Elon Musk (Tesla founder and Chief Executive), explains how:

Artificial intelligence and machine learning will create computers so sophisticated and godlike that humans will need to implant “neural laces” in their brains to keep up.

Future machines can create infinite possibilities. Some argue that we’ll get smarter as machines get smarter. We’re all well aware of how AI can also cause massive unemployment… and if not reigned in – mass destruction. Elon Musk’s – not so absurd – theory illustrates this last conundrum of how “killer machines” could be a real danger, which he recently warned in his open letter to the United Nations, and elaborated on in the AI conference held in Australia last month.

I suppose, at this stage, we don’t know what we don’t know, and we cannot halt what is coming.

Even an age-old, pessimistically viewed, industry such as debt collection is having AI brought into its mix, which Forbes recently published on as being the next big one to be taken into the technologically-automated-integrated future.

One thing that we do know, however, is that business managers will always need access to constant and accurate information to focus on value-adding activities. Some businesses already use extremely intelligent algorithms to continuously analyse data to supply them with vital information and direction to administer their resources accurately.

Unfortunately, not all businesses currently have access to these technologically advanced tools, as we’ve witnessed above, and we have to use whatever means available to stay confident in our numbers, to sustain competitive pricing strategies and maintain the momentum of our operational engines.

We cannot avoid the future – and all it will (artificially intelligently) bring with it – but we can stay clear about our goals. I believe that business is primarily about passion and commitment, and that a scrappy ripped page from a notepad might be just as effective as a highly digital platform to communicate our vision.

It is paramount that we keep making our ticks and continue to strive to witness something majestic manifest in our business, no matter how big, small, or smart.