Our cover story focuses on the revolutionary area of artificial intelligence which, depending on your perspective, will transform humankind for the better or lead to a dystopian future where machines control the planet. Technology features prominently elsewhere in this issue, as we look at Big Data and 3D printing. We also consider a world without central bank support and the future of asset management.
The future arrived in the Davies household on Christmas Day, 1982. As my brothers and I fought to tear off the wrapping of a brand new Commodore 64 home computer, I can remember my father’s words: “This will change your lives boys”.
He had clearly watched too much ‘Tomorrow’s World’.1 While it provided plenty of entertainment over the next few years, the C64 was too limited in what it could do and too slow to be anything other than an expensive toy. Fast forward to today, and it is staggering to consider how far technology has progressed. From smartphones to driverless cars, technology is central to people’s everyday lives. Our cover story focuses on one revolutionary area of change – artificial intelligence (AI) – which, depending on your perspective, will transform humankind for the better or lead to a dystopian future where machines control the planet.
Some scientists, including Stephen Hawking, argue that the doomsday scenario is not inconceivable. In 2014, Hawking warned: “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race”.2
If that seems far-fetched, AI is at the very least causing disruption in many industries, which will have investment implications for years to come.
Technology features prominently elsewhere in this issue, as we take an in-depth look at other drivers of the so-called fourth industrial revolution, including Big Data and 3D printing. We also consider how easy it will be for financial markets to wean themselves off central bank support, and the future of asset management.
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