There are those who worry that as more and more jobs are done by machines, there will be nothing left for humans to do. Yet in the 21st century, we face enormous challenges: climate change, refugees displaced by war and economic inequality, aging populations supported by fewer young workers, new infectious diseases, crumbling 20th century infrastructure, and more. In the past, machinery augmented human labor, making things that were once impossible the stuff of everyday life. We tunneled through mountains and under the sea, brought electricity, plumbing, and instantaneous communications even to remote locations. We have to stop worrying about "jobs" and start focusing on how to use the current generation of technology to enable people to do things that were unthinkable in the 20th century. As Nick Hanauer has said, "Technology is the accumulation of solutions to human problems. We won't run out of jobs till we run out of problems."
Nor is that all. Even in "a world where machines do many tasks that humans do today," the Next Economy will pay for what is uniquely human. We all crave the human touch, and caring and creativity will be keys to success. People at all levels of society pay a premium over the base cost of goods as a way of expressing and experiencing beauty, status, belonging, and identity.
In our most vibrant cities, we experience a taste of a future that could be the future for everyone. Restaurants compete on the basis of creativity and service, "everyone's private driver" whisks people around in comfort from experience to experience, and one-of-a-kind boutiques provide unique consumer goods. Technology can make everyone richer. And it is only when everyone is richer, not just a few, that an economy truly thrives. It is our opportunity—not just our responsibility—to make the economy enjoyed by the rich into the economy for everyone…the Next Economy.
If you're a leader in today's business world, you're dealing with implications of exponential transformation. At Next:Economy, you'll encounter innovators on the front edge of the fundamental changes that technology is bringing to business and society, plus you'll meet and share ideas with people like yourself who are wrestling with those changes.
You'll hear not only from key executives of companies driving this transformation, and from economists and journalists who are studying it, but also from people on the front lines: a new class of workers taking on ways of earning a living; kids who've grown up without the assumptions business leaders share; and inventors who are changing the world with their products and services.
Invited speakers include not just familiar faces from Silicon Valley (though they will be there) but also leaders from mainstream companies in diverse industries who know that every business is now a tech business and realize the urgency of understanding and influencing the future. Next:Economy collects the leading players and thinkers in the web space in one room; it will be the place where important deals and decisions are made, with a huge ripple effect on the society over time.
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