What impact will an ‘autonomous world’ have on society?

What role do humans play when robots can do it better? Yes, Robots and autonomous technologies are coming. They will augment some jobs and replace others. In particular, self-driving cars will be produced in mass by most auto companies in 2021 - it has profound impacts to society.

While we’re deepening our understanding of sharing behaviours, service marketplaces, and the maker movement, we’re also readying for the next digital era that’s emerging: the ‘autonomous world’.

In the autonomous world, we see machines replace humans to deliver even greater convenience and efficiencies. By gaining access to products and services through on-demand business models of the collaborative economy, customers reduce the need for ownership. Autonomous technologies further enable these models, allowing companies to more easily automate product and service delivery in new marketplaces.

We define the Autonomous world as: A future state when intelligent technology systems, operating without human participation, enable new business models in a more efficient society.

Car and ride-sharing start-ups also contribute to increased preference of vehicle access versus ownership. This is an essential foundation to the Autonomous World, when drivers are ousted in favor of self-driving vehicles, and riders are treated to more efficient routes, increased safety, and reduced transportation costs. It is predicted that self-driving cars will be available for public consumption beginning in 2018, and reach complete autonomous capability by 2022. They will be as safe as, if not safer than, human-driven cars.

And, autonomous vehicles disruptions will impact every industry, not just transportation.

The question still remains: What are the business strategies required to compete in the autonomous world? This is where corporate innovation comes into play.

We find that corporations are struggling to keep pace with technology trends, like the autonomous world, but the real challenge lies in their internal culture. The "tech issue" isn't an issue! Successful companies focus on setting a foundation with the right people and empowering them, as well as governance, before large investments take place that lack direction, resources, or goals. This can take the form of corporate innovation teams, innovation "centers of excellence", or intrapreneur programs. You can find more on the 10 types of corporate innovation in our report.

We find that the most commonly deployed corporate innovation programs include corporate innovation teams (79 per cent); innovation centers of excellence (61 per cent); and technology education (54 per cebt). This shows that companies are first focusing internally on building the right teams, getting governance and processes in place, and educating current and new employees on emerging technologies before spending resources on rolling out external programs or investing in the start-up scene.

How will your company weather the autonomous wave? Corporate innovation programs and initiatives that work together to better customer experiences and impact the bottom line are critical to survival.

This is a guest blog and may not represent the views of Virgin.com. Please see virgin.com/terms for more details.

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