Last week I was privileged to attend the Singularity University summit in Johannesburg. The rate of exponential change happening in our lifetime is mind blowing and has implications for every industry: from biotech to financial services and every conceivable industry in between. It’s difficult to describe in a few words the level of unprecedented change that will materialise in our lifetimes. This is the exciting part. The frightening part is that it may render us, as human beings, irrelevant within a generation or two, particularly if the policy makers get it wrong.

Just by way of example – I saw a completely blind man able to see… with his tongue!! See This is one simple example of what’s up. The amazing part of all this technological advance is that the cost is plummeting as fast as the technological advances themselves.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons why inflation around the world is stuck at very low levels. And this has serious implications for monetary policy and Central Bank policy. In a world where unemployment is falling rapidly in the developed world (although it’s hard to see this trend continuing given the speed of A.I. development), one would expect wages and inflation to ratchet up. This is not happening, allowing central banks across the world to keep accommodative monetary policy. Therefore the notorious ‘carry trade’ remains in vogue, even as the beneficiary currencies have terrible domestic backdrops. This is perhaps the new normal. Time will tell.

Even the world of currency trading will experience the mind-boggling effects of this technological step change. I’m not smart enough to figure out yet how, but I do intend to educate myself, and so should you, because the world will be a very different place in one year’s time, and then again in another year, and then again….

No industry will be immune to the effects of change and the cost of technology. Solar energy can already out compete traditional fossil fuels. Think about change on coal industries (three of the biggest coal miners in the U.S have disappeared in just three years) as clean energy replaces fossil fuels. And the cost of these technologies is falling fast.

You may wonder why I’m pontificating about tech like this in a boring currency comment? All I’m saying is that the world is changing at an unprecedented rate. Nothing will be normal. This has implications for policy makers, which have implications for global development, which have implications for global trade, which have implications for currencies. If we continue to think about the world (and economics) in traditional terms, we run the risk of getting left behind.

For example, the S.A. Government, for whatever reason, is hell bent on spending trillions of rands on nuclear technology. The fact is that nuclear as a source of energy (particularly for a solar rich country like ours) is outdated and expensive, and will be a waste of trillions of rands. We had better wake up soon.

On a slightly lighter note, are there any Arsenal supporters willing to stick their heads above the trenches? Let me not gloat, it’s unbecoming. The Springboks may have found some lost mojo, although the big test will be against the mighty All Blacks. Floyd Mayweather proved the experts correct, although Notorious put up a decent performance. And the Formula 1 season is promising to be  a humdinger as we head into the latter parts thereof.

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