How technology is changing society forever – NTT DATA Technology Foresight 2021 | NTT DATA

Mon, 22 March 2021

How technology is changing society forever – NTT DATA Technology Foresight 2021

Foresight is one of three core values here at NTT DATA. As the world moves faster than ever and technology rapidly transforms the world we live in, we are dedicated to mapping the future. NTT DATA R&D experts continuously analyse real-world case studies and sources to identify the most significant technology and societal trends that will drive this transformation over the coming years and provide our perspective on the consequent evolution of society and business.

Our research is focused on four key areas of study – politics, society, economics and technology – and culminates every year in NTT DATA’s Foresight Report.

This year, more than any before, there was a clear focus and drive towards societal impact. We recognise that technological advancement, business innovation and societal transformation are all inextricably linked, and it’s this intersection that drives society towards the future. At NTT DATA, our unwavering commitment to continuous improvement and societal change, enables us to guide organisations towards improved outcomes, empowering our clients and their customers alike.

This year several themes jumped out as me as particularly crucial in understanding this journey to forge new norms and create a more connected, sustainable future.

Foresight Report 2021

Three of the trends help us to understand the different ways society is being transformed by technology, and the steps we all need to take to ensure everyone benefits in this new world:

1. Growth of a Seamless World

IT will transcend its digital barriers, seeping into all aspects of people’s lives. In this “online-first society”, across the globe, people and businesses alike will recognise the value of this hybrid world, celebrating its ability to improve productivity, solve social problems, disrupt scientific solutions and maximise growth.

2. Individual-Centred Design

Competition will drive service providers to produce increasingly personalised experiences, designed with a customer-first mindset, using customer data to exceed expectations. This will come into conflict with online user privacy and security concerns. Service providers will have to address these personal-ID issues to enable personalization while protecting users' privacy.

3. Forge New Norms

As the pace of technological adoption catalyses increasing numbers of social issues, IT and society will come into conflict. AI-related issues and growing online crime will endanger technological enhancements. In order to build trust, governments will need to work with service providers to create legislation and structure to protect society.

A host of different important technology developments are driving this transformation of society. Two trends stood out to me from the report as particularly important in this regard:

4. The Transformative Power of AI

AI is rapidly advancing, with developments in both model size and performance. To support this, new technologies will be developed, increasing the efficiency and capability of AI. We will see AI become a broader exploratory technology that cultivates palpable positive societal change.

5. Distance Accelerates Automation

Automation will become a key part of daily life. Technologies that are able to automate human work, and free up human time, are statistically proven to increase productivity. By enabling AI to learn through observation, rather than through programming, these technologies will transform human life for good.

Long Term Vision

Technology is now advancing at a rate few could have thought imaginable. Momentum is firmly behind building the tech to deliver that transformative, seamless world – one with more open data, more advanced AI, and more complicated IT infrastructure. NTT Group is leading the way here, pioneering research into IOWN (Innovative Optical Wireless Networks) and in particular advanced simulation capabilities that blend physical and digital made possible with digital-twin computing.

NTT Group’s long-term vision is to improve society and enrich human experience through our business operations, which means seeing technology as a medium for change rather than the end goal in itself. This is where our Society 5.0 concept comes in – a human centred society that balances economic advancement with the resolution of social problems by a system that highly integrates cyberspace and physical space. Businesses and governments will only win over sceptics if we stop talking about technology without context and start to frame the discussion around societal change, enabled by technology.

Final Thoughts

At NTT DATA, we believe it is our duty to use technology to help contribute to a more affluent and harmonious society and Foresight helps us to achieve exactly this.

We share this vision with our clients as their trusted global partner and collaborate to leverage these trends to create new values. Together, we make innovation happen.

Contact the NTT DATA team to learn more. We would love to run a Foresight workshop at your organisation, helping your teams to explore everything the future has to offer.

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