With capitalism at a crossroads and tech driving unprecedented change, it’s time to harness the power of uncertainty
Those of us in the technology and startup worlds have thrived in uncertainty, we actively seek out its risks and opportunities. The ground has always shifted beneath us — but the tremors are now tectonic. Even before the results of this extraordinary election, we could feel it building. In the past decade, our creations have aggregated power beyond our control — they have swayed elections, they have concentrated wealth, data, and leverage in the hands of the very few, and they have triggered market panics and social revolutions. Soon our technologies will unleash a wave of AI-driven automation, and with it the loss (or is it the creation?) of millions of jobs. The world now demands we take responsibility for the power we’ve acquired, and that we engage with society at a broader scale. Will we answer that call?
As technology companies acquired power, the leadership of our largest legacy companies — companies that came to dominance during the post war economic boom — can no longer ignore the shifts in nearly every aspect of their business: customers are demanding new experiences, employees are demanding their work ladders to a greater purpose than profit, partners are asking for new ways to work together, and competitors are redefining markets once thought stable. How will our largest companies manage the transition to a world reshaped by technology?
And more than anyone at present, our government and policy leaders are feeling the shift — citizens have rejected politics as usual, and they demand a new social and economic compact — but their questions far outstrip our leaders’ ability to find answers.
Will our 40-year march toward open markets be reversed? Will China and Mexico no longer be two of our largest trading partners? Will the US abandon the Paris accords, and fail to lead the world through what increasingly feels like a global climate crisis? Will our new approach to healthcare for all be abandoned? If so, for what, and how will we pay for it? Will our financial system be subject to draconian new regulations, or will it be left unfettered, doomed to potentially repeat the mistakes of the past? Will automation and AI destroy tens of millions of jobs — and if so, should laissez-faire be our response? How do we manage through the greatest period of income inequality since the dawn of capitalism? Do we legislate higher minimum wages, a universal basic income, or demand that our corporations repatriate both their labor and their capital?
Answers to these questions won’t come easily, but the only way to find them is to begin a conversation. Join us at the Shift Forum, where 400 of the best minds in business, technology, and government will come together for two days of focused, action-oriented dialog. It’s time for leaders across all sectors to learn how to partner and collaborate — the old narrative of “Us vs. Them” no longer serves us. Find out more here. Let’s start charting a path forward, together.
Join us for the NewCo Shift Forum, where 400 of the best minds in business, technology, and government will come together for two days of focused, action-oriented dialog.