Do ALL new technologies solve the fundamental challenges of our time?

5 August 2016

We stand at the doorstep of the fourth Industrial Revolution. Media picture is packed with news and analyses of a great number of technology trends enabled by Big Data. It is often difficult for ordinary people to comprehend all the new breakthroughs, and to grasp consequences of them for how we will live, get around, work and relax in the future.

In the automotive industry, we face a break-neck development of autonomous, or self-driving vehicles, connected vehicles, electrified cars, “on-demand” smart urban mobility, shared mobility etc. Automotive manufacturers and technology companies join forces to combine technologies.

Academics, governments and regulatory bodies, urban planners stimulate and monitor the developments. Many barriers will have to be overcome, but the contours of the new world are emerging.

Marry Barra, the Chief Executive of General Motors said last week “I believe the auto industry will change more in the next five to 10 years than it has in the last 50.”
I’m thinking – are all new technology trends, that change so fast, a sensible development, moving our civilization in the right direction? Or is it to some degree a waste of our human energy on insignificant, nice to have accessories, rather than taking responsibility to fix fundamental challenges of our times? Is some of it a hype?

It is a fact that new technological innovations appear and disappear quickly in our times.

According to Gartner's renowned Annual Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies (, some technologies will never pass the Innovation Trigger point, even fewer will pass the Peak of Inflated Expectations, and then the Trough of Disillusionment, to become main stream technologies.

So the hardest decisions to make for most companies is to choose the right technology mix that will prevail in the future (although a “future” could be as short as three years).

For us, individuals, the questions would be:

How far shall we push the technology in eliminating human beings?
Are we ready to constantly adopt the ever changing technological visions?
Are all new technologies important in solving the key challenges of our time?

Think about it!

Teresa Lehovd is the Head of Market Intelligence at Höegh Autoliners. She holds over 30 years of experience in the RoRo shipping industry, whereof 20 years in various market research positions where she is specialised in the research of global automotive and heavy equipment industries. Teresa is also a guest lecturer at the Norwegian School of Management in the area of Competitive Intelligence and Shipping, and frequent speaker at various industry conferences.

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