It sounds like WMATA’s history of championing technology has served it well to date, but I think it may be ill-equipped to handle the competing technologies that may make WMATA obsolete moving forward. The cost of ridesharing and automonous vehicles are decreasing while public transportation systems are becoming increasingly expensive. In some situations public transportation has already become more expensive than ridesharing: http://www.businessinsider.com/uber-pool-cheaper-than-subway-2016-7
Jasper, great analysis of the opportunities and challenges facing McKinsey. If you step outside the typical profitability framework, an interesting component to add to this discussion is the increased competition McKinsey and others will face a result of technology. Catalant Technologies, formerly HourlyNerd, is a terrific example of a disruptive player that could pose a threat to traditional consultancies over the coming decade. Catalant has bet big on providing consolidated consulting solutions – allowing companies to manage their consulting spend and see lower cost options to hiring a firm like McKinsey.
An interesting component of the driver-less car debate is the moral issues associated with these cars. While I completely agree that in aggregate self-driving cars will save lives, there will still be situations that machines will make choices that determine whether passengers or pedestrians are more likely to be hurt in a dangerous situation. An article in Science entitled “The Social Dilemma of Autonomous Vehicles” from earlier this year outlines this debate and comes to a similar conclusion that your post did in saying “regulating for utilitarian algorithms may paradoxically increase casualties by postponing the adoption of a safer technology.” (http://science.sciencemag.org/content/352/6293/1573)
This is a great rundown of the wide range of ways Emirates is leveraging technology in its operations. One aspect of your post that I found very intriguing was the reliance of Emirates (and other airlines) on governmental infrastructure and systems and how that will change with technology. There are significant challenges with this because governments typically lag behind the private sector in implementing technological change. I’d be curious to see how airlines and passengers are spurring increased adoption of new technology by governments around the world.
I agree with you that adoption of these types of smart devices will pose a challenge to retailers in the coming years. I’m particularly interested to see what the ecosystems of connected devices look like across homes. Will there be an Apple-esque winner that has a closed system or will it be a more open compilation of various brands that occupy most homes? One area that I would’ve liked to see you address is the security issues associated with the IoT. Systems of connected devices in the home increase access points and people often underestimate the ability of hackers to gain access and move laterally through a network. Sites like Shodan (https://www.shodan.io/) make it much easier for potential hackers to see what their next target could be.
Alex, you’ve heard the canary in the coal mine! There is certainly a crisis in this industry and, even though she did vote to bail out the banks during the financial crisis, I am not even sure Hillary Clinton can prop this industry up long-term. I think getting coal energy down to carbon neutral will be next to impossible in the time that it will take other clean tech to become more economically viable than coal.
Another area that I think would be interesting to explore is if the coal industry will be able to overcome its long-term Coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP), also known as black lung disease, liabilities. CWP killed 25,000 people in 2013 (Wikipedia) and I find it hard to believe that the market would, ceteris paribus, prefer an industry that killed tens of thousands of people annually over one that is much safer.
Christin, great job identifying an industry that will certainly need to adapt to stay competitive moving forward! I agree with Liz that electric flying faces very tough odds to ever becoming economically viable, but I think they do have a number of other alternative routes. I think the 787 Dreamliner is a great example of how Boeing is using innovative materials technology to make their aircraft more efficient. The 787 is 20% more fuel efficient than its predecessor, the 767, which has huge implications for global air travel. While this is great progress, I strongly agree that they’ll need to improve fuel technology in order to thrive in the future.
AK, terrific rundown of the issues facing ExxonMobil. I definitely agree that Exxon needs to think about radically changing their strategy in the decades to come, but I worry about the barriers to entry in the nuclear energy market. If they can overcome those, I think your spot on with highlighting their safety record as why they’d be a good candidate to thrive in that arena. In looking at Exxon’s sustainability initiatives, it appears that they’re focused more on driving innovation that may provide alternative revenue streams in the future though they don’t do a great job of educating the market about what exactly those initiatives may be. It will be interesting to see which path they end up taking!
MH, great synopsis of the issues facing ski resorts! One avenue that would be interesting to explore is building new ski areas. Obvious the upfront costs of ski resorts are huge, but I think looking at a more distributed model where one hub servics more (currently undeveloped) terrain. Costs would be a huge concern now but if US ski resorts cease to exist in 40 years then there may be a situation where that type of model could become economically viable. I’d be curious to see how international ski resorts are facing the issue as well.
I completely agree that Starbucks must do more to confront climate change. I too thought about innovation and how Starbucks could encourage farmers to become more efficient in their practices to ensure that everyone can get their Starbucks for decades to come. I think we’d have to examine the amount of land that Starbucks actually owns or if they typically buy harvested coffee from farms. Obviously as such a huge purchaser they’d have tremendous leverage but they may be limited by how they source their product.