2016 has been a rollercoaster of a year in the world of politics and economics, and a great deal has changed since the issue of our last publication.
In this issue, we decided to stray away from mainstream debates and focus on economic and technological thrusts which are surely set to define the ways we interact in the short to medium term. Virtual Reality, job automation and big data are some of the topics which we think will become ever more relevant in the near future.
Whilst we thank you deeply for your readership and constructive feedback on our publication, we remain hopeful that we are delivering on our promise of providing you with a dish of fresh, unconventional, and thought-provoking insight - food for thought.
2016 is the year when Virtual Reality (VR) is set to become mainstream and, given the rapid advances in technology we are witnessing, we will soon struggle to discern the real from the virtual, as the distinction between the two will become increasingly blurred. VR is showing lots of promise however, and the applications are mind-blowing to say the least. Once consumers and professional practitioners manage to get their hands on (and heads in) VR tech, the benefits will start to become apparent, whether it is something of convenience - such as online shopping or experiencing a holiday in outer space - or something which can save lives such as a VR simulation of a keyhole surgery.
VR is of course only a small part of the puzzle which will define our lifestyle in the near future. The exponential growth in computational power does not seem to be slowing down. What this means is that, by 2023, computers would have reached the brainpower of humans. By 2045, computational power would surpass the combined brainpower of all humans on the planet. And while this augurs well for the future, it also presents some challenges with respect to, for instance, jobs.
Soon we will be in a position to replicate the thought process of an accountant, an auditor, engineer, architect, or lawyer, using sophisticated self-learning algorithms and artificial intelligence. We argue that there is a silver lining, and that technology would create more jobs than it destroys.
The same rationale applies to economic migration – another topic which is touched upon in this issue. There are always going to be winners and losers directly attributable to migration, but evidence is showing that the overall effect is largely positive.
Needless to say, with the continued growth in the Maltese economy, strains on the environment are inevitable, especially given Malta’s limitations with respect to size. We believe that the key here is to develop incentives such that the interests of private operators are aligned with the interests of society. Inone of our articles, we will be discussing such economic incentives, andexplore how negative externalities, that is the effect of private operators on third parties, can be internalized.
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