16 Sep 2016 2:24 PM

..As only David Bowie could say!

In fact the only constant in the business and economic world today is change. I am surprised at how bold some economists are when they predict future markets and economic trends. The speed of change and global influence of so many variables means it is nigh impossible to predict the future. In December, review the New Year’s forecasts made at the beginning of the year, there will no doubt be a yawning gap!

Who did or would have predicted the low interest rates of the past 6 or so years? The UK government has now issued negative interest rate bonds – this means you pay the government to look after your money! The German conglomerate Henkel has recently also issued a negative interest rate bond and the RBS are threatening to charge customers for the privilege of having credit balances. Lloyds and RBS have been kept afloat by funds injected from the government. This scenario does not look likely to change for some while.

No one would ever have predicted these economic conditions, and yet it is interesting to note how quickly changes are adopted into our everyday culture and accepted as part of the norm.

Digital Technology is making the biggest change to our lives since the Industrial Revolution. Most people have smart phones from which they conduct and control their lives. Probably the next big disruptive technology will be artificial intelligence. Just how clever a robot might be or able to apply judgement to assessing algorithmic thought process is questionable - but companies such as Google and Amazon are prepared to pour billions of dollars into research to find out.

There is currently a spat going on in London between Licensed Black Taxi cabs and Uber. The former is being supported by the Mayor of London, but I wonder how relevant this turf war might be when driverless cars hit the streets? It seems a huge leap today to driverless cars but once an everyday habit is adopted into our lives it is very quickly assimilated and accepted.

Back in 1950’s and 1960’s many people thought computers would generate unemployment. They were wrong. The processes that they introduced created employment – ask the workforce of Amazon, Google, Apple etc. However, new disruptive technology may well see this earlier prophesy come to pass. We will see.

Overall I see change as a benevolent factor. Change is enhancing the enjoyment and value we gain from our everyday lives whilst medical advances continue to extend our life expectancy and improve our health in many cases.