2016 is dead, long life to 2017!
We will continue talking about weather, politicians, football, cash struggling … and “me…what about my stuff?” However, these common places can’t hide a great truth: we are facing a real change in the historical cycle.The technology advance, new geopolitical scenarios, power struggle disguised as religion, homeland or other populisms are shaping a transit from what we were to what we are going to be. I would like to highlight certain ingredients in this process that are shaping a new global scenario:
In the era of the big-data, access to digital information and its processing gains capital importance. Our intimal space is getting more and more reduced. There are two ways to protect our privacy. One, the most radical, is to stop accessing the system, i.e. the internet, not to search in Google, not even chatting in WhatsApp; closing Facebook, purchasing an old Nokia, or even not having it at all. But are we prepared to do this? Even if it looks like a lie, there are people doing this, but I think they are not going to be a majority. The other way is to access the system, but in a safe way. Well, we should say as safe as possible, because, since you enter the network, you can’t talk about full security in any case. This is the key and its management is the so-called Cyber-Security. It is not only anti-virus and similar. It is a question of searching for vulnerabilities in the systems of those who have the information and at the same time, in one way or another, are connected to the network. We are not just talking about personal security, but about large sectors that accomplish the above requirements. Let’s see electricity, insurance and telephone companies, banks, government agencies, air traffic control systems, etc. The ones able to exploit network vulnerabilities in these sectors will put in difficult situations not only those companies but also their clients and, in certain scenarios, their own security. Those who are able to close these vulnerabilities, apart from being in great demand, will make a fortune.
Can anyone doubt that this phenomenon will mark the come about of this year? It is all about a new type of war. Spain invented the so-called “guerrilla”. In a formal confrontation in which the other has more resources and you are outnumbered, you attack where and how you can and use geography as an ally. Now it has gone one step further. There are no formal territories, weapons are not manufactured by those who use them, but in many cases are even used against the manufacturers themselves. The conflict is attempted to be taken where more emotional impact can be reached. The attacks in France, Belgium, Germany, Turkey, etc. have much greater media impact and generate much more concern in Western society than the recurrent attacks that happen every day in the Middle East and Africa. And all this, what’s for? Is it really a war of religions? Is it only a struggle for power? Is it a fight between the rich and the poor? What a great challenge will be to rise above the pain, the suffering and the reasonable desire to return the hit, to find the real motivations of this terrorism. Finding them should be the first step to solve this great scourge of the 21st century in a sustainable manner.
As the famous scientific “adagio” says, “energy cannot be created nor destroyed, just transformed”. The 21st century is the century of the energy or, better said, of the search for sustainable and possibly clean energy: it moves the world and those who own it will also own a treasure. Tell that to the Arab oil-producing countries. Energy is not only about producing electricity or having oil. Not even about being able to generate batteries that store more energy in a fast way, nor the hydrogen stacks that can be changed in 5 minutes and generate energy by emitting safe water steam. It is about everything that surrounds this, i.e. all sectors, industries, ways of understanding a society linked to the existence of such energy and its use, meaning the electric cars, with plug-in or with other sources of generated electricity (hydrogen). It is the price of energy and the things it makes possible (if the oil is more expensive, the fracking makes more sense, if clean energy is cheap, more business may arise because their implementation is more economical). They may even be the internet of things that use the energy value as a way of payment. And what would this be like? Aren’t bonds, bricks or even things without intrinsic value (bit-coin) also securitized?
It looks like the Holy Grail of the disruptive world. Anything it touches becomes “disrupted”. The traditional banking trembles. The so-called “Fintech” companies are beginning to appear, not only the bank ones, but also (and this is said by BBVA) Energy companies, Telecommunications, Public Administration, Logistics, Transport, Media, etc. And in addition it has got many names: “Block-Chain”, “Distributed Ledger” etc… But what is it? Does anyone know it really? Very briefly, it is an accounting data base of all transactions that have been made (blocks) all over for a particular asset, one after the other. What makes it unique is that this information is shared by all participants in the system (nodes). As each new transaction (block) is added to the previous, this ensures that nothing happens without someone on the net knows it (nodes) while protecting the integrity of the transactions. If we follow the simile, the auditors are the members (nodes), not the agents (banks), nor the regulators, or the states.
So well, each of you can see the implications.
Exciting times full of changes, risks and opportunities. The other day, I was talking to an almost centenary lady and she did not mention money or power struggles: she was only concerned about her health and family. These are the most important things in life and I hope they will still be for a long time.
Happy 2017! (the sum is ten)