Global Futurist Rohit Talwar, CEO of the London-based thinktank Fast Future Research, will deliver SecurityPrinters's opening keynote in Copenhagen on 23/10/2019.
A strategist advising government and business leaders all around the world on how to prepare and shape the world for the future, Rohit is the author and editor of a number of critically acclaimed books, including The Future of Business.
What lies ahead for our security printing industry? We caught up with Rohit ahead of his keynote address 'The many futures of identity and money' to find out.
In some countries, non-cash payments are on the rise and the share of cash is declining. There are several forecasts about the future of cash and when it might be fringed or even disappear. For a futurist, the question of a cashless society presents a number of interesting scenarios. For example, central banks cede monetary policy over to a small number of international credit card companies, limiting the ability of millions of people to travel since they don’t have access to credit cards or mobile phones.
It seems highly unlikely that any government would cede monetary policy in a manner that would disenfranchise part of its citizenry. To suggest this sounds like scaremongering. Whoever was given the right to issue currency would have to demonstrate that it was accesible to all.
As futurists, our role is explore the many forces and factors shaping the future and to consider unforeseen possibilities. Our money and our identity are central to human existence and there are many economic, political, social, legal, technological, and even environmental aspects at play here. We have to work these into possible future scenarios and then work our how we might respond to the opportunities and challenges that emerge.
Our identity and our money are the cornerstones of life in the 21st century and the digital domain is transforming our notions of both. On the one hand, technologies such as blockchain and AI are enabling both identity and money to be moved into the digital realm and turned from passive objects into programmable tokens which can develop lives of their own. On the other, sensors, edge computing, and biometrics are enabling us to transfer digital functionality into the physical domain giving a potentially new lease of life to passports, money, and previously mono-functional physical objects.
Look a little further ahead, and breakthroughs in brainprinting, biology, DNA storage, and biological computation open up whole new realms of possibility for how we might manage identity, store our financial assets, and conduct value exchange.
In the near term, we can imagine a proliferation of digital currencies being issued by nations. We can also imagine tokenisation models where cash, store loyalty points, and even social media ‘likes’ could be treated as interchangeable payment mechanisms within an ecosystem. Amazon could do this tomorrow. In the long term, a single global digital currency might be on the cards.
The same applies to physical ID documents. Some countries have long term initiatives underway to eliminate physical driver’s licences, ID cards and passports. With sophisticated facial recognition technology, some travellers may - now or in the coming years – be able to enter an airport and board a plane without producing any physical ID document. Is it really possible to have an ID system without a physical ID in a democracy?
This has nothing to do with democracy. Wherever you live you need various forms of ID.
The industry can try to prevent it, but the tide is moving to secure digital IDs stored on a blockchain with biometric identification. Governments argue that this has benefits in terms of identity protection, efficiency, elimination of paper, and reducing fraud risks.
Coming out of these questions are several others. What actions should be taken? Push back against these potential changes? Strengthen and promote the advantages of the traditional physical solutions? Seek approaches that blend the physical and virtual? Other alternatives?
If I was leading a business in the sector, I would look at factors shaping the future 5-15 years out and develop some scenarios.
I would use those scenarios to explore my future strategic options - asking myself a range of questions such as:
what seems like the almost probable certain future of money and identity in a digital world?
what opportunities might emerge to enhance and repurpose printed physical assets?
what possibilities could emerge for us in the new $Tn sectors coming through?
how and where should we be investing in people, technologies, and new businesses so that we have a healthy portfolio of options for our next few strategic moves?
Need to prepare for tomorrow's world?
Hear Rohit speak in Copenhagen on Tuesday 23/10/2019 to understand the trends driving change and how security printing will evolve!