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PwC Up front | Issue 5 | Harnessing technology

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Up front Summer 2014 5 "Where we're going we don't need roads." Dr. Emmett ("Doc") Brown, Back to the Future 2 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 10 9 Technology at work Silicon Valley software developer Martin Ford holds an MBA from the Anderson Graduate School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles, and is the author of The Lights in the Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology and the Economy of the Future. "I tend to focus on types of jobs that are susceptible, regardless of industry," he says when asked which sectors will get the most dramatic technology makeover in the next three to five years. Ford's top four picks for a shakeup: Fast-food service "There are already some start-up companies working on full automation in this area," Ford says. "Momentum Machines in San Francisco, for example." Retail Self-service checkouts are commonplace. We're already starting to see advanced vending machines and mobile apps that compare product features and track loyalty points. Pharmacy Regulation might hold back pill-dispensing robots, Ford admits, but he thinks hospitals and drugstores are ripe for automation. White collar Lawyers, tax accountants and pretty much "any white-collar job that involves analysis, manipulating information, producing formulaic reports, et cetera." 1. U.S. 2. South Korea 3. Germany 4. Finland 5. Sweden 6. Japan 7. Singapore 8. Austria 9. Denmark 10. France Printing Factory system Steam engine Railway Electricity Iron steamship Internal combustion engine Automobile Aeroplane Mass production Computer Lean production Internet Biotechnology Nanotechnology (process) 16th & 17th centuries 18th century 19th century 20th century 21st century The pace of innovation If history is any guide, the future holds a wealth of world-changing inventions. Richard Lipsey, Kenneth I. Carlaw and Clifford T. Bekhar 17th Annual Global CEO Survey (PwC, 2014) National treasures In 2013, Bloomberg Rankings evaluated factors such as research and development intensity, patent activity and tech density to determine the most innovative countries. Canada leads the world in tertiary efficiency (an aggregate measure of enrolment and graduation rates for post-secondary studies in science, engineering, manufacturing and construction), but our No. 17 overall ranking leaves plenty of room for improvement. Here's the top 10 list.

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