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The Landscape for Grantmaking in 2043


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These are the slides from a presentation I gave at the Yorkshire Grantmakers Forum 25th Anniversary, looking at what the next 25 years might hold in terms of technological, social and political change.

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The Landscape for Grantmaking in 2043

  1. 1. 1 The Landscape for Grantmaking in 2043 Rhodri Davies Head of Policy & Programme Director, Giving Thought
  2. 2. Looking back 25 years… 1993 Bank of England base rate: 5.875%
  3. 3. Still to come…
  4. 4. Why should grantmakers care about disruptive technology? G O O D B A D NEUTRAL New ways of achieving mission1) Change the way organisations operate2) Create new problems to address3)
  5. 5. Example Disruptive Technologies 5 Artificial Intelligence (AI) Blockchain Cryptocurrency Big/Open Data 3D Printing Virtual & Augmented Reality (VAR) Internet of Things (IoT) Autonomous Vehicles & Drones CRISPR/Biotech Wearable tech Robotics Human AugmentationQuantum Computing
  6. 6. Data: Big, Open & Everywhere 6 “The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data” The Economist (2017)  AI requires vast quantities of data  Growing pressure on data ownership in future  Charities and grantmakers will need to embrace Open Data, and get away from “private by default” mindset  Potential benefit: 3rd party innovation
  7. 7. Radical Transparency  Could make it possible to have 100% transparency around finance, impact etc.  Blockchain: a distributed public ledger i.e. way of recording transactions & ownership without trusted 3rd party. GOOD: - More openness could bring greater trust, and thus more giving? BAD: - Could make spending on core costs even harder - What about justifiable donor/beneficiary anonymity? NB: Not necessarily a choice: even if you don’t embrace it, it’ll probably happen to you so you need to prepare and adapt.
  8. 8. Disintermediation (i.e. getting rid of middlemen) Long-term trend in philanthropy: towards more intermediation BUT: Are we now seeing that come full circle? E.g. Blockchain could enable even greater disintermediation Benefit: Charities/Grantmakers could save money on e.g. bank costs, legal fees Risk: Could charitable orgs themselves be disintermediated?
  9. 9. Decentralisation, Networks & Platforms Tech enables decentralisation • Blockchain can be used to create entirely decentralised governance structures (DAOs) • Platforms (Uber, Airbnb etc.) have disrupted and disintermediated many industries Society wants it
  10. 10. New models for social purpose Social change campaign platforms In the future, charities will face competition for doing good from many angles Non- traditional structures for philanthropy Decentralised networks Purpose- driven commercial models
  11. 11. Digital Assets  Already over 1500 cryptocurrencies, e.g:  Can use crypto tokens to represent value of all kinds: financial, non-financial, physical, intangible (e.g. IP or social value). PLUS: unique digital objects for the first time: CryptoKitties E.g…. Sounds stupid, but… SO: Range of assets for philanthropy could be massively increased.
  12. 12. AI & Algorithms AI is big news - number of key factors in recent growth: 1)More powerful algorithms (Deep Learning) 2)Data explosion 3) Greater processing power (GPUs) 4)Investment NB: Narrow/Domain Specific AI, not Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) Opinions vary on when latter might happen, or if it is even possible, but former is here now. Yes No
  13. 13. AI for Good
  14. 14. Chatbots & Conversational AI • Chatbots will power 85% of all customer service interactions by the year 2020 • By 2020, the average person will have more conversations with bots than with their spouse. 30% of web browsing will be done by voice. (Gartner) • Already having an impact on charities…
  15. 15. AI Philanthropy “If you liked Cancer Research UK, you’ll love RNLI!” Facebook/Amazon model: charity recommendations based on past preferences or peer group behaviour A. Philgorithm: Wholly automated process of matching needs and interventions B.
  16. 16. Challenge 1: Algorithmic Bias When machine learning algorithms are taught using data sets that contain statistical biases for e.g. race, gender, they exhibit and strengthen those biases over time
  17. 17. Challenge 2: Filter Bubbles • Technology such as social media allows us to build ‘filter bubbles’ around our experience • Likely to get worse as increasing reliance on AI-based interfaces tailors our experience of the world to fit existing preferences and biases.
  18. 18. The slow death of public discourse?  Filter bubble problem symptomatic of wider social and political division  Rise of ‘fake news’ and targeted propaganda/misinformation has eroded notions of truth and fact  Things might be about to get worse… For charities: • Challenges in terms of using facts and evidence for advocacy • Role to play in combatting erosion of truth (e.g. philanthropic support for journalism).
  19. 19. Closing Space or Open Season? Closing Space for Civil Society: Global trend of governments restricting freedom of civil society, particularly around advocacy and campaigning. Politicisation of charity: In US, concerns over moves to relax rules on political campaigning by 501(c)3s - many worry it will lead to flood of “dark money” and undermine trust in charities We need to be aware of both these dangers in the UK: 1) Government attitude toward charity campaigning already quite negative (Lobbying Act, Advocacy Clause etc. 2) Already concerns about think tanks etc. being used for quasi-political donations.
  20. 20. The Attention Economy “The only factor becoming scarce in a world of abundance is human attention.” -Kevin Kelly  Need to compete in this “attention economy” has led to new problems: How do charities compete for our attention without adopting techniques that cause long-term harm?
  21. 21. The Sharing Economy Rise of platforms + Internet of Things + Blockchain  Major shift from ownership to access  Big implications for - Consumption - Inequality - Charitable giving Turbo-charged Sharing Economy? =
  22. 22. The Real Economy Many experts believe another financial crisis is inevitable: Possible causes*: But there are other long-term challenges too…* According to Deutsche Bank Or…? Brexit Japan China Italy Overpriced assets End of QE Rise of Populism
  23. 23. Automation & The Future of Work  Advances in AI and robotics have led to speculation that many jobs may be under threat from automation.  One solution proposed is Universal Basic Income  If feasible, has big implications for charities: 1) Role in managing transition to post-work world 2) Voluntary action as a new sense of purpose 3) Would charitable giving decline in the context of UBI?
  24. 24. Inequality Inequality already a massive economic problem Key question for development of tech: does it reduce or increase inequality?
  25. 25. An Ageing Population  Average life expectancies continue to rise  Life extension technology could enable those who can afford it to live even longer. Our relationship with mortality could change radically over next 25 years Hence: Impact for charities: • New health & social problems • Delayed wealth transfer? • More volunteers…?
  26. 26. Urbanisation & The Rise of Cities  More people now live in urban than rural areas worldwide (54%)  UK has highest proportion of urban population in the OECD (82%) Global urban population 1960-2016 (World Bank)  Already seeing political power shift in UK through devolution, elected mayors etc.  New opportunities for place-based philanthropy and influencing at a local level. (McKinsey) “In this century, it will be the city—not the state— that becomes the nexus of economic and political power.”
  27. 27. Key Cross-Cutting Themes Recap 27 Disintermediation Networks & Platforms Filtered experience Radical Transparency Digital Assets Algorithms Data, data, data Urbanisation Inequality New models for social good Attention Economy Automation of work Ageing Population
  28. 28. What should I take away from this? 28 Going to see massive technological, social and political changes in coming years Impossible to guess exactly what these are, but can identify trends that are likely to play out Charities and funders need to start engaging with them now, to: 1) Find new opportunities to deliver mission 2) Understand impact on organisation 3) Shape debate on future needs & challenges “We probably need something in our strategy about this…”
  29. 29. Where to find us 29 CAF Giving Thought think tank and Future:Good project CAF Giving Thought Podcast @Rhodri_H_Davies
  30. 30. Rhodri Davies Head of Policy & Programme Director, Giving Thought Charities Aid Foundation