"THE GREATEST RISK

IS NOT TAKING ANY RISK."
Mark Zuckerberg

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND ROBOTICS

The scope of the theme is less
evident – up to where can we go?

What are the limits of Artificial Intelligence and do they even exist? Even though many projected innovations sound more like science fiction than reality, most scientifically advanced teams are working to make those come true. The underlying idea of the theme is to serve people, but where is the frontier when “serving” switches to “harming”?

Responsibility issues

Machines will partially replace people in their day-to-day tasks. Thus, who is responsible for the outcomes, if those are negative (injury)? Is it the company, that developed and programmed the AI system? The person or the company who bought it? The society? Anyone else?

Fewer jobs for skilled and unskilled workforce

The influence of the industry on the job market is still widely discussed. From one point of view, it will create an enormous number of new positions, but from the other side, many unskilled jobs (for example truck drivers) and skilled workers (including financial analysts) might be partially (or completely?) replaced by machines and algorithms

Misaligned interests of algorithms
(robots) and the mankind

We cannot ignore the risk that the technologies and their applications might get out of our control. Algorithms might achieve the level of consciousness where robots may be able to set their own objectives, that are not aligned to mankind’s

New hacking technologies and viruses

Every new technology has its own contra technology (computer viruses, data hacks), that also evolve constantly following the new inventions

BIONICS

Market potential smaller than expected

Even though these developments are undoubtedly exciting and very useful, it is very hard to estimate the market potential with accuracy. Thus, there is a risk of overestimation

Lack of reimbursement by insurances

These technologies are relatively expensive (e.g. artificial organs), thus, only a limited number of people have access to bionic technologies. The fastest insurance companies worldwide realize the long-term benefits these devices offer, the more chances the industry players will have to monetize their discoveries

Transplantation for reasons other than health

As with any other development, usage abuses are inevitable. People may seek physical advancement of their capabilities or pursue other goals not connected to health issues

Patients' data protection

IoT devices will generate and process enormous amount of data about people. As a consequence questions about data rights and storage arise

Misuse of synthetic biology
(bio-threat)

Synthetic biology broadens the horizons of the thinkable and unthinkable, it will allow not only modifying what already exists, but also creating biological substances from the scratch. Thus, we cannot always be sure of the purposes and potential applications of the new inventions (e.g. dangerous viruses)

BIOTECHNOLOGY

Pricing controls imposed by the US administration

 

U.S. market, the leading market for biotechnologies in the world, is the only market that does not control prices of medications. As a result, if today’s government changes the rules of the game, the stock market shock is inevitable

Expensive R&D

The cost of R&D is rising exponentially, and it becomes more and more difficult for the companies to recover these expenses. Further increases might have even more dramatic consequences

Biosimilars and generic drugs

Medications that are interchangeable with FDA-approved products, have limited differences in terms of safety and effectiveness. These are cheaper substitutes for biotech drugs

Less stringent FDA procedures

Even though faster and simpler FDA process will speed up the road from the pre-clinical stage to drug approval, the chances that data might be manipulated or misleading are higher

Changing payer dynamics

In the U.S., Medicare decides on the reimbursement of drugs (followed by private insurance companies). In case it is given the right to directly discuss the prices with producing companies, the business model for biotech will change significantly. 

FINTECH

Consumer adoption

Banks and insurance companies have something that Fintech do not have yet - trust. This trust is based on a track record. The lack of confidence could lead to a slower adoption from users 

Operational risk and security

There are implications for consumer protection and fraud. Money laundering and identity fraud are two of the biggest challenges to the industry’s credibility

Supervisors and regulators

The complexity of Fintech business models requires a clear regulation, but not too heavy. Then, regulators and supervisors should avoid a total deregulation but be careful to not handicap the emergence and the development of new businesses

Counterparty risk

B2B and P2P lendings allow small businesses or people to receive money quickly and cheaply from all over the world, often bypassing onerous collateral and credit requirements. This lack of credit requirements could lead to a counterparty/ credit risk

Financial instability

Fintech companies have an impact on all financial services: front office, mobile payments, loans, asset management, capital raising and money transfers. The rapid growth of the industry increases the volume of financial transactions and could lead to financial instability. For example, e-trading platforms and algorithmic trading could rise the price volatility

GLOBAL DEFENSE AND SECURITY

Reallocation of governments' spending into other sectors

Governments worldwide are the largest and most influential “consumers” of defense technologies and products, thus the industry is highly dependent on budgetary decisions

Political weight

Companies that operate in this industry are directly impacted by political decisions, such as the ban on landmines and cluster bombs

Increasing countries’ budget deficits

As budgetary spending is one of the principal sources of funding of these technologies, increasing budget deficits worldwide (e.g. U.S., Russia) raise a question about the stability of these investments

End of the modernization

We are going through the cycle of modernization (maintenance, upgrade, or replacement of existing/old machinery). The end of the cycle will cool down investments and hence discourage innovation

Negative image

Companies that produce defensive equipment and machinery are often viewed as socially irresponsible

HEALTHCARE M&A

The post-merger integration

The deal-making itself is hard but the integration is even more complex: a majority of deals does not deliver the expected return on investment. Capturing the value of a deal require a close analysis of the management, the technologies used, employees, customers and suppliers. The buyer has to understand the company culture

Rising healthcare costs

Healthcare technologies are creating opportunities but the management is challenged to innovate while being under pressure to cut costs. The cost of some technology is partially responsible for the increase in healthcare expenditures

Continuing regulatory uncertainty

Regulatory issues could cause significant delays or a cancellation of the deal. The healthcare regulatory environment is complex and especially for new entrants. Regulatory areas such as insurance coverage, Medicare, pricing or regulatory requirements for medical devices are facing uncertainty 

Antitrust and compliance issues

A deep analysis of antitrust concerns could avoid delays, unexpected costs or even the cancellation of the deal. Healthcare M&A are also subject to licensing and compliance issues leading to important penalties in case of violations. The buyer could manage certain risks through contractual provisions such as earn-outs or escrow

Data privacy and security

The use of healthcare wearable devices may pose data security issues. Medical devices like IRM and hospital network can be vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks. These attacks could threaten the hospital operations and the security of patients data

MOBILE PAYMENTS

Complicated regulation

Mobile payments require a coordinated and secure exchange of payment information among several unrelated entities. Laws and regulations applicable to underlying payment methods (credit and debit cards, mobile phone bills…) govern mobile payments today. Lack of rules governing mobile payment transactions makes consumers more cautious 

Technical limitations of smartphones

There are resource limitations in mobile devices including battery life, memory space or processing power.  Like credit cards or cash, mobile phones still can be stolen or lost

No acceptance by banks
and/or retailers - no collaboration

Additional cost for the banks and retailers could be a major obstacle to adoption. Collaboration among ecosystem players will be critical to new mobile payment solutions

Banking data security

Consumers worry about personal data being hacked or stolen. With tokenization technologies and the emergence of biometrics, mobile payments could become more secure than contactless card payments

No user adoption

Users will need time to change their perception and gain confidence. Increasing marketing, improving ergonomics, security and value-added services (such as rewards, loyalty and couponing) should give a major boost to adoption