[su-re venture] AI and robotics are the biggest threats to Bali tourism

Today, we started a course to teach sustainability to the University of Tokyo. Every year, students from the University of Tokyo come to Bali, and we teach them about sustainability, and now we have turned this into an online project. For the students, not being able to actually come to Bali and meet social entrepreneurs who are involved in environmental issues and problems is a disadvantage, but on the other hand, they can earn official university credits in one week.

Professor Alex, who has done research on Africa with me, has asked me to talk about the concept of sustainability and how to respond to the tremendous changes in Bali. Bali is, indeed, changing tremendously. From his point of view, as he comes here every year, he can see that new hotels and trendy cafes are popping up all the time. Along with these social pressures, there is also the environmental change of climate change. Under RCP4.5, the most plausible scenario in the current mainstream CMIP5, Indonesia's climate will rise by 1 to 1.2 degrees over the next 100 years. And the southern part of Indonesia, including Bali, is projected to see up to 160mm less rainfall per year. I thought at the time that surely there is more social development pressure than this climate change, but I also remembered a book I am reading now, "The Future of Employment" written by Professor Michael Osborne of Oxford University, UK. I thought that the global social pressures of AI and robotics are much greater than the pressures of local development or environmental pressures such as climate change or anything else.

When this paper was published in 2013, it was predicted that 47% of the world's jobs would be lost. As a small company, we are using more and more AI technology to automate our work, and I don't think we need to hire more people. Perhaps 47% is not enough. The Corona pandemic has also shown us that we don't need to hire managers and transport staff. Suppose the pandemic continues and people remain mobile. In that case, more and more people will not be forced to travel but will instead travel in augmented reality, in pseudo-virtual spaces that are better than reality. It's probably much cheaper, and it's even more valuable than reality. I don't think that accommodation and packages that are cheaper but inferior to virtual tourism for half-hearted backpackers will survive.

There is talk that Bali is famous, but the infrastructure is not up to the task of accommodating large numbers of tourists and that we should move on to high-value tourism. The competition is other countries' summer resorts, but the high-value resorts are in Hawaii and other places with better infrastructure. And where do the former backpackers go for tourism?

In this digital world, the competition is actually virtual tourism, using augmented reality and AI. When the virtual world and the real world become indistinguishable, backpackers will travel to the virtual world of augmented reality. Even in that world, what is worth coming all the way to Bali to experience? If we don't think about that, I don't think tourism in Bali will be sustainable. More to the point, if this were the case, the Corona pandemic would be the critical slowdown we talked about yesterday, the calm before the storm.

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