Robert Swan sits down with Oracle at the Modern Customer Experience 2017 conference and shares the impact of emerging technology on sustainability and his expeditions as the first person to walk the North and South Poles.
Krystal Rose: I think everyone’s really excited to see not only how technology is evolving and changing the way we’re moving with customer experience, and just experience in general, but how rapid we’re moving towards transformation because of technology. You mentioned earlier that when you did your first expedition you didn’t even have batteries, so there was no technology.
Robert Swan: Nothing.
Krystal Rose: You also mentioned that you were planning your third expedition and that you have much more technology than you’ve ever had.
Robert Swan: Well yes, because you know, I’m 60 years old and in my business, you’re an old man at 35. To be the first in history to do something hurts you, otherwise somebody else would have done it. When you pull a sled 900 miles to the pole, 350 pounds on that sled, 9 hours a day, 7 days a week, 70 days in a row, you lose 69 pounds off your body, you face starvation, it’s not much fun, right?
Krystal Rose: Sounds like a party.
Robert Swan: Yeah, so I’m going back because our world is facing, every day, more change. Places like the Antarctic are melting faster than they were before, NASA have told us, so we’re making this third and last big one – I promise you – expedition, 600 miles to the Pole this November, only surviving on renewable energy, so we’re pushing the kind of jet fuel, the fossil fuels to one side and we’re using the sun, we’re using the wind to survive.
And when you’re out there in the middle of Antarctica, and you’re doing that, then we want to get that message out. This time we’re embracing everything. We’ve got Iridium communication systems. We won’t be able to go live on Facebook like this, but we’ll certainly get messages out saying to people, if we’re out there – my son who’s 23, he’ll be relevant to young people – if we’re out there doing this and the old man’s battling a bit like Rocky coming out of retirement for the 90th time, if I’m willing to do that, then what are you doing at home on energy?
Our message is going to be say, “Right, we’re out here doing this. Here are 5 simple things you can do, today,” for my age group, and Barney will give five simple things that his age group can do, today, click of a button, job done.
Krystal Rose: Small steps that will make a big difference?
Robert Swan: Correct. And that’s the purpose of going out there because if we don’t make changes, we swim. Two weeks ago, I was in Antarctica and I was seeing some of the great ice caps there, you know, they’re breaking off and every year I see more of it, and it’s not a small amount of ice. It’s ice the size of the USA, you know, so we’ve got to take those seriously. Never negative, always positive.
Krystal Rose: Maintain positivity, but with a serious, critical mission.
Robert Swan: Correct.
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This transcript may be edited for readability.