2015's disruptor class: Isaacson on Elon Musk, mobile payments

November 15, 2015 – 05:27 pm

Wendy's mobile payment app for iPhoneMobile payments and Elon Musk are among several trends and innovators poised for a breakout year in 2015, according to one expert.

In an interview on CNBC, Walter Isaacson, author of the best-selling Steve Jobs biography, predicts people who are "unbanked" in society will soon be able to make Internet purchases more easily. Isaacson, chief executive of the Aspen Institute, said the lack of banking options available to some will prompt electronic payment systems to rise to the challenge.

"It takes four days to move money sometimes if it's just an average person [trying] to use things like checks and credit cards that have transaction costs, " Isaacson said. Those inefficiencies will spur the continued rise of mobile payments and digital currencies, which will eventually disrupt the banking sector.

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An estimated 68 million U.S. citizens—and some 2.5 billion across the world—operate without access to a bank. Analysts say this market is ripe for the increasingly hot mobile payments sector. A recent study by the Federal Reserve found that many unbanked consumers are already using smartphones to process financial transactions.

"I'm looking for different ways that people will be able to just transfer money pretty quickly, " Isaacson said.

"Globally, once you open up the market to the next billion people coming on line who can make cellphone text payments and that sort of thing, I think it changes the economy quite radically, " Isaacson said

Elon Musk the next Steve Jobs?

Source: iTunes

Wendy's mobile payment app for iPhone

In his latest book, "The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution, " Isaacson chronicles the pioneers and visionaries whose discoveries over the past 175 years led to the invention of the computer.

In the search for the next technology leader, Isaacson sees continued innovation from a familiar entrepreneur, the co-founder of Tesla Motors and SpaceX.

"Elon Musk is one of great innovators and disruptors of our time, " said Isaacson, citing two technologies that will be in high demand given consumer preferences. "He's doing batteries, he's doing electric cars."

Read MoreElon Musk is losing out big time on cheap gas prices

Despite current low oil and gas prices, Isaacson thinks alternative sources of energy will continue to drive innovation, and change how drivers fuel up their vehicles. "It's no longer in our DNA to want to drive around in SUVs and Hummers and burn gasoline, " he said.

Included in Isaacson's book is the work of Google co-founder and CEO Larry Page, whom he called "a great innovator." However, those changing the face of technology don't necessarily need to hail from large corporations.

Source: www.cnbc.com

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