Over the last three decades, many aspects of our culture have been influenced by the rapid growth of social media, technology and the ground-breaking vision of entrepreneurs. In this climate, we are more likely to pay attention to personalities rather than scientists, with celebrity and wealth being favoured over wisdom and traditional evidence.
Indeed, so strong is the cult of personality that our politicians and business leaders have started to cultivate a following. Certainly the superficial appeals to us more than the esoteric and that doesn’t bode well for our intellectual and technological evolution.
However one thing that hasn’t changed is human nature. We’re still an incredibly compassionate, innovative species and many of our leaders are using their celebrity and money for the good of humanity. Moving away from ego driven motivations, these champions of change are making a big impact.
Here’s a list of our top three game changers and why they are the ones to watch…
If Tony Stark flew off the pages of a comic strip and into real life he’d be Elon Musk. Famed for his keen business insight this visionary billionaire’s near prophetic ability to get in on ground-breaking start-ups makes him accessible and relatable in modern culture.
Musk’s current focus is overseeing a revolution in the automobile industry which will either see Tesla cars becoming a global standard or force the traditional car manufacturers to innovate and invest in green technology. The future of transportation will be an environmentally friendly one and that’s down to Elon Musk and his dedication to his craft.
But his talents don’t stop with the mid-market electric car; he also has ideas for implant technology to transfer information directly between a host’s brain and a computer, a hyperloop travel system, space travel and a fossil fuel ending way to store renewable energy.
He’ll soon unveil a 100-megawatt battery in South Australia—the largest lithium-ion battery in world.
Gates is well-known for what he has given the world in terms of technology. Sir Tim Berners-Lee may have invented the Internet but Bill Gates put an affordable computer in every home and office completely revolutionising the way we work, study and play.
Microsoft made Bill the richest man in the world – a title he has shared with Warren Buffet, the investment savant – and along with his wife Melinda and his friend Buffet he has decided to give away almost all of his wealth.
The ultra-wealthy are often caricatured as miserly, callous individuals who’d sell their grandmother’s false teeth midway through dinner if there was a profit to be made but the Giving Pledge is challenging that.
The Giving Pledge is a commitment by wealthy individuals and families to give away more than half of their wealth to causes including poverty eradication, clean water, sanitation, refugee aid, disaster relief, global health, education, women and girls’ empowerment, medical research, arts and culture, criminal justice reform and environmental sustainability.
If Bill Gates changed the world when he made it affordable for almost every home to have a Windows operated PC then Mark Zuckerberg will certainly change the world with his plans for the Internet.
The Internet is how we communicate, collaborate and educate in the 21st century and Zuckerberg is aghast that many communities across the world are either too remote to access the Internet, do not have the infrastructure or simply cannot afford it. Internet access as a fundamental human right is an obvious next step according to the Facebook founder.
His Free Basics platform gives users the opportunity to access news, health information and, Facebook, of course, for free. It is hoped that this improved connectivity will boost economic activity and gift opportunities to disadvantaged users.
These billionaires are using their money and influence to change the world one issue at a time. And they aren’t just spending money; they are actively involved in the day to day operations of everything they do. These are the leaders who are taking humanity forward.
About the author
Maria Bellissimo-Magrin is the CEO of full-service creative marketing agency Belgrin. Her previous contributions for Dynamic Business include Digital Branding: Six ideas to help your SME nail this increasingly complex task, Why potential customers ignore your ads, Social media channels your SME needs to be on, How User Friendly Is Your Business’s Website? and The importance of distinguishing between good management and good leadership.