Richard Branson: How to Get Your Own Island

The billionaire founder of Virgin Group shared his vision with Rebecca Jarvis.

Byby REBECCA JARVIS, ERICA SCOTT AND TAYLOR DUNN
November 3, 2016, 12:01 PM

— -- When Sir Richard Branson opened his first discount record store in 1971, it was called Virgin -- because he, and his business partners, were completely virgin to business.

Now, Branson is the billionaire founder of Virgin Group, a business empire that controls more than 400 companies and is worth an estimated $5 billion. He’s disrupted every industry from recording labels to airlines, mobile phone carriers to wineries, hotels to space exploration. And to top it off, for his “services to entrepreneurship,” he was knighted in 2000 at Buckingham Palace.

So it might be safe to say he knows a thing or two about being one step ahead of the pack.

In a recent interview on "Real Biz with Rebecca Jarvis," the billionaire shared his vision of the future -- specifically what technology and workplace environment changes he believes we may see within the next decade.

Here are three predictions Sir Richard Branson sees for the future:

1. Autopilot

Part of Virgin’s empire includes the airline Virgin Atlantic, so it’s no wonder that the business mogul has thought about the future of airplanes.

“There’s a possibility that cockpits of airplanes will not have pilots in 10 years from now,” Branson said. “In the same way that self-drive cars are likely to be the future, I think self-drive airplanes and self-drive lorries [that’s British for 'tractor-trailers'] are likely to be the future as well.”

If the thought of flying thousands of miles above the earth at hundreds of miles an hour without someone at the steering wheel makes you think twice, you’re not alone. Branson noted that despite the technological possibility of that feat, it would take a strong-stomached airline to go through with it.

“It’s definitely doable,” he said. “The question is how many airlines will actually make it happen.”

2. It will all be off the grid

Whether it’s a plane, train or automobile, Branson believes they will all share a common factor: “I think they’ll be battery-driven,” he said. “[Some] governments just pledged we’ll be carbon neutral by 2050, so to make that happen, governments need to say, ‘Right, by 2030, every car in America will be battery driven, otherwise they’re never going to get there.”

3. Three-day weekends for every worker, every weekend

Now this is a future we’d all probably like to see as soon as possible: Branson believes companies will have to adapt to all the new technology and they won’t require the same human hours to get the job done.

“With all this self-drive and new technology, you’re going to need to make sure that people are well paid for less work,” Branson said. His solution? “Three-day weekends, and make sure that people are paid the same amount of money on four days as they are for five days.”

Sounds great. Which companies are actually going to get on board ... hopefully by Friday?

“Companies won’t suffer -- in fact, they’ll make quite good money out of this new technology, and they should be able to afford to let people have three days off rather than two days off of the week.”

To hear more of Sir Richard Branson’s views on the future, his worst piece of advice and one area where he totally disagrees with Elon Musk, watch his interview with Rebecca Jarvis on "Real Biz with Rebecca Jarvis"and follow @RebeccaJarvis for more live interviews like this one.

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