Balancing the Opposing Forces of Innovation


The unabated exponential progression of science and technology has driven a staggering pace of innovation. The building blocks are mostly there, allowing creative minds to combine them in ways that attack the world’s most difficult challenges. Additional forces have emerged to position the next two decades as a period that is purpose-focused and transformative. Innovation itself is no longer the sole purview of business, universities, government, and military, as our connected world provides an ideation and innovation engine never seen before. Peter Diamandis in his book on Abundance describes another phenomenon, namely the Techno-Philanthropist. Focused globally, these wealthy individuals are changing the traditional rules of philanthropy, using their wealth to tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges. In the above mentioned book, Mr. Diamandis focuses on an abundant world that drives a future that is better than people think. Let’s view this perspective as the first force driving our future.

If abundance is the first force, than a second force is the emerging concern that unintended consequences are lurking, and humanity itself is at risk. Futurist Gerd Leonhard explores these concerns in his newly released book titled Technology versus Humanity. The path forward represents a delicate balance between the socially constructive benefits of innovation, and the unintended consequences driven by technology that has no ethics, and an innovation engine that has no governance. Mr. Leonhard does a masterful job of describing the forces that could negatively affect our well-being. He views this topic through the lens of human happiness, and explores the role of technology in enhancing or detracting from it. As I contemplated the point of view advanced by each author, I developed a visual that captures these opposing forces and underscores the need for balance and ethics. An interesting note: you could place several of these items of well-being on either side of the visual. For example, increased longevity has a positive impact on our well-being – but it also has unintended consequences.

balancing-the-opposing-forces

With regard to digital ethics, Gerd Leonhard proposes the creation of a Global Digital Ethics Council (GDEC), which in his words, would be tasked with defining the ground rules and universal values of such a dramatically different, fully digitized society. In doing so, Gerd envisions a push towards agreements on the limits and independent monitoring of both the scope and progress of AI, genome editing, and other exponential technologies. These digital ethics would be open enough to not impede progress or hamper innovation, yet strong enough to protect our humanness. The GDEC Gerd envisions would include well-informed and deep-thinking individuals from civil society, academia, government, business, and technology, as well as independent thinkers, writers, artists, and thought leaders.

This dialog must begin, as much is at risk. We must realize the socially constructive benefits of exponential technology, while mitigating the risk of unintended consequences. I hope this visual helps in some small way in positioning the opposing forces and underscoring the need for balance.  I recommend these books as a way to explore these opposing forces of innovation.

 

Innovation Killer Organization Chart


Heidi Schwende recently shared a picture on LinkedIn that perfectly captures the challenges facing large traditional companies. Exponential progression, the pace it is driving, and the capacity of companies native to digital to innovate put the traditional company at a severe disadvantage. I’ve spoken at length about inevitable structural change and the need for leaders to embrace it. Suffice to say, anyone that has spent time in traditional companies can resonate with this visual at some level. The simple organization chart that replaces it will enable us to see the future, rehearse it, and adapt to rapid shifts as they occur. Three simple words to embrace: see, rehearse, adapt.

innovation-killer-organization-chart

Artificial Intelligence Intersects with Social Media


AI Intersects with Social Media

In his fifteenth post in the series, Marshall Kirkpatrick focuses on the intersection between artificial intelligence and social media. By way of reminder, Marshall launched a 30 day series that explores the intersection between AI and the various innovation components on my emerging futures visual.

As he has in each post, Marshall identifies the key subject matter experts that sit at the intersection of AI and the visual component in question. In the case of social media, the key influencers are: Marshall KirkpatrickTamara McCleary, and Amber Armstrong. Here is the foresight and related future scenarios identified at the intersection of Artificial Intelligence and social media (taken straight from Marshall’s post):

Continue reading

Artificial Intelligence Intersects with Smart Cities


AI Intersects with Smart City

In his fourteenth post in the series, Marshall Kirkpatrick focuses on the intersection between artificial intelligence and smart cities. By way of reminder, Marshall launched a 30 day series that explores the intersection between AI and the various innovation components on my emerging futures visual.

As he has in each post, Marshall identifies the key subject matter experts that sit at the intersection of AI and the visual component in question. In the case of smart cities, the key influencers are: Rick RobinsonPatricia Gandit, and Michael Jansen. Here is the foresight and related future scenarios identified at the intersection of Artificial Intelligence and smart cities (taken straight from Marshall’s post):

Continue reading

Artificial Intelligence Intersects with Drones


AI Intersects with Drones

In his thirteenth post in the series, Marshall Kirkpatrick focuses on the intersection between artificial intelligence and drones. By way of reminder, Marshall launched a 30 day series that explores the intersection between AI and the various innovation components on my emerging futures visual.

As he has in each post, Marshall identifies the key subject matter experts that sit at the intersection of AI and the visual component in question. In the case of drones, the key influencers are: Alison SanderJohn L DavidsonMatt McFarland, and Rosalie Bartlett. Here is the foresight and related future scenarios identified at the intersection of Artificial Intelligence and drones (taken straight from Marshall’s post):

Continue reading

Artificial Intelligence Intersects with Robotics


AI Intersects with RoboticsIn his twelfth post in the series, Marshall Kirkpatrick focuses on the intersection between artificial intelligence and robotics. By way of reminder, Marshall launched a 30 day series that explores the intersection between AI and the various innovation components on my emerging futures visual.

As he has in each post, Marshall identifies the key subject matter experts that sit at the intersection of AI and the visual component in question. In the case of robotics, the key influencers are: Miles BrundageWill Knight, Josh Bongard, Sarah Chan, Beth SinglerYoumi SaSabine Hauert, and Camilo F.. Here is the foresight and related future scenarios identified at the intersection of Artificial Intelligence and robotics (taken straight from Marshall’s post):

Continue reading

Artificial Intelligence Intersects with Nanotechnology


AI Intersects with Nanotechnology

In his eleventh post in the series, Marshall Kirkpatrick focuses on the intersection between artificial intelligence and nanotechnology. By way of reminder, Marshall launched a 30 day series that explores the intersection between AI and the various innovation components on my emerging futures visual.

As he has in each post, Marshall identifies the key subject matter experts that sit at the intersection of AI and the visual component in question. In the case of nanotechnology, the key influencers are: Cyrus HodesHamid SarrafGisele Waters, and Ken Mason. Here is the foresight and related future scenarios identified at the intersection of Artificial Intelligence and nanotechnology (taken straight from Marshall’s post):

Continue reading