AI 2022: Creativity, Ubiquity, and Public Policy

How far will artificial intelligence (AI) go? In a post earlier this week, I asked for the reader’s perspective on that question. The poll from that post is included here – please contribute your thoughts. In the nearer term, a recent article provides perspective on AI trends in 2022. Three key areas are addressed: creativity, ubiquity, and public policy. I have shown several examples of AI encroaching upon areas of human creativity. The article provides examples that mark a shift in the creative abilities of AI.

Continue reading

The Driverless Race

As the world pursues new mobility solutions, innovative new business models emerge. It is easy to lose faith in a given innovation. The slower than expected rise of autonomous driving is a case in point. But innovation does not stop at the technology level. The video below is a great example that blends autonomous technology with remote operations and a human driver. This remote piece of the model will play out in many scenarios as a stepping stone towards full autonomy. In this example, a remote operator gets the car to the rider, who drives from there. Once arriving at the destination, the remote operator takes over from there. This is similar to the path of autonomous trucking. These niche scenarios accelerate the path towards full autonomy.

The Economy Is A Critical Area Of Convergence

Much is said about the critical role that science and technology play in shaping the future. This area of convergence continues to have a profound impact on that future. I have described the importance of convergence in various posts in the past, highlighting the impact of other domains like geopolitics, philosophy, and society. Another key domain is the economy. Understanding the global economy is critical to illuminating possible futures. The role of Central Banks has been instrumental in navigating extreme events like COVID-19, as well as the various boom and bust financial cycles of the past.

Continue reading

How Artificial Intelligence Will Transform Everything

In 2015, best-selling author Martin Ford gave us Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future. In the fall of 2021, he followed that up with Rule of the Robots: How Artificial Intelligence (AI) Will Transform Everything. In his recent book, he explores various aspects of artificial intelligence – both positive and negative. He likens AI to electricity, perhaps the greatest general-purpose technology the world has ever known. A general-purpose technology is pervasive, improving over time, and able to spawn new innovations. In the Second Machine Age, the authors describe this phenomenon as a common element of each industrial revolution, including steam (First), electricity, Telephone, and internal combustion engine (second), and Internet (third).

We can go all the way back to fire to witness the impact of these pervasive innovations. In an article from July of 2021, Sundar Pichai, the chief executive of Google’s owner Alphabet, said that he believes artificial intelligence (AI) will eventually have a bigger impact than fire, electricity, and the Internet. This poll from my post on the topic explored the reaction to that belief. Fifty-eight percent of respondents agreed with him. Please take the poll and lend your voice to the conversation.

Continue reading

Space – The Final Frontier

Hypersonic airlines? Is that a byproduct of our focus on space technology? Could I fly from New York to London in 30 minutes? Space is a great example of the broad ecosystems that form around a given domain. It also illuminates the convergence associated with them. For example, space intersects with domains like Internet, communications, GPS, and Intelligence, via satellites, resources, via space mining, energy, via solar panels closer to the sun, as well as wireless energy transmission, travel, via hypersonic flight, tourism, shelter, via space habitats, and military, via space forces. There are other areas of intersection, and each area underscores the growing importance of ecosystems.

Continue reading

Winning The Right Game

My belief in a shifting organizing system dates back several years. The work of leading think tank RethinkX effectively highlights why. History tells us that a collapse is inevitable when the existing system can no longer adapt fast enough to order-of-magnitude improvement in technological capabilities. When this condition is present, a new organizing system is required. RethinkX defines an organizing system as:

Continue reading

Humanoid Robot Defends Personal Space

Many prognosticators expect a robotic tipping point this year. We are witnessing the acceleration of the robotic journey with advancements appearing at a dizzying pace. Unlike the robots of the past, these advancements might freak us out – as it did to the folks at Engineered Arts when they witnessed this reaction by their humanoid robot. See video below.

Signals To Watch for In 2022

Understanding possible futures is all about signals – and there is no shortage of them. A dominant conversation these days is focused on how to sense these signals, derive foresight, and respond. While foresight helps us see possible futures, the next challenge is moving from a high degree of uncertainty to some level of actionable certainty. That step in the process is a combination of science and art. Signals manifest themselves through the current and emerging building blocks that shape our future – and they are coming at us from every corner of society. Since I don’t believe in prediction, I will focus my year-end post on signals to look for in 2022 across four key areas.

Continue reading

Present Future

Time is the dimension of historians and futurists, of chroniclers of what was, and speculators of what may be. Here is a truth: In making any decision, we are by definition deciding what to do . . . next. We must choose amongst known possibilities and paths, simulate outcomes and consequences in our minds. Another truth: At any decision point, 100% of the information we have is based on the past, while 100% of the value and consequences of the decision we make lies in the future, which is inherently probabilistic and unknown

Guy Perelmuter, Present Future: Business, Science, and the Deep Tech Revolution

That quote comes from a recent book titled Present Future authored by Guy Perelmuter, Founder at GRIDS Capital. The book takes a look at history and the future. The foreward echoes one of my strong beliefs: “when it comes to our endlessly unfolding future, the only certainty is uncertainty, and the only way to reduce uncertainty is to have a deep sense of history and reliable clues to the future.” That foreward was written by Josh Wolf, Founder and Managing Director, Lux Capital. He describes the book as follows:

Continue reading

2022 Prediction Consensus

In truth, experts are merely guessing at what will happen over the coming year. In 2020, almost nobody had a pandemic on their bingo card. In 2021, NFTs completely flew under the radar of experts, and nobody saw a container ship get lodged in the Suez Canal in their crystal ball.

Nick Routley – Prediction Consensus: What the Experts See Coming in 2022

We may not be able to predict the future but we can create it. Analyzing the thoughts of experts helps us envision possible futures – and through envisioning we open a path towards creation. In this recent article via Nick Routley, we get a big picture look at what experts predict for the coming year. This visual from the article is attributed to Visual Capitalist.

Continue reading

Sustainable Development

There are several broad themes that will receive attention in 2022. They include sustainability, health and wellness, social justice, and mobility (including electric and autonomous vehicles). At the heart of each of these themes is sustainable development, with dialog emerging in three broad buckets:

When viewed through a business lens, each bucket drives focus on sustainable development. The big question for the year is: how do you measure it? It’s one thing to say that sustainability, social good, and inclusion are on equal footing with profitability and growth – it’s another to realize it. A recent book via Alec Ross provides some ideas regarding measurement. Measurement aside, there are plenty of signs that focus will be there. In a recent article on ESG, author Stephanie Mehta Fast Company Impact Council provides insight from members of the council.

Continue reading

2022 Prediction Season

It’s that time of year when the airwaves are filled with predictions. I launched my post on signals prior to the holidays, consciously avoiding the term prediction. Regardless of how I feel about predicting in the current environment, there are many thoughtful articles to consider. Here are several prediction articles that I have curated.

Continue reading

The Raging 2020s

The signals are coming from every direction. To understand the future, signals illuminate possible paths. As I have written multiple times, history provides a wealth of signals. Looking at similar historical periods provides insight that feeds foresight. A book I recently completed did an incredible job of using history as a source of signals. In The Changing World Order, Ray Dalio explores all the major historical empires, the world order they presided over, and their eventual collapse. In doing so, he points to several signals that are shining bright red. Decision-makers would be wise to understand these signals.

Continue reading

The Changing World Order

Ray Dalio is the Co-Chief Investment Officer & Chairman of Bridgewater Associates, In making decisions, he has found history to be very instructive. This is a recurring theme that I write about often, as I view history as a key source of signals. I’ve included links that explore these signals below. In exploring possible futures, it is helpful to understand the patterns of history – and they really do rhyme. In the book The Fourth Turning, the authors describe what the cycles of history tells us about our next rendezvous with destiny. What intrigued me as a Futurist is the claim by the books authors that our past can indeed predict our future – it’s a compelling argument when viewed through the lens of these historical cycles.

Continue reading

Strategic Uncertainty

The goal is to create the capacity for resilience, no matter what’s thrown at you

Soren Kaplan – Don’t Create a Plan. Create a Strategy Uncertainty Map

Those that follow my Blog know that I do not believe in prediction. I am however a big believer in rehearsing the future. That quote above from a recent article points to why. It was several years ago when it became clear that the way we think about strategy needed to change. It was then that resilience and adaptability rose to the top of my imperatives list for leaders. If we cannot shift with the rapid shifts on the horizon, it will be difficult to succeed. Soren Kaplan, the author of the article, said it this way: “Forget 10-year visions. Forget 5-year roadmaps. Forget three-year plans. Long term is a year. Short-term is a month.” I couldn’t agree more.

Continue reading

Floating Cities

OCEANIX, an ambitious floating architecture concept envisioned to be built off the South Korean coast by BIG – Bjarke Ingel‘s design group. It was first revealed in 2019 and now has received the green light from UN-Habitat and the Metropolitan City of Busan to begin construction. The futuristic sustainable city can also withstand category 5 hurricanes!

Chi Thukral – The World’s First Floating City Designed by BIG & Backed by U.N. Can Withstand Category 5 Hurricanes!
Continue reading

The Great Resignation

We like labels. In this case, our current labor market dynamic has been called “The Great Resignation”. This article explores the current resignation phenomenon, providing great insight into why it is happening. There are several survey results presented via The Conference Board’s latest workforce survey. The high-level theme from the survey is that although it’s a culmination of a multitude of factors, employees are seizing this moment of leverage. But, as the article states, it’s also about workers’ pursuit of flexibility and autonomy.

Continue reading

Humanoid Robots Making Remarkable Progress

A picture is worth a thousand words. I’ve written recently about our robotic journey and everyday robots – but to that adage about pictures, this video says it all about accelerating progress. This recent article describes how This lifelike robot is terrifying everyone with its realism.

The Great Reduction: A Metaverse Counterpoint

I would define reductionism as the concept of depicting something – or rather mirroring or simulating something – that can pass as a useful and entertaining copy of the real thing.

Gerd Leonhard – The Great Reduction

Yesterday I posted about the Metaverse and shared a video that described how Norway envisioned a future where the Metaverse provided endless possibilities, improving the lives of generations to come. Having seen the post, Futurist Gerd Leonhard shared one of his recent posts with me.

As he and I have discussed in the past, the future is all about balancing the opposing forces of innovation. This has always been true about innovation, reflected in examples like fire positively transforming the world, but also burning down villages – and so it is with the metaverse. The quote and related post above positions the counterpoint to the Norway video. I’ve included a separate video from Gerd’s post below that underscores his message.

Continue reading

Work

Conversations about work take many forms these days. Is remote work here to stay? What will a hybrid work model look like? Will we need to work in the future? In the short term, the pandemic has driven a focus on different models of working. In the long term, the polarized discussion centers on the impact of automation. That discussion is explored in incredible detail in a recent book titled Work: A Deep History, from the Stone Age to the Age of Robots. Anthropologist and author James Suzman sets out to answer several questions. He does so by looking at the history of work and the lessons we can learn.

To answer these questions, James Suzman charts a grand history of “work” from the origins of life on Earth to our ever more automated present, challenging some of our deepest assumptions about who we are. Drawing insights from anthropology, archaeology, evolutionary biology, zoology, physics, and economics, he shows that while we have evolved to find joy meaning and purpose in work, for most of human history our ancestors worked far less and thought very differently about work than we do now.

James Suzman – Work: A Deep History, from the Stone Age to the Age of Robots
Continue reading