This recent Article highlights the progress made in brain science, our focus on solving grand world challenges, and the critical need to continue this advancement. The article describes how a paralyzed man using only his brain signals was able to operate, maneuver, and walk in a whole-body robotic exoskeleton. This press release provides more details. The findings could advance efforts to help paralyzed patients drive computers using brain signals alone; “perhaps starting with driving wheelchairs using brain activity instead of joysticks and progressing to developing an exoskeleton for increased mobility,” says Stephan Chabardes, neurosurgeon from the CHU of Grenoble-Alpes, France.
Our energy platform has not changed since the early days of the second industrial revolution. Energy is one of the three foundational pillars of our society – with communication and transport representing the other two. Collectively, they create a general purpose technology platform that enables our society. Although we talk a lot about a Fourth Industrial Revolution, in reality, there was never a third shift in this foundational platform.
CCS Insight delivered a set of future predictions at its annual future-gazing event in London on Thursday 3 October. A longer than usual time frame was the focus, stretching to 2030. A total of 90 predictions were released. I include some interesting ones below.
By 2021, algorithmic and anti-bias data auditors emerge to tackle “pale, male and stale” artificial intelligence.
A recent Article states that automation will result in the biggest reduction in headcount across the U.S. banking industry in its history, with an estimated 200,000 job cuts over the next decade – this according to Wells Fargo & Co.
Automation is likely to usher in the Next Generation of Productivity – I say that realizing full well that we keep saying that – and yet expected productivity is not realized. But as automation increasingly replaces knowledge workers, we enter a new era of productivity potential. Emerging exponential technologies will converge in a way that automates that which we never believed possible (e.g., knowledge work, driving cars, etc.). As described in my productivity post, as technology like Blockchain, AI, and robotics mature, the realization of completely decentralized and autonomous organizations becomes viable. It is possible for the rules that drive business to be executed without a central authority, leveraging autonomous agents to enable fully automated business entities.
Movement on a continuum between our current centralized, controlled structures and decentralized autonomous structures moves the productivity needle. No one can predict how far we move on that continuum – but it is safe to assume movement will occur – witness the first Unmanned Factory in China or the job cuts described in the banking article above. These are examples of movement in this direction – as chatbots with an A.I. engine answer our questions, unbeknownst to us.
I like to say that we cannot predict the future – we can only rehearse it. Much can happen to alter the path of automation. Many still believe that we cannot automate knowledge work – we can only alter it – 200,000 banking professionals might soon disagree.
For the first time, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has given broad permission to create a fleet of drones to deliver packages with very few limitations on Tuesday – the first time it’s given such broad permission to a delivery company. The delivery program is described in this Article. Watch UPS Flight Forward in action:
Listen to UPS Chairman and CEO describe the Drone Airline that UPS is now going to build out.
Just another example of how the Mobility Ecosystem is evolving rapidly, and the stakeholders within the ecosystem continue to shift. Who will be the dominant players in the ecosystem? One thing is certain: as mobility experiences are altered, traditional companies and their role within the ecosystem will shift – or their roles will be diminished.
I had a call a while back with education entrepreneur Nick Burnett. Nick shares my passion for rethinking a learning paradigm that was built in a different era. In this world of rapid change, where information is abundant and the shelf-life of skills is short, learning is central to our quest for improved well-being.
During the first revolution, it was education that finally shifted the plight of the working class. In the early days of mass production, it was the introduction of high school that allowed workers to meet the skill set demands of new roles on assembly lines and in the office. This time around, the challenge is greater. The speed dimension promises to complicate the re-skilling requirements of an automated future. It will indeed take an education ecosystem to meet the challenge. In his latest article, Nick focuses on this education ecosystem – well worth the quick read.
In a recent Article posted on the Singularity Hub, the author describes the first report of the MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future. This group of MIT academics was set up by MIT President Rafael Reif in early 2018 to investigate how emerging technologies will impact employment and devise strategies to steer developments in a positive direction. The primary finding from this report is that it’s the quality of the jobs we should worry about – not the quantity.