The Singularity: Connecting Dots


I have found that the metaphor “Connecting the Dots” is a good way to think about the emerging future. With the sheer number of dots emerging, and the pace at which they advance, we are challenged both by the number of dots, and the speed at which they emerge and Intersect. These dots are combining to form virtuous cycles; complex chains of events that reinforce themselves through feedback loops. Visualizing both the connections and the cycles is one approach to finding the signal through the noise.

One critical signal is timing. In a recent Post, I explored this signal through an Artificial Intelligence (AI) lens and one small dot; computing power. Gerd Leonhard did a masterful job taking it a step further in this recent Post on The Singularity.  Gerd explored other AI dots, connecting them in a way that convinced him the singularity will happen in his own lifetime. He believes that the velocity obstacles limiting artificial intelligence and other exponential technologies will be eliminated in the next 2 decades (I agree). He has consistently stated that the next 20 years will bring more changes than the past 300 years: and with his focus on ethics, he concludes that life could be amazing (if we govern technology wisely) or it could be utterly inhuman (if we empower technology endlessly, unwisely and unethically).

To reinforce the dots that Gerd connected, I pulled together this visual:The AI Virtuous Cycle

I believe that a key leadership trait going forward is an ability see the dots emerging and their likely intersections.

Mary Meeker: Internet Trends 2017


Mary Meeker recently delivered her now famous Internet Trends Report for 2017. She covered:

  1. Global Internet Trends
  2. Online Advertising and Commerce
  3. Interactive Games
  4. Media and Distribution Disruption
  5. The Cloud and Accelerating Change Across Enterprises
  6. China Internet and the Golden Age of Entertainment and Transportation
  7. India Internet
  8. Healthcare Digital Inflection Point
  9. Global Public / Private Internet Companies

Key messages:

Global smartphone growth is slowing

Voice is beginning to replace typing

Netflix is rising while TV viewership continues to decline

Entrepreneurs are often fans of gaming

China remains a fascinating market, with huge growth in mobile services and payments and services like on-demand bike sharing

Internet growth continues in India, the fastest growing large economy.

In the U.S. in 2016, 60 percent of the most highly valued tech companies were founded by first- or second-generation Americans

Healthcare: Wearables are gaining adoption, and leading technology brands are well-positioned in the digital health market,

The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be


Update July 20, 2017: The broad Reimagining the Future presentation has been updated and available for download via this Link.


For those that have taken the thought leadership course focused on our emerging future, thank you. For those that may have interest, the course will run for the next 10 months. In this post, I will summarize the key messages from the course.

Yogi Berra is credited for once saying that the future ain’t what it used to be. What a perfect way to describe what is coming: a complete change in the way we think about the future. Our journey to the future begins with a look back. A convergence of multiple forces during a special century following the U.S. Civil War established the standard of living in developed economies. Some believe that we will never see a convergence of forces as dramatic and impactful as that which occurred during this period. I pulled this wheel together to capture that convergence across the various areas of our well-being, leveraging the work of economist Robert J. Gordon. I captured his thinking in a recent post titled Revolution and the Innovation Wheel.

Our Current Standard of Living

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The Timing of Future Scenarios


Timing. It’s one of the most difficult facets to consider when thinking about the future. We know that convergence across societal, political, economic, science and technological forces is creating many future scenarios. We also know that enablement is happening at an exponential pace. Some believe (present company included) that the coming macro-level tipping point is likely to impact humanity on a scale only experienced twice in human history (hunter-gatherer to agriculture and agriculture to industrial). There will be many micro-level tipping points on the journey towards an automated society – and the timing of those tipping points is impossible to predict.

Future Scenarios

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Banking on Disruption: TCS and the Clayton Christensen Institute


TCS and the Clayton Christensen Institute have collaborated to produce a series of articles and whitepapers that explore the future of industries through the lens of a set of fundamental theories developed by Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen (Mr. Christensen is a TCS Board member). The theories offer a form of what-if analysis that leaders can leverage to better understand the cause and effect between actions and results. These theories include Disruption Theory, the Theory of Jobs to Be Done, and Modularity Theory. In this case, the author focuses on the disruptive potential of innovation, and this first piece in the series tackles Disruption in the Banking Industry.

The approach represents one aspect of a Future Thinking exercise which seeks to understand the disruptive potential of current innovations in each domain. It is a component of the “See” phase within the future framework described recently via this Post. The scenarios in this case are domain specific (payment, wealth management, and lending), with the ecosystem component of the framework focused on the current financial infrastructure. The response component represents a conclusion based on the application of the above-mentioned theories. Some key findings from the article:

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Future Sports: Connecting the Dots


Last week, I presented on the future of sports at a fund raiser for the Rutgers University Women’s Soccer team. A local Article on the topic captured the high-level themes, but for those interested, here is the full presentation along with two very good reports I tapped into from Delaware North on the future of sports: The Future of Sports 2016 Report and The Future of Sports 2015 Report.

In addition to the reports, I did my own analysis based on the intersections of science, technology, societal factors, and several emerging future scenarios. Every time I connect a series of dots, it becomes increasingly clear that every sector changes considerably in the coming two decades. As depicted in the visual below, I focused on six major categories within the sports sector:

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Privacy and Corporate Responsibility


coffee-break-with-game-changers

I joined another episode of Coffee Break with Game Changers on Wednesday of this week. A very good discussion on privacy and data. Here is a brief abstract.


The buzz: “You already have zero privacy – get over it” (Scott McNealy). We as individuals have welcomed Internet-connected, mobile devices to help us make daily decisions. But when we share data with companies, and they share it with their business partners, are their built-in and bolted-on data security capabilities enough to protect our personal information?

The experts speak:

Brian Kilcourse, RRS Research: “If you spend more on coffee than on IT security, you will be hacked. What’s more, you deserve to be hacked” (Richard Clarke).

Frank Diana, TCS: “You could go crazy thinking of how unprivate our lives really are–the omnipresent security cameras, the tracking data on our very smart phones…” (Susan Orlean).

Larry Stolle, SAP: “I think computer viruses should count as life. I think it says something about human nature that the only form of life we have created so far is purely destructive…” (Stephen Hawking).

Join us for You Don’t Own Me: What About My Data? – Part 2.