The Future of Information And Influence

Colleague Kevin Benedict recently started researching the future of information and influence. It should be readily apparent that misinformation and its associated erosion of trust is a big societal challenge. Some of us are more susceptible to misinformation than others. In a new Blog Post where he describes his research, Kevin points to a recent study:

Continue reading

Life After Coronavirus

In this brief video, several experts talk about life after the global pandemic. Adil Najam, Dean, Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, and his colleagues set out to answer this question: what will our post-COVID-19 world look like? I tackled that question early in the pandemic by looking at Applying History to our current day. Mr. Najam interviewed leading thinkers on 101 distinct topics and produced a video series which you can find Here.

Continue reading

The Changing World of Retail

The pandemic has had wide spread impact across multiple domains, and Retail is a space with considerable impact. As I mentioned in a Post last week, we have seen ten years of ecommerce growth in three months. Does the rapid surge of ecommerce represent the future, or does our human desire for social interaction serve as a positive catalyst for physical retail? Will physical retail survive in a post-pandemic world? In a recent Video Clip, Fool.com contributor Matt Frankel and Industry Focus host Jason Moser ask Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary how the pandemic will change retail, if at all. Here is a summary of his perspective.


Continue reading

Hardships Are Real…But We Live In Someone Else’s Dream World

“For all the real hardships we face, we are also living in someone else’s dream world… and we now get to build towards our own future dreams.” – Jason Feifer

That is a quote from a recent Article about what the people of 1921 predicted for the year 2021. Those that follow my work as a Futurist know that I am a big believer in Applied History, with a recent focus on the thirty-year period starting in 1915. That work was recently articulated in my post on a Post Pandemic Society. In the referenced article, author Jason Feifer states that the people of 1920 recently survived World War I and the Spanish Flu of 1918, and they were witnessing a technological revolution. That was the era of electricity, commercial aviation, radio, and many other inventions in a period of great invention. Given all that transpired, those alive in that time were wondering what our world would look like in the future; something that we are also experiencing today.

Continue reading

Thirty Experts and Their 2021 Predictions

Source: Unsplash

It is the time of year when predictions become a popular topic of conversation. To that end, Fast Company senior writer Mark Sullivan asked startup CEOs, executives at big companies, investors, and other experts for their predictions for the year ahead. Those predictions can be found Here. Here is a glimpse at what thirty experts believe we can expect.

Continue reading

E-Commerce Demonstrates the Accelerating Power Of COVID-19

At the start of 2019, I Articulated three macro-level forces that I believed would set the stage for a very disruptive decade ahead. They were: Acceleration, Convergence, and a Burst of Possibilities. Here we are during a pandemic, and all three are alive and well. The one that stands out is acceleration. There are many examples of acceleration driven by COVID-19 that demonstrate what we can accomplish when driven by a Catalyst. Innovation windows have collapsed considerably, and we are witnessing accelerated adoption of scenarios that although inevitable, were slowed by societal resistance. For example, the embrace of digital learning has accelerated, and while many employers resisted the move to remote work due to fears of productivity loss, those fears have proven unfounded.

Continue reading

Dancing Robots – How Do You React?

By now, many of you may have seen this video of dancing robots. Yet another remarkable accomplishment delivered to us by Boston Dynamics. The reaction to this video has been varied. Many view it with fascination, while others fear. Those reactions reflect the broader response to possible emerging futures. This recent Article views dancing robots as a really big problem, going as far as calling them unethical. This One sees them as fun and games – until they murder us. Yet Another sees them as eerie, yet marvels at the accomplishment. Finally, this Look at the video calls it unsettling. What about you? What is your immediate reaction when viewing this video? Take the poll below and select your initial reaction.

Artificial Intelligence And The Pursuit Of Global Power

A Sputnik moment: events that cause nations to suddenly realize they must work urgently to bridge or surpass a gap that’s arisen between them and a competitor. A book I recently finished titled “T-Minus AI”, reflects on the moment in history when that phrase was born. On October 4th, 1957, the United States was taken by surprise. The Soviet Union, under the leadership of Nikita Khrushchev, had just launched the first artificial satellite into space. As the book describes, Sputnik, a beachball-sized, silver metal sphere that weighed 184 pounds, was in orbit 495 miles above Earth. Speeding through space at 18,000 miles per hour, Sputnik crossed directly over the US mainland with each new orbit.

Continue reading

Ten Lessons For A Post-Pandemic World

“There are decades when nothing happens and weeks when decades happen.” – Vladimir Lenin

That quote is highlighted in a new book by best-selling author Fareed Zakaria. In “Ten Lessons for a Post- Pandemic World”, Mr. Zakaria helps readers to understand the nature of a world that emerges after the pandemic: the political, social, technological, and economic consequences that may take years to unfold. He does this by focusing on ten lessons:

Continue reading

Transformers Prioritize AI Investment

There are many examples of COVID-19 serving as an Accelerant. History and necessity tell us that automation is one of those examples. According to a Business Insider survey of 53 leaders featured in the Transforming Business series, AI and Cloud are at the top of the list of transformation that companies will invest in during 2021. It’s on the agenda of 47% of those surveyed. The connection to the pandemic can be seen in examples of where automation is applied. This recent Article describes a scenario where social distancing requirements are met through automation. Author Joe Mullich points to the kitchen of a burger joint, where a hard-working fry cook named “Flippy” is paving the way for greater use of artificial intelligence and cloud technology in the restaurant industry. 

Continue reading

A Survey Of Runners And A Look Into The Future

As I mentioned in a Post last week, I had the privilege of participating in the Mass Participation World Conference 2020. The theme of the event was “Changing the Narrative: Solutions to help us move from Surviving to Thriving”. The video below captures some highlights from TCS’ This Run Tech Survey , and a look into the future of sports.

Watch A Robot Perform Surgery On A Banana

As we march relentlessly towards an Automated Society, scenarios emerge to provide signals. How far will we take this automation scenario? My post last week focused on sports and a robot that Shoots Baskets with stunning accuracy. My post for today looks into robotic surgery, which is traditionally defined as any surgery done with a complete robotic surgical system. It was originally developed for the military so that surgeons could remotely do open surgery on wounded soldiers in the field. This Article on the topic describes it this way:

Continue reading

Nanobots To Improve Our Health and Someday Connect Our Minds

Nanotechnology is defined as the manipulation of matter with at least one dimension sized from 1 to 100 nanometers. Wikipedia had this to say about the field:


Nanotechnology may be able to create many new materials and devices with a vast range of applications, such as in nanomedicinenanoelectronicsbiomaterials energy production, and consumer products. On the other hand, nanotechnology raises many of the same issues as any new technology, including concerns about the toxicity and environmental impact of nanomaterials, and their potential effects on global economics, as well as speculation about various doomsday scenarios. These concerns have led to a debate among advocacy groups and governments on whether special regulation of nanotechnology is warranted.


Continue reading

Non-Obvious Mega Trends

I just completed another book titled “Non-Obvious Mega Trends”. Author Rohit Bhargava focuses on seeing what no one else sees, and helping his readers do the same. Per the Amazon abstract, in the past ten years, his signature annual Non-Obvious Trend Report has helped over a million readers discover more than 100 trends changing our culture. The opening section focuses on the art of non-obvious thinking. From there, he explores the five mindsets of non-obvious thinkers, and reviews his Haystack Method for curating non-obvious Ideas.

Continue reading

COVID-19 Accelerates Innovation In Healthcare

We owe so much to the frontline heroes that serve society in critical times. The pandemic has shown us just how important and under-appreciated these individuals are. We owe them a debt of gratitude. Healthcare is one of those areas where we see both heroics and exposure. The lack of digital progress has been exposed across sectors by the virus. That is the bad news. The good news is that extreme events like this can serve as accelerants. This recent Article describes the turning point that COVID-19 likely represents for healthcare. Rethinking healthcare for the digital age should be a top priority (as it should across all industries).

Continue reading

Basketball Shooting Robot Sets World Record

One future scenario that I describe is called an Automated Society. There is always much skepticism when the scenario is discussed. Our mind tells us that humans do things that automation simply cannot replace. I use sports as a good way to explore the possibility of automating anything we set our minds to. Take for example a robot sinking a hole in one.

Continue reading

COVID-19 Impacts University Enrollment

A recent Study found that the number of students enrolling in college immediately after high school plunged nearly 22% this past fall over last year. The future of education is a big discussion topic, as the pandemic is threatening the viability of education organizations and models. Key findings include:

Continue reading

Envisioning The Future Of Sports

Last week, I participated in the Mass Participation World Conference 2020. The theme of the event was “Changing the Narrative: Solutions to help us move from Surviving to Thriving”. We shared the results of a recent survey of runners. The TCS This Run Tech Survey  reveals that technology is powering runners through the pandemic. The survey was geared towards uncovering running technology trends  amid COVID-19  and  helping  shape how TCS can best support runners and races in the future. TCS sponsors marathons around the world, including the NYC Marathon.

As a follow up to my presentation on the Future of Sports, this Article envisions the future of athletics and society. Reimagine the future of sports along with us – I’d be interested in your thoughts.

Colliding Trends Reshape 2030

A recent book explores aspects of a broader Convergence story. The book – 2030: How Today’s Biggest Trends Will Collide and Reshape the Future of Everything – was authored by Mauro F. Guillen. In exploring a number of trends, he shows how the only effective way to understand the global transformations underway is to think laterally. Said another way, we need to think at the systems level. Understanding pieces in isolation blinds us to the combinatorial nature of change. The book abstract says it this way:

Continue reading

Eight Trends Amplified By COVID-19

I just finished another book and added it to my Library. Pandemic, Inc. explores eight trends that are amplified by the current pandemic. Author Patrick Schwerdtfeger believes we will see more change in the next 12 months then we saw in the last 12 years. He views the current crisis through an optimistic lens, seeing a time of incredible change, but also opportunity.

Continue reading