In a recent book, Richard Baldwin takes us on a fascinating journey to the past, and then provides a peak into the next great transformation. In The Globotics Upheaval, Mr. Baldwin describes a cycle that has played out multiple times throughout human history. The cycle of transformation, upheaval, backlash and resolution (Let’s call it TUBS) was experienced each time the world entered periods of major disruption. Mr. Baldwin introduces the Globotics Transformation as the third great economic transformation to shape our societies over the past three centuries. As he describes, the first was known as the Great Transformation started in the early 1700s, and it switched societies from agriculture to industrial and from rural to urban. The second started in the early 1970s, shifting the focus from industry to services – the Services Transformation. I take a different view of transformation in the context of Tipping Points – but the cycle is the same.
Add Singapore to the list of Nations establishing a Smart Nation agenda. In a recent Article authored by Eileen Yu, she describes the launch of Singapore’s national artificial intelligence (AI) strategy. The Singapore government aims to drive AI adoption to generate economic value and provide a global platform on which to develop and test AI applications. As future scenarios go, Smart Nations represent a complex intersection of multiple ecosystems – broader than similar complexities associated with the Smart City scenario.
I just added another fascinating book to my Book Library titled The Economist’s Hour authored by Binyamin Appelbaum. Mr. Appelbaum is the lead writer on economics and business for The New York Times Editorial Board. From 2010 to 2019, he was a Washington correspondent for the Times, covering economic policy.
I find every journey to the past instructive, and my hope is we can Learn from History. This book chronicles the role of the Economist, their foray into political waters, and their societal impact. Looking back in time can be surprising, as core beliefs are challenged. What can we learn from this look back? What do we do differently as a result? This is a fascinating journey that I highly recommend. The book abstract from Amazon is included below. The author’s conclusion?
Their fundamental belief? That government should stop trying to manage the economy. Their guiding principle? That markets would deliver steady growth, and ensure that all Americans shared in the benefits. But the Economists’ Hour failed to deliver on its promise of broad prosperity. And the single-minded embrace of markets has come at the expense of economic equality, the health of liberal democracy, and future generations.
Dr. Micah Altman – Director of Research, Center for Research in Equitable and Open Scholarship (CREOS) at MIT – recently made me aware of a Survey that probed several questions about the future of our Digital world. The survey was conducted by Elon University and the Pew Research Internet and Technology Project to imagine social and technological evolution over the next 50 years. The respondents were technologists, scholars, practitioners, strategic thinkers and others.
Our world certainly has a way of moving quickly. Keeping pace with a myriad of advancements and scenarios is a full-time job. I have spent the better part of one year focused on History – as I look for evidence of similar periods in the past. That work has been very instructive. The results of that analysis – along with an ever changing view of the future – have been incorporated into the latest version of my presentation. You can view or download the current version Here.
“When considering potential risks from future technology, one should not be content with merely analyzing what’s likely to happen—instead, one should look at what’s possible, even if unlikely.” – Jaan Tallinn, founding member of Skype, and co-founder of the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk
Very well said. I’m a big believer in that quote – the reason I spend so much time painting pictures of possible futures. Mr. Tallinn expects the backbone of technology in the 2020s to be defined by gradual improvements in biotechnology, nanotechnology, and Artificial Intelligence. What else can we expect in the next decade? A recent Article by George Dvosrsky – a senior staff reporter at Gizmodo – explores the futuristic developments in the next ten years.
Although I believe prediction in this era is a fools errand, we can look at the trajectory of our Science and Technology Curve to make some informed guesses. That’s precisely what the above article attempts to do. Here are the author’s informed guesses.
I found a very refreshing Article today describing Japan’s vision for the fifth iteration of society. Our hunter-gatherer days represent the first iteration, with agriculture coming in as number two and the industrial and information revolutions rounding out the next two. I’ve written about the Tipping Points in human history – and this vision of a future society is aligned with my point of view on the next tipping point. With each tip, we have experienced Unintended Consequences. Big visions such as these would be wise to ensure a balancing of the Opposing forces of Innovation.