In late 2016, having just finished reading The Rise and Fall of American Growth, I was thinking about an underlying theme of the book – the views of techno-optimists versus those of techno-pessimist. In the context of the books narrative, the techno-optimist believes that future innovations will indeed drive a resurgence of growth – albeit at the expense of jobs. The pessimist sees no return to growth and believes our best innovations are behind us. Two years ago, I posed a question via a Post: Are you a techno-optimist or techno-pessimist?
In their now popular book on The Second Machine Age Andrew McAfee and Eric Brynjolfsson describe one of the forces behind our accelerating pace. This force could be key to understanding the dynamics of our environment; the number of potentially valuable building blocks is exploding around the world, and the possibilities are multiplying like never before.
The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those that can’t read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn – Alvin Tofler, Rethinking the Future.
As we all become life long learners, unlearning could be our biggest challenge. Our mental models prevent us from seeing the need for change. We are creatures of the only world we have individually known. Even if you are one hundred years old, the mental models established after humanities second Tipping Point dominate your thinking. They form our intuitions and belief systems.
I just added another very good book to the Book Library: The Future of Work: Robots, AI, and Automation. Author Darrell M. West looks at a world in which our current views of work change. He explores the implications to our social contract and the policy decisions so critical to revising that contract for a new era. Structural change – which Mr. West explores in the book – has long been a tenet of my work. The future of many of our institutions will either change by our proactive acknowledgement that they must change – or they will be undermined.
The conversation so nicely positioned by our author is one that must happen at all levels of leadership. This does not have to be a Utopian versus Dystopian discussion. Rather, like the major disruptive periods of our past, leaders need to lead.
I wrote about a recent analysis conducted by Bain & Company in an earlier post on the Turbulent 2020s and what it means for the 2030 and beyond. An interesting related exchange on Twitter focused on the impact of birth rates on the core issues of demographics, automation, and growth.
Today on Coffee Break with Game Changers, Bonnie D. Graham hosted a show focused on designing the future of humanity. You can listen to the rebroadcast here. The session abstract is included below, as well as a Twitter stream that provides insight into the topic and our discussion. The show participants included: Bonnie, Masha Krol, Ian Gertler, Maricel Cabahug and myself.
As science and technology continue their rapid advance, traditional constructs are challenged; Supply chains are no exception. Here is a brief video that highlights many of the advances that transform how we think about supply chains in the future. As it wraps up, a curated set of videos that touch on several of these advances is provided. Special thanks to Bill Quinn, Rose Castellon-Rodriguez, and Kevin Mulcahy for producing the video.
Be sure to visit the Reimagining the Future YouTube Channel to explore additional topics.