The Journey Continues


It’s been over a year since launching an Online Course focused on a complex and uncertain future. The course takes a Journey through the Looking Glass – a metaphorical expression that means: on the strange side, in the twilight zone, in a strange parallel world. It comes from the Alice and Wonderland literary work of Lewis Carroll, where he explores the strange and mysterious world Alice finds when she steps through a mirror. I have always found this to be a perfect metaphor for our times.

Every time the looking glass has appeared, the world has experienced a Tipping Point. While I firmly believe a tipping point is coming, the impact is likely a question of severity. Some believe that we have survived similar economic transitions in the past, while others disagree:

Continue reading

Find out where you Stand on Artificial Intelligence


Technology is giving life the potential to flourish like never before, or to self-destruct – The Future of Life Institute.

I stumbled upon this organization while reading Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by author Max Tegmark. Their mission is to catalyze and support research and initiatives for safeguarding life and developing optimistic visions of the future, including positive ways for humanity to steer its own course considering new technologies and challenges. They are a charity and outreach organization working to ensure that tomorrow’s most powerful technologies are beneficial for humanity – and the list of members is a whose who of the science and technology community.

In their view, technology is to thank for all the ways in which today is better than the stone age, and technology is likely to keep improving at an accelerating pace. From their website: with less powerful technologies such as fire, we learned to minimize risks largely by learning from mistakes. With more powerful technologies such as nuclear weapons, synthetic biology and future strong artificial intelligence, planning ahead is a better strategy than learning from mistakes.

They support research and other efforts aimed at proactively avoiding problems with a current focus on artificial intelligence. The book referenced above looks at the advance of AI and how it will impact life, exploring a broad spectrum of views on what will/should happen. Now, the organization is looking to expand the conversation to include as many voices as possible. Here is a look at the results of their Super Intelligence Survey. You can add your own voice by taking the survey here.

 

Higher Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence


In a recent book titled, Robot-Proof: Higher Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence, Northeastern University president Joseph Aoun proposes a way to educate the next generation of college students, supporting society in ways that artificial intelligence cannot. His underlying premise is that the existing model of higher education has yet to adapt to the seismic shifts rattling the foundations of the global economy – I firmly agree. It was Alvin Tofler that said: The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those that can’t read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.

This conversation is broader than a focus on school-aged young adults. What Tofler pronounced applies to all of us. In his book, Mr. Aoun presents a new model of learning that enables us to understand the highly technological world around us, allowing us to transcend it by nurturing the mental and intellectual qualities that are unique to humans – namely, their capacity for creativity and mental flexibility. He calls this model Humanics. These Human Traits represent our future skills profile, including many of the right brain characteristics visualized below. We will want explorers, problem solvers, dot connectors, continuous learners, and those not afraid to challenge the status quo.

Continue reading

Great Books to Consider


Several great books have informed my own personal journey towards our emerging future. The complex and uncertain nature of this future requires a level of system thinking that will challenge our ability to connect the dots that are emerging. Foresight analysis will be an iterative ongoing process, fueled by both human and machine-driven guidance.

Humans are investing considerable time in evaluating the path of many future scenarios. In various forums, I am often asked to recommend books that explore these scenarios. I have now added a Menu Item that lists a number of great books along with an Amazon link.

I hope your journey is as fascinating as mine has been to date.

The Great Reset


We face the task of understanding and governing 21st-century technologies with a 20th-century mindset and 19th-century institutions – Klaus Schwab: Shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

In a video titled “The Great Reset”, economist Tyler Cowen uses a great metaphor of canaries in coal mines to describe the warning signals that seem like local events – but actually represent greater and broader stress. He uses several recent examples to highlight the growing stress in the system and the potential for a great reset in the future. Regardless of your belief system – it is hard to argue with the underlying logic. Whether we view this as the Fourth Age in human history, a third major Tipping Point, or a Great Reset, structural change is inevitable. This short seven minute video drives this point home.

The Fourth Age


Byron Reese recently authored a book titled The Fourth Age. I thoroughly enjoyed this fascinating look at history, and the focus on possible futures. In looking at the future, Mr. Reese explores the reasons that experts disagree on the path of these possible futures. He asks: why do Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, and Bill Gates fear artificial intelligence (AI) and express concern that it may be a threat to humanity’s survival; and yet, why do an equally illustrious group, including Mark Zuckerberg, Andrew Ng, and Pedro Domingos, find this viewpoint so far-fetched as to be hardly even worth a rebuttal? The answer as described by the author lies not in what we know – but what we individually belief. This theme throughout the book is an interesting piece of self-reflection. See how you would answer the questions posed by the author.

Continue reading

The New Growth Playbook


Simon Torrance

Colleague and fellow Futurist Simon Torrance has developed a new online course titled: The New Growth Playbook. It provides new research and course content focused on business model transformation for the digital economy. You can access this new online course for senior executives  Here.

It’s based on new in-depth analysis of the business model performance of over 500 leading companies, and provides an holistic approach for moving the valuation needle, particularly for incumbent organisations.

Special offer for my network: 20% discount if you book using this link. There’s also a free sample video case study here: How Amazon creates new growth flywheels. The course is getting some great feedback already, so pass the details along to others. Some early feedback is highlighted below:

  • “Brilliant analysis.” Senior Partner, Global Management Consultancy
  • “I recommend this course to all leaders.” Digital Director, Global Bank
  • “Simon is at the forefront of digital trends.” Group Chief Strategy Officer, Global Telco
  • “Simon is one of a very small number of senior consultants who truly understands platform-based business models and how traditional enterprises can successfully incorporate them” Senior Director, European Media Company
  • “Simon is a thought leader extraordinaire!” Director of Leadership, Global Training Company
  • “Simon adds a lot of value” CEO, Global Packaging Company

More at: http://www.newgrowthplaybook.com