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?
The brain is clearly one of the next great frontiers. In this World Economic Forum Article on reading minds, we get a glimpse into the exponential progression of brain science. The author cites research published by AI experts in China, the US and Japan showing that computers can replicate what people are thinking by using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machines that measure brain activity – linked to deep neural networks that replicate human brain functions.
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.
Yesterday 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. The show participants included: Bonnie, Masha Krol, Ian Gertler, Maricel Cabahug and myself.
In her opening monologue, Bonnie said:
The first impact of AI will be that more and more non-designers develop their creativity and social intelligence skills to bolster their employability – in the future, everyone will be a designer
With all the talk of AI and its potential negative impact on humanity, we lose sight of the positive. As an engine for augmentation, artificial intelligence is likely to advance our human potential. The effectiveness of what we do stands to improve – whether its creativity and design, or oriented in analytics. Some would prefer to call it “Augmented Intelligence” versus artificial intelligence. If we view the progression of AI on a spectrum, we could indeed reach the place of augmentation and never approach the other end of the spectrum. This lies at the heart of the artificial intelligence debate.
In a recent book titled The Future of Work, author Darrell M. West describes the Work 2.0 scenario on this emerging future visual. In exploring possible implications of a shifting work paradigm, he gets prescriptive about possible responses. This implication-response exercise sits at the heart of Future Thinking.
No one can predict this complex and uncertain future – but exercises like this help us see possible futures. In seeing them, we position ourselves to proactively shape them. In the context of work, Mr. West explores several possible responses, including another future scenario which he calls Republic 2.0. How this scenario plays out has a direct impact on the path of other scenarios. The scenario speaks to a new kind of politics. Mr. West states:
I had the pleasure of keynoting the annual Hawaiian event hosted by the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of California. The 2018 Blue Ribbon Conference was a great four-day event that focused on many pressing issues: from employment law, to politics and robots, a broad array of challenges faces the industry.
You can view my hour long keynote via this Link. You will need to register in order to view it.