I Just finished another great book. This one is titled A World Without Work authored by Economist Daniel Susskind. The author explores a phenomenon that we have discussed many times over the centuries: Technological Unemployment. Drawing on almost a decade of research in the field, Susskind argues that machines no longer need to think like us in order to outperform us, as was once widely believed. The book describes a world where more and more tasks that used to be far beyond the capability of computers – from diagnosing illnesses to drafting legal contracts, from writing news reports to composing music – are coming within their reach. Mr. Susskind tells a compelling story to support his conclusion: the threat of technological unemployment is now real.
Recently, someone shared a very interesting inforgraphic on the future of cars. I get these requests to share content on a regular basis, and I assess them based on their insight and potential value to my readers. This is an example of a very well done Infographic with a great deal of insight. Below is an introduction and the infographic. Enjoy!
This Article provides a very good example of domains that are converging in ways that shape our future. In this example, innovations in science and technology converge with future scenarios involving the emerging Mobility Ecosystem and one that is often described as the emerging Energy Internet. Author Jeff McMahon indicates that there will be more than enough batteries in electric vehicles by 2050 to support a grid that runs on solar and wind—if the two are connected by smart chargers, according to experts at the International Renewable Energy Agency.
As described in an earlier post, these Intersections across multiple domains introduce new scenarios that amplify impact. In this example, the boundaries between mobility and energy blur, creating a synergistic linkage between the two ecosystems. This complex and unpredictable dynamic complicates our Future Thinking exercise – but it may be the most critical focus of any forward-looking effort. The above referenced article provides a good example of how the Convergence of science and technology leads to a convergence with multiple future scenarios. Visualization helps to understand the various dots that are connecting.
In a recent Interview, Peter Diamandis talks about the rapid pace of innovation and how it is about to get a lot quicker. Diamandis has always had a positive outlook on the path of innovation – and although I share his optimism, there is no disputing societies need to map that Path. His ability to explore possible futures is very instructive, as leaders everywhere must understand the potential to advance our human development.
Mr. Diamandis believes we will see more change in the coming decade than we have in the last 100 years. He speaks of the Convergence of building blocks in the science and technology domains which contribute to the quickening pace. I’ve explored this notion of intersections in the past, but with a broadened focus. Convergence is occurring across multiple domains, not just science and technology. That additional convergence across society, economy, geopolitics, environment, philosophy, and business introduces a set of additional accelerants – but they also create obstacles.
In looking at possible futures, here are some of his predictions:
Multiple changes to our compute paradigm are required to realize the disruptive and humanitarian advances promised by rapid innovation; whether it is the continued advancement of Moore’s law through new methods, or a complete replacement of the compute platform (e.g. Quantum Computing). One of those near-term changes is set to hit wireless networking, and 2020 could be the turning point. As described in this Article, A trio of new technologies is set to redefine wireless networking. That, in turn, could change the way enterprises think about building applications, managing data, distributing computing resources and deploying robots and factory floor machinery.
In his book titled Homo Deus, Yuval Harari provides a look into possible futures; he echoed those themes as he addressed the attendees of this years annual meeting of the World Economic Forum. I encourage everyone to read his Address, as it touches on the three existential threats that he believes humanity faces: nuclear war, ecological collapse, and technological disruption. Given the attention paid to the first two, Mr. Harari focused his address on technological disruption.
Every morning, I scan the horizon. Horizon Scanning is a systematic process that serves as an early warning system to inform decision makers about possible futures. It identifies actions, innovations, and events that have the potential to alter our future, both positive and negative. I am struck by the sheer volume of news, areas to consider, and emerging building blocks that are likely to impact society. The Possibilities – both good and bad – seem endless.
Thinking about the Future should be a normal part of every leaders day. With so many building blocks to consider, the need to understand them intensifies, as well as the various ways they are connecting. A Canvas that helps us to visualize can be very helpful. My scanning this morning underscores just how much to consider. In a short period of time, I explored the World Economic Forum’s continued focus on Purpose. Having just written about How Different Jobs will be in the next ten years, I read another Article on the need for a Global Reskilling revolution. As the world explores a profound shift in our energy paradigm, I learned that the windows in our buildings will provide all the Energy Required. The foundational elements of society are shifting. Even money is likely to transform, as Central Banks study the possibilities of Digital Currencies.
So, scan away my friends, the horizon is approaching rapidly.