Possibilities


As I reflected on my Thoughts for 2019, three themes stood out. I’ve already written about Convergence and Acceleration, so this post will focus on possibilities. As described recently, I believe the world will experience a Burst of Possibilities enabled by the forces of convergence and acceleration. We should expect these possibilities to multiply in 2019, but realization depends upon multiple factors. One of these factors is a true focus on purpose, posing this question for humanity: how do we harness these possibilities to bring about a better world?

Fourth Revolution Innovation WheelIn arguing the case for purpose-orientation and possibilities, I created this visual that maps future advancements to our areas of well-being (click on visuals to enlarge them). I could create a different one that shows how these same advancements can be used to diminish our well-being. That’s why convergence is the most critical theme among the three. An effective way to think about purpose and possibilities is via the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. These are among the best-known and most frequently cited societal challenges. I believe we are entering a period of astounding innovation – advancements that have the potential to address these goals.

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What to Expect in 2019


With the start of a new year, the traditional focus on predictions has begun. Prognosticators do so at their own peril – as this New Yorker Article clearly articulates. It seems that in 1968,  the Foreign Policy Association (formed in 1918 to promote the League of Nations), celebrated its fiftieth anniversary by publishing a book of predictions about what the world would look like in fifty years. Well, here we are fifty years later, and if history is any guide, futurists have very little credibility. Although predictions these days may be even more difficult given our complex systems are progressing and scaling at an unprecedented rate, a macro-level focus can provide an ability to scan beyond the horizon. So rather than attempt to predict, here are my 2019 thoughts on several macro-level forces.

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AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order – Summary


I just finished a fantastic book on artificial intelligence and the evolutionary path of China and the U.S.. Author Kai-Fu Lee inspires, as he focuses on the astounding capabilities of AI, and the one thing that only humans can provide; love. The journey includes the author’s own brush with mortality, and proposes a path forward: Book of The Week - AI Superpowersthe synthesis on which we must build our shared future is AI’s ability to think, coupled with a human’s ability to love. He believes this synergy harnesses the undeniable power of artificial intelligence to generate prosperity, while also embracing our essential humanity. His hope for our future lies both in this new synergy between artificial intelligence and the human heart, and an AI-fueled age of abundance that fosters love and compassion in our societies.

I recommend reading this book from cover to cover. In the meantime, here is a summary organized by several key themes.

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The Growth of Knowledge


Knowledge is the engine that drives human development – and it has been throughout history. Knowledge expanded in the hunter-gatherer days with the invention of fire. In those days, a human obtained all its food by foraging. Although the source of food did not change, fire allowed humans to cook food and consume more calories. The human brain expanded with this caloric increase, and soon we invented language – the first in a series of innovations that drove the growth of knowledge.

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Mind-reading AI can see what you’re thinking and Draw a Picture


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.

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The Future of AI – Predicting, Preparing, and Thriving in our Changing Future


I had the pleasure of recording a Podcast with AJ Goldstein on a wide ranging set of topics. The central theme was artificial intelligence. We took a journey to the future and explored several possible paths for artificial intelligence. AJ had the following kind words to say as he shared the Podcast in various channels:


Last month I had the opportunity to sit down with one of the world’s leading futurists, Frank Diana, to discuss the future of artificial intelligence.

Today the episode has been released, and it’s one of the most meaningful conversations I’ve had on the podcast.

Rather than provide a subjective one-sided view, with every question that I asked about the future of AI, Frank responded with presenting both sides. He helped me understand “what does the optimist say?”, “what does the pessimist say?”, “what is the utopian view?”, “what’s the dystopian view?”… and in this way it quickly became one of the most balanced conversations I’ve had the chance to be a part of.

With over 30+ years of experience to pull from, Frank provided so many fascinating lenses through which to view our changing future… all the while outlining an insightful playbook of what we can do as individuals, communities, and societies to prepare for the inevitable change that’s going to come.


AJ drove the discussion on the following topics:

  • Addressing the two tipping points that have occurred thus far in humanity and changed what it means to be human– and the coming third tipping point.
  • Addressing some of the common fears that people have about the implications of advanced AI and robotics on the future.
  • How the shift to an automated society might cause initial elimination of jobs, but ultimately will allow more time for pursuit of creative, entrepreneurial endeavors.
  • A discussion on the characteristics needed to succeed in a world of change, and what you personally should do to prepare for it.

Enjoy the show!

Are we all Designers?


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 KrolIan GertlerMaricel 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.

Automation of Everything

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