I’ve been talking lately about the two main tipping points in human history: from hunter-gatherer to agriculture, and agriculture to our industrial society. That second tipping point beginning about 1760 ushered in three revolutions. The First Industrial Revolution saw the rise of iron and textile industries and the mechanization of production through the use of water and the steam engine. This second tipping point saw a reduction in physical labor and a shift in where new forms of labor were required. The Second Industrial Revolution started in 1870, riding advances such as electricity, telephone and the internal combustion engine to drive rapid industrialization and globalization. A massive disruption followed, as established sectors were eliminated and new ones emerged.
In a recent article, Kevin Drum makes a compelling argument that You Will Lose Your Job to a Robot—and Sooner Than You Think. The piece is a little long, but this is a must read for everyone. At the heart of his argument lies the exponential progression of artificial intelligence (AI). Using the human brain as a barometer, AI will reach one tenth the power of the human brain by 2035. By 2045, we will have full human level AI.
The transition from our current industrial/information age to an augmented and then ultimately an automated society is underway. The role of humans in that society is an often discussed topic, where our right brain characteristics are likely to play a more dominant role. But are those characteristics the sole domain of humans?
Meet an Artificial Intelligence Virtual Artist called AIVA that was taught to compose classical music – an emotional art which is usually considered to be a uniquely human quality. Musical pieces composed by this AI are used as soundtracks for film directors, advertising agencies, and even game studios. Oh, and it released its first album called Genesis.
I had the pleasure of talking to Taimour Zaman of 8 Billion Acts of Innovation today. They have a TV show focused on Artificial Intelligence, with some incredible stories about current innovation in the field.
The 8 Billion Acts of Innovation venture capital TV show is focused exclusively on artificial intelligence. Recently introduced in Toronto, Canada by investment visionaries Sai Mohammed and Taimour Zaman, AI companies present their business cases and compete for venture capital financing. It’s the only show of its kind in the world, now being viewed by over 3 million people.
$20+ Million of Funding per Show
The show’s panel of investors are senior ‘C-level’ executives whose job is to assess AI companies’ business and financial potential. The funds are put up by Curah Capital, a Toronto-based private venture capital firm involved in real estate and technology.
Mr. Mohammed and Mr. Zaman’s objectives for their show:
1) Worldwide popularity via expanded TV coverage
2) Attract top AI companies from across the world
3) Award ever-larger funding amounts, and
4) Develop financed-firms into celebrated successes
We covered a wide variety of topics in this short video.
The World Economic Forum estimates 65 per cent of children today will end up in careers that don’t even exist yet.
“Individuals and companies that succeed in the future will be those who adopt the philosophy of lifelong learning,” says Nigel Heap, managing director of Hays UK and Ireland. “Businesses that facilitate the resources, tools and time to support learning will not only have employees who are more engaged, but their business will be better placed to face challenges and remain innovative.”
From the Future of Learning
I’ve attempted to link innovation and our well-being via a visual that I’ve shared previously in this forum. It allows us to envision our emerging future and leverage story telling techniques to describe it in ways that become actionable. One of the most critical aspects of this emerging future in my humble opinion is the future of learning and education.
Our education system must prepare individuals for the world that is, not the one that was. It must ensure that those educated embody the qualities and competencies essential to life in a society very different than our industrial past. Among them are: creativity, critical thinking, innovative thinking, curiosity, social intelligence, a collaborative spirit, adaptability, entrepreneurial spirit, connecting dots, and knowing how to ask the right questions. Our need for life-long learning and unlearning drives us to reimagine education and transform through combinatorial innovations that leverage AI, Mobile, Cloud, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Big Data, and more. Some of the facets of next generation education include:
I have found that the metaphor “Connecting the Dots” is a good way to think about the emerging future. With the sheer number of dots emerging, and the pace at which they advance, we are challenged both by the number of dots, and the speed at which they emerge and Intersect. These dots are combining to form virtuous cycles; complex chains of events that reinforce themselves through feedback loops. Visualizing both the connections and the cycles is one approach to finding the signal through the noise.
Timing. It’s one of the most difficult facets to consider when thinking about the future. We know that convergence across societal, political, economic, science and technological forces is creating many future scenarios. We also know that enablement is happening at an exponential pace. Some believe (present company included) that the coming macro-level tipping point is likely to impact humanity on a scale only experienced twice in human history (hunter-gatherer to agriculture and agriculture to industrial). There will be many micro-level tipping points on the journey towards an automated society – and the timing of those tipping points is impossible to predict.