The Singularity: Connecting Dots


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.

One critical signal is timing. In a recent Post, I explored this signal through an Artificial Intelligence (AI) lens and one small dot; computing power. Gerd Leonhard did a masterful job taking it a step further in this recent Post on The Singularity.  Gerd explored other AI dots, connecting them in a way that convinced him the singularity will happen in his own lifetime. He believes that the velocity obstacles limiting artificial intelligence and other exponential technologies will be eliminated in the next 2 decades (I agree). He has consistently stated that the next 20 years will bring more changes than the past 300 years: and with his focus on ethics, he concludes that life could be amazing (if we govern technology wisely) or it could be utterly inhuman (if we empower technology endlessly, unwisely and unethically).

To reinforce the dots that Gerd connected, I pulled together this visual:The AI Virtuous Cycle

I believe that a key leadership trait going forward is an ability see the dots emerging and their likely intersections.

The Timing of Future Scenarios


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.

Future Scenarios

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Future Sports: Connecting the Dots


Last week, I presented on the future of sports at a fund raiser for the Rutgers University Women’s Soccer team. A local Article on the topic captured the high-level themes, but for those interested, here is the full presentation along with two very good reports I tapped into from Delaware North on the future of sports: The Future of Sports 2016 Report and The Future of Sports 2015 Report.

In addition to the reports, I did my own analysis based on the intersections of science, technology, societal factors, and several emerging future scenarios. Every time I connect a series of dots, it becomes increasingly clear that every sector changes considerably in the coming two decades. As depicted in the visual below, I focused on six major categories within the sports sector:

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How will we Interact in the Future?


In recent post on the transformation of interaction, I talked about the changing ways in which we interact with our machines and each other. These changes combine with the emergence of ecosystems to complicate the experience journey. Well, if you saw my last post on our possible future, that journey could get very complicated. I’ve expanded my original visual to incorporate three additional categories of interaction, and some of what science and technology have in store (potentially) for our interaction paradigms. The original visual can be found in the transformation of interaction post above.

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A Glimpse into a Possible Future


I saw a glimpse into a possible future in a book titled Homo Deus, written by Yuval Noah Harari in 2016. Before his journey forward, the author explores the past. His conclusions challenged my core belief system in a very uncomfortable way. His arguments were logical and thoughtful (whether I agree with them or not), and based on a foundation of life science, algorithms, and biotechnology.  This look forward once again raises the question of Ethics. The author himself makes this point when he says:

“The rise of AI and biotechnology will certainly transform the world, but it does not mandate a single deterministic outcome. All the scenarios outlined in this book should be understood as possibilities rather than prophecies. If you don’t like some of these possibilities you are welcome to think and behave in new ways that will prevent these particular possibilities from materializing.”

I’ve given the main themes of this possible future a label and provide a quick look using excerpts directly from the book. You decide for yourself if this future represents an enhanced or diminished humanity.

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AI and the Conversational Era


 

On January 17, I had the pleasure of participating in another Game Changers show Presented by SAP focused on partnerships: Changing the Game for Digital Transformation. I was joined by Robin Kearon, SVP Channels and Alliances, Kore Inc. The show was once again expertly moderated by Bonnie D. Graham. You can listen on demand at your convenience.

TOPIC / EPISODE TITLE

Connecting People to Technology: AI and the Conversational Era

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Artificial Intelligence Intersects with Social Media


In his fifteenth post in the series, Marshall Kirkpatrick focuses on the intersection between artificial intelligence and social media. By way of reminder, Marshall launched a 30 day series that explores the intersection between AI and the various innovation components on my emerging futures visual.

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