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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Republic 2.0 Added to Emerging Future Visual


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:

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The Future of Work


Book - The Future of Work

I just added another very good book to the Book Library: The Future of Work: Robots, AI, and Automation. Author Darrell M. West looks at a world in which our current views of work change. He explores the implications to our social contract and the policy decisions so critical to revising that contract for a new era. Structural change – which Mr. West explores in the book – has long been a tenet of my work. The future of many of our institutions will either change by our proactive acknowledgement that they must change – or they will be undermined.

The conversation so nicely positioned by our author is one that must happen at all levels of leadership. This does not have to be a Utopian versus Dystopian discussion. Rather, like the major disruptive periods of our past, leaders need to lead.

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Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence


I just added another very good book to the Book Library: Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence –  A New York Times Best Seller. Author Max Tegmark takes a fascinating journey through possible AI futures. His physics oriented perspective provides an interesting point of view, as humanity wrestles with the ultimate path of artificial intelligence.

Mr. Tegmark tackles the discussion around how much machines will encroach on human domains, by illustrating a metaphor from Hans Moravec:

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Game Changers: Designing the Future of Humanity


Today 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, as well as a Twitter stream that provides insight into the topic and our discussion. The show participants included: Bonnie, Masha KrolIan GertlerMaricel Cabahug  and myself.

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Game Changers: Can We Teach Machines to Predict?


Today on Coffee Break with Game Changers, Bonnie D. Graham hosted a show focused on the future of prediction. You can listen to the rebroadcast here. The session abstract is included below, as well as a Twitter stream that provides insight into the topic and our discussion. The show participants included: Bonnie, Gray Scott, and myself

Episode Description

The buzz: “Those who have knowledge, don’t predict. Those who predict, don’t have knowledge.” (Lao Tzu)

Given the uncertainty, pace, and unexpected nature of today’s world, there are too many unknowns for us to effectively predict the future. Reality check: A convergence across science, technology, politics, society, economics, the environment, and growing ethics discussion, has created a complex web that requires the type of system thinking that may exceed our human capacity. Do machines hold the answer? Can they predict the path of an overwhelming number of possible futures?

The experts speak. Frank Diana, TCS: “We have a duty to think hard about what may be, so as to better prepare society for the changes that may come” (Richard Baldwin). Gray Scott, Futurist: “Prediction is not just one of the things your brain does. It is the primary function of the neo-cortex, and the foundation of intelligence” (Jeff Hawkins). Join us for Tech Magic or Hype: Can We Teach Machines to Predict?

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Find out where you Stand on Artificial Intelligence


Technology is giving life the potential to flourish like never before, or to self-destruct – The Future of Life Institute.

I stumbled upon this organization while reading Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by author Max Tegmark. Their mission is to catalyze and support research and initiatives for safeguarding life and developing optimistic visions of the future, including positive ways for humanity to steer its own course considering new technologies and challenges. They are a charity and outreach organization working to ensure that tomorrow’s most powerful technologies are beneficial for humanity – and the list of members is a whose who of the science and technology community.

In their view, technology is to thank for all the ways in which today is better than the stone age, and technology is likely to keep improving at an accelerating pace. From their website: with less powerful technologies such as fire, we learned to minimize risks largely by learning from mistakes. With more powerful technologies such as nuclear weapons, synthetic biology and future strong artificial intelligence, planning ahead is a better strategy than learning from mistakes.

They support research and other efforts aimed at proactively avoiding problems with a current focus on artificial intelligence. The book referenced above looks at the advance of AI and how it will impact life, exploring a broad spectrum of views on what will/should happen. Now, the organization is looking to expand the conversation to include as many voices as possible. Here is a look at the results of their Super Intelligence Survey. You can add your own voice by taking the survey here.

 

Higher Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence


In a recent book titled, Robot-Proof: Higher Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence, Northeastern University president Joseph Aoun proposes a way to educate the next generation of college students, supporting society in ways that artificial intelligence cannot. His underlying premise is that the existing model of higher education has yet to adapt to the seismic shifts rattling the foundations of the global economy – I firmly agree. It was Alvin Tofler that said: The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those that can’t read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.

This conversation is broader than a focus on school-aged young adults. What Tofler pronounced applies to all of us. In his book, Mr. Aoun presents a new model of learning that enables us to understand the highly technological world around us, allowing us to transcend it by nurturing the mental and intellectual qualities that are unique to humans – namely, their capacity for creativity and mental flexibility. He calls this model Humanics. These Human Traits represent our future skills profile, including many of the right brain characteristics visualized below. We will want explorers, problem solvers, dot connectors, continuous learners, and those not afraid to challenge the status quo.

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The Fourth Age


Byron Reese recently authored a book titled The Fourth Age. I thoroughly enjoyed this fascinating look at history, and the focus on possible futures. In looking at the future, Mr. Reese explores the reasons that experts disagree on the path of these possible futures. He asks: why do Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, and Bill Gates fear artificial intelligence (AI) and express concern that it may be a threat to humanity’s survival; and yet, why do an equally illustrious group, including Mark Zuckerberg, Andrew Ng, and Pedro Domingos, find this viewpoint so far-fetched as to be hardly even worth a rebuttal? The answer as described by the author lies not in what we know – but what we individually belief. This theme throughout the book is an interesting piece of self-reflection. See how you would answer the questions posed by the author.

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The Strategic Foundation


In my last post, I explored the evolution of business in the industrial age. This Fourth Iteration of Business establishes resilience on a foundation of automation and intelligence. Resilience may be more important than the productivity gains that are sure to be realized as we progress towards Business 4.0, providing the capacity to recover quickly as the pace of shifts accelerates. This visual represents a strategic foundation for Business 4.0.

The Strategic Foundation

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The Automation of Everything


In a Post from 2014, I explored the path of automation and a possible economic impact between $14 and $30 trillion. Almost four years later, my focus has shifted from economic to societal impact. How far will we take automation? Will automation augment us, freeing us from mundane and redundant tasks, or will it replace us? Is automation limited to those characteristics we typically associate with our left brain – or will it encroach upon our right brain characteristics?

These questions currently have no answer – just speculation. How far the slider in the visual below goes, drives a profound difference in the ultimate implications to society. The obvious area of impact is the future of work – if we do indeed realize decentralized autonomous organizations. Do our right brain characteristics become much more important in this future world, and do they represent a safe haven? I show three very impactful examples in presentations that would have us question whether or not machines can be creative, compassionate, and eventual companions.

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Artificial Intelligence and Jobs


AI Intersects with RoboticsThis very good opinion piece addresses a subject that is gaining more attention and driving more dialog. Will artificial intelligence destroy jobs? Author Kai-Fu Lee has an opinion:

“It will soon be obvious that half of our job tasks can be done better at almost no cost by AI and robots. This will be the fastest transition humankind has experienced, and we’re not ready for it”

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Tipping Points in Human History


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.

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Will a Robot Take your Job?


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.

Exponential Computing Curve

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Is Creativity the Sole Domain of Humans?


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.

8 Billion Acts of Innovation


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.