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.
In a new book titled Shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Klaus Schwab explores a future shaped by scientific and technological advances. The book builds on his earlier work where he describes the emerging Fourth Industrial Revolution. In this latest work, the author describes how rapid advancement in science and technology promise to disrupt the digital systems of our day, creating entirely new sources of value. He touches on a key point that I have articulated in my anchor visual; that the digital technologies that organizations are struggling to make sense of today, turn into the core infrastructure that business models will take for granted tomorrow. Said another way; digital is the foundation for the innovation that is emerging.
The journey to the future is gaining more attention for both the opportunity it presents, and the fear of unintended consequences. Dialog and proactive action are critical to shaping this emerging future in human-centric ways – a story line that is nicely articulated in a new book titled Shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution. I am a firm believer that shaping the future requires a different mindset. As stated in the book, we must all adopt a zoom-in and zoom-out strategy: zooming in to acquire an understanding of the characteristics and potential disruptions of specific advances in science and technology; and zoom out to see the patterns and combinations that emerge.
The World Economic Forum’s annual meeting occurred last week in Davos with a theme of responsive and responsible leadership. The session had me thinking back to research conducted by their Global Agenda Council in March 2015 on the Future of Software & Society. The research focused on technological tipping points and the perception of when these tipping points would occur. The responses from a community of over 800 executives and experts from the information and communications technology sector were used to produce a timeline of possible tipping points ranging from 2018 to 2027. This timeline and the visual that follows were taken from this WEF Deep Shift report:
A must read on six mega-trends, their tipping points and societal impacts. I recommend this for anyone with interest in where the world is heading, and/or tasked with future thinking in the context of strategy. I commend the World Economic Forum for their efforts here, as education is likely to spur action. The six mega-trends are:
- People and the internet
- Computing, communications and storage everywhere
- The Internet of Things
- Artificial intelligence (AI) and big data
- The sharing economy and distributed trust
- The digitization of matter
Here is a tipping point timeline from the report:
Many leaders are struggling with the sheer number of future scenarios and some indication of when the tipping point may arrive. This material provides critical input into the scenario and response analysis process. Enjoy the read.