Sometimes it seems that technology is the only thing that will matter in the future: data is the new oil; artificial intelligence (AI) is the new electricity; and the Internet of Things (IoT) is the nervous system. The top-20 digital giants and social media platforms are the most powerful companies in the world. Algorithms, AI and bots are gearing up to run the show in every industry. What, then, will happen to humans when machines become truly intelligent? What about privacy, secrets, mystery, serendipity, emotions, intuition, imagination, consciousness, and free will? These are also the themes explored in my recent book, Technology vs. Humanity [add link], and will remain my focus for 2019.
AI has become one of my key topics that I always relish expanding on. From a non-academic perspective I explain the differences between IA (intelligent assistance), AI and AGI (artificial general intelligence), and what each of them could mean for our future. I depict what is real and what’s not, and where AI is going in the next 10 years. Examples are drawn specifically from the client’s domain, and / or specific to an industry. This talk also covers elements from the Technology vs. Humanity themes, as outlined above, and often addresses the impact of AI on work, education and jobs, as well.
In an era when machines are not only taking our jobs but are starting to run our lives, as well, how will we respond to the unprecedented economic, societal and ethical questions that this human-machine symbiosis will raise? Exponential technological change is impacting our lives at every turn, and intelligent digital agents (IDAs) and botsare about to become as normal as smartphones. What will it mean to be human in the near future? What will happen to work and jobs, to our social contracts and ethics, and to the way we do business? HellVen (Hell+Heaven) challenges and opportunities will abound: this could be heaven based on total abundance that may create a kind of ‘Startrek-Economy’, or it could just as easily be a dystopian hell – depending on how we prepare and lead with foresight, today. What do we need to do to make sure our future is mostly heaven, collectively? What are the political consequences, and what about regulation, treaties and agreements?
Enterprise leadership has until now been largely based on military examples – hence the chief “officers” of various kinds. But because of exponential technological developments, leadership is changing in radical ways, as well. How can you grasp the changing nature of your role above and beyond shareholder value? What human skills will you need to evolve alongside the strategic, financial or technological and engineering ones you may have already mastered? And how can you leave backward-looking, or ‘toxic-assumption’ – decision making behind and start deploying a future mindset? In this new talk, Gerd Leonhard addresses a world of leadership where most of the old models are suddenly obsolete, and delivers inspirational precepts from the parallel worlds of imagination and invention. Watch Gerd’s keynotes on leadership.
Perhaps the most burning issue facing humanity is our ever-deepening relationship with the computers, bots, devices, robots and machines that increasingly surround our lives, everywhere and at all times. Humans and ‘intelligent machines’ are increasingly interconnecting and overlapping; and some Silicon Valley pundits may even argue that a full symbiosis of man and machines is near. The Internet of Things (IoT) is already here, and artificial intelligence has become a global buzzword. But how will we – as linear and utterly inefficient beings – cope with this increasing empowerment of software and machines, and this global tsunami of real-time information? What will happen to our values and ethics in a world of ultra-smart intelligent agents, artificial intelligence and the coming ‘singularity’? Most importantly, how will we define a good man-machine balance, going forward, and how will we keep humans-in-the-loop? Watch this keynote excerpt from a recent talk about Team Human.
The top 20 global technology brands and digital platforms are growing exponentially fast while many incumbent enterprises and former household-brands are forced to ‘pivot’ and dramatically reinvent themselves, or face sudden disintermediation and irrelevance – witness the media industry, or recently, the incumbent car industry giants in Europe. In this session, Gerd looks at how to evolve into a future-ready organization based on understanding and exploiting The Megashifts. The Megashifts include digitisation, automation, datafication, virtualisation and robotisation (for a total of 10), and understanding them is the ticket to future success. The Megashifts are fuelling are multitude of rapid innovations such as The Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, deep learning and robotics, new human-machine interfaces (such as voice-control and intelligent bots). In this riveting talk, Gerd depicts the key trends, reveals the likely minefields and identifies the key opportunities, dishing up a mixture of future-shock and awesomeness to stimulate some serious thinking. Watch this related video.
Successful businesses always maintain a constant conversation about the future: what lessons need to be operationalized today in order to avoid future irrelevance or worse, extinction? It is essential to understand that everything that can be digitized, automated or virtualised, will be. Cognification, automation, disintermediation and robotization are now taking place across all industries, not just in media, content and marketing. Digital transformation – going from an analog or semi-digital world to a digitally-native world – is certain to be the #1 challenge-opportunity in the next 5-7 years. How can people and companies become better at understanding, and move faster to implement the transformations that are required? How will a company or an organization prosper in a world that is quickly becoming inter-connected and interdependent? What skills and mindsets will we need, and what should remain human even if it is inefficient? Watch this excerpt from a recent keynote on digital transformation.
Practical wisdom (Phronesis) is what I aspire to in my work. Practical wisdom is about a specific kind of knowledge, foresight and wisdom that ties directly into action and immediate human benefit. Aristotle puts it this way: “Practical wisdom is not concerned with the universals alone, but must also be acquainted with the particulars: it is bound up with action, and action concerns the particulars” In this spirit, this impactful presentation features my key memes and statements such as ‘gradually, then suddenly is the new normal’ (exponential and combinatorial thinking), ‘technology is not what we seek but how we seek’ (human-centric progress), or ‘societies are driven by their technology but defined by their humanity’ (the importance of digital ethics). In each scene of this talk, I set forth a key realization and provide examples on what that means for business and society.
The automation of everything, the rise of smart machines, the IoT and AI: impact on jobs and employment
Automation is everywhere, already: from electronic bridge-tolls to connected cars with dash-cams and self-parking capabilities, to digital wallets and mobile payment platforms, to networked medical devices and quantified-self applications, to sensor networks for traffic control and robotic nurses for the elderly – and this is only the beginning. The next 5 years will bring rapid advancements in all areas of AI, robotics and the Internet of Things, and almost all of them will bring more automation to every sector of our society (and I am sure this will not always be a good thing, either). In the near future we may need to focus on pursuing human-only jobs, i.e. jobs that only humans can undertake – jobs focusing on creativity, design, pattern recognition, negotiation and other ‘soft skills’, on right-brain capabilities or on emotional context. However, unemployment is very likely to soar, regardless, as ever smarter and cheaper machines increasingly automate simple work processes. So will we see the rise of a minimum guaranteed income (i.e. get paid without working) in some developed countries such as Switzerland? The very concept of work and ‘earning a living’ will need to be re-imagined, and soon.
9 Game-Changers, 11 Megashifts and 6 Future-Principles
In this brand-new talk I share my observations and foresights on three sectors: science & technology, business & society, and mindset & philosophy; customized for every specific client and their industry. Science and technology: We are confronted with 9 game-changers: data, cloud, AI, quantum computing, the Internet of Things, blockchain technologies, 3D printing, augmented and virtual reality and genetic engineering (biotechnology) Business and society: the game-changers above result in 11 Megashifts that impact how we live, across the board: digitization, datafication, personalization, cognification, augmentation, robotisation, automation, disintermediation, platformization, virtualization and simulation (see wwww.megashifts.digital for details) Mindset and philosophy: In response, we need to adopt a future-ready mindset and philosophy based on the understanding that the future is exponential, convergent, combinatorial, circular, holistic and human-centric (the 6 future principles) “You have to think about the future while doing the present so that the present is going in the right direction”
Culture eats technology for breakfast
We have reached peak ‘digital transformation’ – if you haven’t heard about why you and your business need to ‘go digital’ or ‘transform into a digital organisation’ you just may have lived under a rock during the past 5 years:) Now that the ‘transform or die’ – hype is over I believe we are entering an era where it’s no longer just about upgrading your IT or investigating new business models – now it’s about how to make sense, how to stage experiences, and how to provide purpose and create tangible human benefits..
We must therefore TRANSCEND TECHNOLOGY so that we can focus on what actually matters most: human flourishing and (customer) happiness. I believe that we must invest as much in HUMANITY as we invest in technology, and we must urgently RE-HUMANIZE technology so that it serves a deeper purpose, and does not just turn humans into products by maximising their clickability..
When humans are treated like algorithms, the loss of trust is pre-programmed – and losing trust is something no organisation can afford. If you don’t want to end up like the social media platforms (who are facing a jaw-dropping loss of trust, anti-cartel legislation ….), put the HUMAN back into the center of everything you do – and the future will be yours.
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