These days, I revel in the applause my son Tarun gets when he goes on stage. However, it was not always like this. When I saw him forget his lines and freeze up on the podium at the Economist Ideas Economy Information Summit eight years ago, my heart literally sank. I wanted to rush up and give him a big hug and say “it’s okay son, it wasn’t a big deal, don’t worry about it”. Tarun had worked day and night to be prepared for his first big talk. He memorized every word of a 12-minute long presentation. And then he forgot his lines.
I will never forget the anguish on his face.
Tarun did manage to muddle his way through the talk. The moderator also came to his rescue—knowing that any 23-year old would have difficulty speaking to an audience of 400 business executives and academics at one of the most prestigious conferences in the world.Continue reading
A key difference between today’s and past transformations is that technological evolution has become much faster than the existing regulatory, legal, and political framework’s ability to assimilate and respond to it. It’s a Moore’s Law world; we just live in it. Continue reading
As a marketing manager, John Sculley developed the so-called Pepsi Challenge, which enabled the company to gain market share from Coca-Cola. In the 1980s, Sculley ran Apple — and had a famous run-in with Steve Jobs. Continue reading
Until January 3, 2019, no human being had ever set eyes on the “dark side” of the moon — the side always facing away from the Earth. It was a mystery. But no longer. China’s National Space Administration successfully landed a lunar lander, Chang’e-4, at South Pole-Aitken, the moon’s largest and deepest basin. Its lunar rover Yutu-2 is sending home dozens of pictures so that we can see the soil, rocks, and craters for ourselves. Seeds it took on the journey also germinated (before freezing to death), making this the first time any biological matter from Earth has been cultivated on the Moon. Continue reading
Two notable Americans faced firestorms of criticism last week: A governor whose medical school yearbook page showed a racist image and a billionaire whose infidelity was exposed by a tabloid. The politician — Virginia governor Ralph Northam — handled the PR crisis in the worst way possible by deflecting and denying, which led to calls for his resignation. The reclusive billionaire, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, turned crisis into opportunity by disclosing embarrassing information and positioning himself as a superhero, telling everyone that he was standing up to a bully on their behalf. Continue reading
In 1995, the internet exploded with the promise of e-commerce and the digitalization of information. The first keynote speakers talking about the internet were overwhelmingly IT scientists and technology futurists, sharing their insights as to WHAT the technology advancements were.
But after a few years, the business experts emerged, showing WHY it was important and HOW to use it for profit.
The same is now happening with Artificial Intelligence, and related technologies such as autonomous systems, robotics, etc. The fascination is currently on the WHAT, but we are already starting to see a shift toward the WHY and the HOW. This means an eventual shift from computer scientists and futurists, to business strategy experts.
This is when the AI wave will become truly revolutionary for business.
The Key Shifts Include:
Business Strategy: Robert Safian has been exploring what leading companies like Netflix, Amazon, Spotify, Nike, Goldman Sachs and others are already doing with AI to disrupt their industries
Future of Jobs: Vivek Wadhwa is at Harvard University running the first ever global research study on how AI will change how we work and the future of professions.
Disruptive Innovation: Michelle Lee shares the patent trends from the USPTO to learn where companies are making multi-billion-dollar bets on the future of AI.
Financial Future: Nancy Giordano has been diving into the success of blockchain and crypto-currency technologies throughout the world.
Leadership Tools: Rebecca Costa’s latest book looks at how AI and predictive analytics is providing leaders an accurate look into the future, changing how we make decisions and allocate strategic resources.
Medicine and Health: Tarun Wadhwa has drilled down into the fascinating uses of AI that are changing every aspect of the medical and self-healthcare industries.
About the author: Michael Humphrey is a 30-year veteran of the speaking industry and is currently the CEO of Nextup Speaker Management.
One of the signature trends of technology in the Internet age has been the reversal of technology adoption flows. In the past, the copy machine, the fax, the mobile phone (before smartphones), and the personal computer all started as work tools and then moved into the consumer realm. With the Internet, and with smartphones, that trend reversed. Unexpectedly, consumer tools such as chat, e-mail, and social networks were brought into the workplace — not by IT managers, but by employees looking to increase their productivity. This path had been greased by the demands of workers that they be able to use their own smartphones (and, to a lesser degree, laptops and tablets) to conduct work business such as making phone calls and sending e-mails. Continue reading
When Western companies moved manufacturing to China, it was all about minimizing costs. China was a developing country with labor costs among the lowest in the world. It also offered massive subsidies and readily turned a blind eye to labor abuse and environmental degradation. Continue reading
Many of us are addicted to social media. Whether it be Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or Twitter, the technologies’ creators have found ways to keep us coming back for more. Google design ethicist Tristan Harris has called the smartphone a “slot machine in our pocket”: one carrying a litany of addictive applications and fostering harmful behaviors.
Now, that same slot machine is becoming entrenched at work. And it is making our lives more disconnected, more disjointed, less productive, and less satisfying. Continue reading
Product design doesn’t have to make dependency the priority
It’s the summer of 2018, the summer of Fortnite, and we all know we are addicted. Addicted to email, Snapchat, Instagram, Fortnite, Facebook. We swap outdoor time on the trail for indoor time around the console. Our kids log into Snapchat every day on vacation to keep their streaks alive and then get lost in the stream. Continue reading
Your refrigerator will talk to your toothbrush, your gym shoes, your car, and your bathroom scale. They will all have a direct line to your smartphone and tell your digital doctor whether you have been eating right, exercising, brushing your teeth, or driving too fast. I have no idea what they will think of us or gossip about; but I know that many more of our electronic devices will soon be sharing information about us— with each other and with the companies that make or support them.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a fancy name for the increasing array of sensors embedded in our commonly used appliances and electronic devices, our vehicles, our homes, our offices, and our public places. Those sensors will be connected to each other via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or mobile-phone technology. Continue reading
Not long ago, schoolchildren chose what they wanted to be when they grew up, and later selected the best college they could gain admission to, spent years gaining proficiency in their fields, and joined a company that had a need for their skills. Careers lasted lifetimes.
Now, by my estimates, the half-life of a career is about 10 years. I expect that it will decrease, within a decade, to five years. Advancing technologies will cause so much disruptionto almost every industry that entire professions will disappear. Continue reading
In the 1930s, psychologist B.F. Skinner put rats in boxes and taught them to push levers to receive a food pellet. They pushed the levers only when hungry, though. To get the rats to press the lever repeatedly, even when they did not need food, he gave them a pellet only some of the time, a concept now known as intermittent variable rewards. Casinos have used this same technique for decades to keep us pouring money into slot machines. And now the technology industry is using it to keep us checking our smartphones for emails, for new followers on Twitter, or for more “likes” on photographs we posted on Facebook.
There is nothing like a near-death experience to make you acutely aware of how much we rely on medicine and the healthcare system. I suffered a massive heart attack in March 2012 and nearly died. The doctors saved me. Since that terrifying event, I have tracked developments in technology, medicine, and wellness carefully. All along, I wondered why so much health care aimed at saving us after we fell ill rather than at keeping us healthy and spotting the problems well in advance. People in the healthcare sector call such an approach wellness care, or preventive medicine.
First he was a well-known optimist in Silicon Valley, now Vivek Wadhwa warns against the downsides of technology.“Social media is used as a weapon against ourselves and we are unhappy about it.”
Vivek Wadhwa has made a huge turn in recent years. The legendary entrepreneur, writer and keynote speaker originally made his name as one of the most prominent ‘cheerleaders’ of Silicon Valley. He was closely involved with Singularity University, an almost evangelistic club that has been hammering on the huge promises of the technological revolution in recent years. He taught at Stanford University, the Silicon Valley nursery school, and wrote optimistic books and columns about the future.
Vivek Wadhwa is rejoining his former colleagues at Harvard Law School to run a critically important research project on the impact of technology on jobs and developing policies to mitigate the dangers.
This is with Richard Freeman, the world renowned labor economist, Sharon Block, who helped key labor policies for the Obama administration, and historian/scholar John Trumpbour. The 3-year project at Harvard’s Labor and Worklife program will bring together a who’s who to analyze new data on automation and jobs and to brainstorm on policy.
Congratulations to Vivek Wadhwa for being recognized by the Silicon Valley Forum 2018 VISIONARY AWARD-WINNER. Past honorees include Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Linda Rottenberg, Scott McNealy, Ray Kurzweil, Reed Hastings, Tim O’Reilly, Padmasree Warrior, Anne Wojcicki, Reid Hoffman and many other icons.