Starting in 2011, I focused on the notion of a digital enterprise – a metaphor for the type of organization that is required to survive the massive paradigm shift that lies ahead. In 2013, the focus expanded to analyze disruptive scenarios and the emerging ecosystems and platforms that would give life to those scenarios. There remains a single constant through this work and the many leadership discussions that ensued: it will take a different type of organization – different than the ones most of us grew up with – to survive the shift. We as humans – and the organizations that we created – think and act linearly. The world and technology however is moving exponentially. How then do people and organizations move from linear thinking to exponential thinking?
Over the last several years, the big four technologies of the third platform (Social, Mobile, Big Data, and Cloud) have received the lion share of attention, and an emerging class of innovation accelerators like The Internet of Things will capture attention in the coming years. But there are also a number of supporting technologies that serve as enabling components of multiple disruptive scenarios. In some recent presentation preparation work, I focused on technologies like Near Field Communications (NFC) and iBeacon. It was fascinating to find broad applicability across many of the disruptive scenarios on the visual I have used to describe the coming paradigm shift.
Part four of Anticipating 2025 summarizes the fourth section of the book, focusing on redesigning society. Once again, we see how innovation, business, Government, and society converge over the next 20 years. There is an interesting historical pattern emerging that helps explain this phenomenon, while providing a mechanism to predict the future with a higher degree of certainty (more on that in a future post). As you read this, look at how innovation that we normally view through a business lens, is playing out at the societal level. Let’s take a look at each of the topics within this section. Continue reading
Part three of Anticipating 2025 will summarize the third section of the book. This section focused on redesigning artificial intelligence, with a look at six important questions and the exploration of human-machine mergers. The six questions explored in this section are:
- Can we create a human-level artificial intelligence?
- If so, when?
- Will human-level artificial intelligence lead to super-intelligence?
- If super-intelligence arrives, will we like it?
- Can we upload our minds to computers?
- Can we de-risk the arrival of super-intelligence?
Like the first two sections, this section forces us to look at disruption through a different lens. Granted, the path forward is highly speculative, and even the most optimistic scenarios are likely years away from having transformative implications. Nonetheless, it does force us to broaden our lens beyond traditional views. For example, I’ve focused on the automation of knowledge work and all its ramifications, while the authors (Calum Chace, Martin Dinov, and Elias Rut) focus on creating super-intelligence by uploading our minds to computers. They explore a human-machine merger that they see as the enabler of super-intelligence benefits realization. This merger in the author’s view is the only way to avoid creating our successor. So yeah, that’s a little more impactful than automating knowledge work.
Part two of Anticipating 2025 will summarize the second section of the book. This section focused on three broad topics:
- Will advancing technology make doctors unemployed?
- The future of medicine and the convergence of nanotechnology and biology
- Rejuvenation Biotechnology program
It is fascinating to view this section through a disruptive and transformative lens. The acceleration of scientific advancement intensifies the degree and speed of change, thus positioning the type of paradigm shift that we have not seen since the steam engine. As this recent Forbes article points out, even The Acceleration is Accelerating.
The first topics author is Maneesh Juneja, Digital Health Futurist, and Founder of the Health 2.0 London Chapter. In the opening discussion, the author focuses on technology advancement and the future role of doctors. He describes a backward healthcare system that focuses on treatment versus prevention, and the difficulties of solving this problem when there is no profit in prevention. In researching systems from the past, the author looked at ancient China, where it is said that doctors only received payment while their patients stayed healthy. The author then explores the technologies projected to change the practice of medicine:
I spent time over the Christmas holiday reading a book titled Anticipating 2025. Forward looking analysis that connects leaders with disruptive scenarios and their implications are invaluable, and books like this provide tremendous support. In my next series of Blog posts, I will summarize the salient points from a number of futurists who authored this work. As described in the books opening, futurists are concerned with highlighting a whole range of possible futures, not necessarily pinpointing exactly when something will happen. From the book:
“Futurists seek to draw people’s attention to forthcoming threats, before these threats become too damaging, and to forthcoming opportunities, before these opportunities slip outside of our collective grasp due to inaction on our part”
The book is divided into five sections:
- Setting the scene
- Re-designing medicine and healthcare
- Re-designing artificial intelligence
- Re-designing society
- Redesigning humanity
Part one of this Blog series will set the scene. In the book’s first section, the authors focus on driving forces, big shifts, and roadblocks. It is believed that if developed and deployed wisely, technology could provide a great future of unprecedented abundance, health, and vitality. But there is much uncertainty and a number of obstacles to overcome. In setting the scene, twenty technology areas where wide-ranging developments are 50% likely between now and 2025 are identified:
Please respond to the poll at the end of the post after reading the context below.
To transform is to make a thorough or dramatic change in form, appearance, or character. Society has transformed several times, but what was the most transformative period in all of history? The folks at MIT set out to answer that question. Through their research and analysis, they determined that the invention of the steam engine ushered in the most transformative period in history. This visual is part of MIT’s initiative on the digital economy and shows the impact of the steam engine on social development:
Over two centuries later, we are likely on the verge of supplanting that transformative period. Unlike the industrial revolutions, when a period of stabilization allowed companies to retrench and exploit the disruptors of the day, this coming period promises no such period. Several key drivers have positioned the next several decades to deliver a staggering – perhaps unprecedented – amount of change. That leads to a question regarding the intensity of the coming transformative period. Please take the poll and add your voice to the discussion.