â€œWho is mission control for humanity?â€�
One of the worldâ€™s top-rated futurists, Gerd Leonhard, addressed the Xerocon London crowd today. Focusing on the 5 to 10 year future and actionable foresight across society, business and technology, his provocative yet inspiring talk questioned the opportunities and challenges that will arise from automation, AI and big data.
With technological advances rapidly increasing, Gerd asks us, â€œHow will we define what is human and what is not? How will we determine the roles humans will play, versus what will be done by technology? Will we really become just useless humans?â€�
Science fiction to science fact
â€œThe future is already here, we have just been too busy to notice it.â€� In a world where genetic engineering and cognitive computing is now possible, much of what we used to see as science fiction is now becoming a reality. Gerd spoke of what the consequences on society and business may be, â€œWhat do we need to do today to make sure the ultimate result will still be human advancement?â€�
â€œTechnology is evolving exponentially, changing our world at a mind-boggling pace. Weâ€™re at the pivot point of every technological change. Data is indeed the new oil, and AI is the new electricity.â€�
â€œWe should not let Silicon Valley be the mission control for humanity. While there are many positives to AI and big data, such as helping eradicate disease and poverty by generating efficiencies, there are also risks associated with them. Technology is not something we should allow to rule our lives – we should be governing it,â€� he warns.
Gerd spoke of the mega-shifts, landscape changes that will affect business, commerce and society in the next 10 years. â€œThe world is going digital at a furious pace. We will see far more change over the next 20 years than we have over the past 300 years.â€�
â€œHyperconnectivity, smart â€�everythingâ€�, robotisation, automation, datafication are just some of the mega-shifts we are already experiencing,â€� Gerd comments.
These shifts can be seen as a threat to job extinction becoming an increasing possibility. But not if we take control. â€œThe end of routines is NOT the end of our jobsâ€�.
â€œI think weâ€™re switching to a world when the left brain will be handled by our digital assistants, and the right brain will become more important for humansâ€�, notes Gerd.
Anything that canâ€™t be digitised or automated will become far more valuable – this includes compassion, intuition and empathy. Core skills of industries will be disrupted and will be replaced with â€˜humanâ€™ skills – critical thinking, creativity, complex problem-solving.
Wake up call
Although humorous and personal, Gerdâ€™s hard-hitting truths resonated with the Xerocon crowd in a way that challenged their daily concerns, and questioned the very core of what is means to be Â human.
We need to be embracing technology, but not becoming it. Utilising these advances to do new things and develop new skills, rather than just letting it take over our jobs. Machines may be better at data, but humans are better at relationships, experiences and engagement. And these values cannot be automated.
â€œWill we blindly outsource and abdicate big chunks of our lives to the global technology companies – or will we take back our autonomy and demand a more sustainable balance between tech and humanity? We need to be discussing the moral framework that will govern this evolution and bridge the gap between big data and digital ethics.â€œ
The future is better than we think so letâ€™s adopt a wider view! As Gerd puts it – develop foresight. Question your assumptions. Donâ€™t obsess over hyper-efficiency. Instead, focus on what we humans do best,
The post Gerd Leonhard, CEO, The Future Agency – Humanity and Technology appeared first on Xero Blog.