Notes To My Future Self

Notes To My Future Self

How do you distill six days of incredible learning, with some of the top Artificial Intelligence and tech gurus in the world? You take the top five insights and share them widely in the hope that they may inspire others to drive change that positively directs the course of humanity.

1) If We Need To Learn One Skill - It’s ADAPTABILITY 
Exponential growth in technology across multiple industries means an exponential change in our lives. One of the most powerful skills to learn in order to thrive in the future is adaptability. We’ve heard of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) but Adaptability Quotient will be most valued by employers. Finding staff who can constantly adapt and create meaningful impact in a changing environment is critical. If change is the only constant we have a social responsibility to ensure we don’t leave anyone behind. It’s time for education providers, businesses and governments to prioritise adaptability and offer skill-building in this area. We can’t afford to wait.

2) Ethics Matter More Than Ever 
Exponential technological solutions come with exponential unintended consequences. Who decides what is right and wrong for society? Who decides what’s in the best interests of humanity when we are considering using AI to determine patient treatments in hospitals or sentence those convicted in a court of law. Who decides whether China’s citizen score expands globally?
 
We need to educate artificial intelligence and technology developers, not to mention the public at large, on ethics and their application in the new world. We need to establish governing bodies to ensure an ethical approach is applied by companies developing tech. Companies need to step up and agree to an ethical code of conduct in relation to the development and implementation of technological solutions.

3) Crazy Is Only Crazy Until It's Possible. We Need More Crazy! 
In order to change the world, you need to be a little crazy. This past week at NASA I have observed so many examples of innovators who were continuously told their idea for change was crazy, until the day they proved it possible. Think light bulbs, personal computers. vaccines, the aeroplane. Perhaps we should stop dismissing crazy, and create more space for crazy to be explored. Big problems require big thinking, dismissal of ideas is easy but listening to a crazy idea and using the famous improv concept of “yes and” could well be where companies start to find the elusive innovation.

4) We Do Not Judge AI Equally 
Whilst in many instances AI can be far superior to humans in its accuracy around decision making, we hold it a different standard. We seem highly critical of AI bias and small % inaccuracies, yet we appear to be unconscious of our own bias and human error even if they far exceed that of AI making decisions. Is this because we feel like we are no longer in control? 

5) DATA Is The Money Of The Future 
Jeremy Rivken asks, in his compelling keynote The Third Industrial Revolution, that when we compare the four biggest banks we can think of with the likes of Google and Facebook. Who do you think has more power? According to Jeremy, we have a data monarchy that wields world power and it is made up of Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Apple. Data is fast becoming more powerful than money.
 
And what of data ownership? Who is it that should own your data? Currently, technology is highly unregulated and the human rights issues associated with data collection and usage are concerning. Data ownership is a matter that needs attention, and it needs it now.
 
This can all feel a little overwhelming and yet if managed in the best interests of humanity could be liberating for many in a way we have never seen. I return from Silicon Valley determined to humanise the future and drive an education system for children and adults that has adaptability at its core, and human happiness and wellbeing at its foundation.
 
"Being human is not about individual survival or escape. It’s a team sport. Whatever future humans have, it will be together." Douglas Rushkoff
I’d encourage you to make a note to your future self, commit to doing something for yourself or others that will help positively influence the future of humanity. Small steps collectively create giant steps towards change.



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