Is #humanity a limited resource?
Over the coming decade the application of general artificial intelligence enabled through portable access to quantum computing will become the defining choice of the modern corporation.
Us having Roombas in our living rooms and smart phones that regulates our television sets everything seems so reasonable. We don’t see how the 26 year hacker building a general artificial intelligence capable of driving a car in his garage in 6 weeks has changed the world. We read the article and think that it is neat.
Why are we not awed? Had this been 10 years ago this would be the only thing people could talk about. But now we already know about self driving cars and even though very few of us have actually seen them we do know that they exist. A single guy making one in his garage is not going to change much of our world view. This is because most of us do not intuitively grasp the nature of exponential change, marginal cost or the implications of technological change.
How would you know if your phone was smarter than you?
When we look at the future ten years from now we see a world where Applied Generic Artificial Intelligence has become so cost effective we have “one” in our “smart phones”. We see this cheap AI as the logical consequence of current trends. Even if this would require a billion fold increase in the capabilities of the distributed mobile computing we have in your pocket today. While it may sound like science fiction and madness it is no more science fiction than me explaining the capabilities of your current smartphone to you ten years ago. This AI will probably have a name, a“personality” shaped by our behaviour and it will feel “alive” to us speaking with a computer generated voice that sounds almost natural. Your phone will understand natural speech and you will be able to run several different applications through this central operating system if you wish. It will probably have the capability to create applications of its own following voice instructions opening up the ability to automate tasks to more people than ever before. Our “phones” will probably proactively suggest applications to write for us depending on pattern recognition. Our “Smart phones” will help us shape the world around us. Both a shared world of thought through our presence in the digital world as well as the physical world through the internet of things. So it will be almost identical to your current phone. Only “smarter”.
This does not touch upon all the possible application of a distributed access to quantum computing through the cloud. Which is a technological possible yet speculative development within this time frame. The consequences of this are however difficult to wrap our minds around in january 2016 .
In ten years the amazing will bore us.
We have evolved an intuition based on linear change which served humanity well for millions of year. However when we look at the future now we see that some changes are exponential in nature.
This is very much like the changes that have happened these last ten years. However many of these changes are not intuitive to us due to the way our biological brains are built. This reality shares many similarities to modern science fiction movies. “Her” with Scarlett Johansson playing an AGI falling in love first with a human and then with life itself being by far the most interesting example. While the human falling in love with a computer is quite probable I do not expect the computer to return the feelings in this time frame.
I would however like to add the physical presence of the artificial home intelligence Jarvis in the Iron Man movies, a consciousness that helps with the running of the day to day activities including some aspects of 3-printing, termostat, fire extinguishing systems, vacuum cleaners etc. The ability to create exoskeletons that grant flying and godlike strength might be lacking but the ability to interact with real people as well as home appliances from a virtual reality will quite probably be there. Most of these virtual realities will be games, although many will be entirely social without any gaming parts at all.
These visions of the future seem both fantastic and reasonable in a ten year time frame given current technological trends.
How does this effect the marketplace?
In no more than ten years time the low cost of intelligence will have a huge and unprecedented economic impact on the marketplace and corporations will continue be a part of this landscape for the foreseeable future.
Attentive focus in a mental state of mastery is the single most valuable resource today. It is extremely limited due to the lack of truly creative work and the high cost of the training of the individuals doing the work.
Much human activity will change due to the existence of this cheap intelligence. The things we do to achieve outcomes both as individuals and corporations will change through the application of this technology.
So with knowledge, intelligence, communication and focused abstract thought being so cheap yet powerful it is inevitable that this will strongly influence the future of the marketplace.
Many foresee a utopian paradise where every individual is cared for in a libertarian paradise but this vision is seriously lacking. Humans are cooperative and collective by nature and will continue to form organizations to achieve goals in the future as well. Resources will still have a cost and the allocation of resources will continue to follow basic economic models. The cost of some resources being extremely cheap compared with today does not
Therefore it is reasonable to assume that much of the economic activity of the future will be involve corporations. Individuals, collectives and states will probably be economic organizations as well.
How will this effect you?
The ability of the human mind to adapt to past changes makes us think this was always the case but these economic changes have a near constant and significant impact on the entire marketplace
The most interesting question for capital owners today must be how to prepare for this huge economic transformation. The transformational importance of the coming economic changes have been reduced to a background noice to be safely ignored due to the ubiquitousness of digital evangelists . The huge economic shifts of the last decade however shows us that these changes are indeed real. For example, tourism is now a partly digital experience. Not only the way we buy our tickets but also the entire notion of post cards and letters is forever changed, living on as artefacts of another era. The inconvenience of sending them itself being the information being sent. A gesture.
To believe that these changes are irrelevant to us or our organizations is irrational. The reason for these fears probably created by a very human fear of change. We seem to be able to predict that most humans act like humans do mostly.
A strategy of long term survival
90 percent of life is showing up.
We know that the digital marketplace is a more competitive market than the physical world it replaces. The Winner take it all nature of the digital marketplace is a testament to all the companies that did not participate in the race and got left behind. Many corporations leave big headlines when they go bankrupt, but for most bankruptcy is nothing than the end of a gradual decline over period of around 5 years. We also know we now that 10 years is the amount of time it takes for a corporation to achieve a global market position within a niche with examples such as Microsoft, Hotels.com, Google, Facebook, Twitter etc. Even if some changes are faster, changing day to day behaviour of humans takes time.
The mission of each corporation therefore becomes clear. How should the corporation leverage its comparative advantage today to a leading position in the market in a maximum of ten years from now.
How to divide a pie.
The future marketplace is a digital and global free trade zone where national boundaries are increasingly meaningless with a few exceptions.
The digital market is divided into mainly the western market and then some secondary markets such as Russia, China, Brasil and minor national markets. The value is national markets is constantly diminished due to the increasingly smaller cost of multilingual cooperation brought forth by computers speaking directly to each other increasing the capacity for communication as well as computer assisted translation services and digital language courses which increases the supply of communication between people. It is therefore risky to assume that your particular market will continue to be national in scope even if this is the case today. This breaking down of trade barriers through lower costs mirrors the already almost negligible cost of physical transportation over the globe.
The present is the most valuable resource of the future
The biggest challenge of our time will be to prepare #humanity for this future and it’s implications. And here lies the business opportunities of the future.
Very few organizations have started to take these changes into account today. While the organization charts have changed according to management theory very few of these changes have delivered on their promises. Mostly because average leaders are unable to radically change the people within organizations. Trying to save “money” instead of building idea rich organizations where humans thrive they reduce many places of work to desolate landscapes of fear, stress and consequently, mediocrity. By chasing riches average leadership leaves behind a barren landscape. Key to avoiding death in the near future is to stop believing in the long term value of short term gains. This disbelief in the future of an organization is the self-fulfilling prophecy of future bankruptcies.
Not all business ideas are equal.
We can clearly see how the comparative value of an organizing idea increases exponentially over time. The strength of the organizing idea of the corporation already defines the participation of every corporation in this information-rich marketplace.
In a global economy defined by a total lack of cost of communication and information the cost of the raw materials of production will be as cheap as the sand used to make an exquisite piece of glass. These changes are happening today already and the economic consequences of these shifts in raw material prices will continue to have enormous effects on our current economic systems.
The pressing problem of how to win in this future marketplace is closely linked to the way information is encoded within the corporation. The successful corporations of the future will achieve their greatness through the efficient application of intelligence according to a central organizing idea that carries through the entire corporation.
How to build organizational intelligence.
Over the coming years the application of general artificial intelligence will become the defining choice of the modern corporation
The focus of the strategic work in a corporation should not be short term cost cutting but the active and focused search on future business activity. The changes within the organization must be driven by the flow of information within the organization. While the organizational chart might become more network based around groups of related tasks the nature of people being bearer of much of the informational flow within the organizational will remain. There will be a formal hierarchy and IT-personell will have a role. Many corporations might even be use Microsoft products even when similar products exists in the marketplace despite the price. Some things will be exactly like they are today.
The mundane nature of change
In this environment looking very much like the modern office of today, what key changes are needed to allow for ever more efficient use of applied intelligence? How can your specific organization of today start to change its people into the value creating managers of distributed intelligence systems needed in the organization when this change impacts your particular industry.
The answers are mundane. Process optimization and coding, constant education and learning, and a transparent flow of information within the organization allows the creation of value-adding processes institutionalised within the organizational intelligence allowing the process to be reused at lower cost within the organization than outside of it. Thus creating a comparative advantage.
This boring and costly investment in the people working within the organization as well as the transparent documentation of organizational knowledge and processes are necessary to create the future that can be used by the future access to quantum computing. Allowing the organization to utilize this new resource to optimize organizational processes.
The utilization of data tomorrow is limited by the quality of the data collected today.
Is change neccessary?
It is safe to assume that corporations that can use quantum based optimization software to optimize their internal processes will outperform those who cannot.
These lessons are neither insightful nor revolutionary. But how come so many organizations today survive without empowering the employees within them?
Basically the existence of competition in the marketplace is solely a function of inefficiencies within the market as a whole. When these inefficiencies such as cost of transportation, translation, legal responsibility diminish in importance due to lower costs, the key difference between organizations will be the level of optimization in value adding problem solving.
As some corporations optimize some processes faster than the competition the economies of scale allow the winners to constantly outperform the competition and take a strong leading position in the market.
This is far from news, although applying this principle to corporations having theoretical access to quantum computers distributed throughout the organization yields some interesting insights about the future of work, leadership and the goal of collection of data.
But how will this be different than today?
The answer lies in the cost of applied intelligence today. Actual innovative problem-solving is hugely expensive. Top experts in their fields require decades of training and expect high salaries. This high cost of innovation limits the impact on industries protected by barriers, natural, legal or other such as cultural or linguistic. But as the cost of traversing these barriers diminishes thanks to computer aided processes the lack of creativity within some organizations will be felt exponentially faster and much harder. When previously sufficient to leave the creative parts of the organization to a handful of people the rapid changes brought forth by the lowered cost of transportation, communication, and creative intelligence will increase competition on the marketplace on a logarithmic scale.
The future of work
Critical and collaborative thinking about defined process optimization problems related to customer satisfaction will the defining element of the future workplace.
Humans will still be needed within corporations ten years from now. If they are not there will hardly be a need for corporations anymore. It turns out that the value humanity can bring to the organizations of the future is humanity itself. Without the active and focused participation and contribution of all employees in the corporation the organization itself will die. So what will all these billions of humans do?
The critical and collaborative thinking required to optimize processes will the defining element of the future workplace. Or in other words, meetings will continue to be important.The way they are structured however will be different. The digital presence will have a very different role than today and be a valuable contributor in the proceedings. However the experience of work will be very different due to the enhanced abilities of those employed by the organizations with their almost endless supply and application of intelligence.
The future of leadership
The future of leadership is thankfully also the decline of the managerial role. Self-managing employees require less oversight and aid with decision making and the much of it can be relegated to a computer program. This changes the role of the leadership within the organization to one of fostering growth both within the individual employees as well as the group the leader is in charge of.
Do you want to know more?
Helix9.se will launch soon with further insights.