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Over the past two weeks, like many of you, I’ve had many conversations, private DMs and Zoom Happy Hours with other women who are temporarily paralyzed by fear and anxiety over the impact of COVID-19 as it spreads around the world and through our lives at alarming speed decimating jobs, financial security and the certainty and conveniences we’ve become all-too-comfortable with in our modern society.

One conversation I recently had took place via DM on Instagram with someone I’ve known and admired for years. She is, by all definitions, a strong woman who has fought and worked hard to build an innovative business that has been celebrated as being one of the best in its field for almost a decade. She shared her crippling anxiety at possibly having to let go of staff and lose her businesses, the strain of managing her and her husband’s schedules at home and a 2-year old, and giving birth during a pandemic (she’s 8 months pregnant). Three weeks ago, if you asked her, “You’re a woman owning it. How do you do it?” she would’ve confidently answered your question. But today, like many of us (including men, by the way), she feels rocked off her foundation — more like she is being owned rather than owning it. …


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They call me brilliant.

“They” are an assortment of friends, family, strangers I’ve met along the way and at least one of my sworn enemies.

To be clear, I’ve been called plenty of other things that aren’t nearly as flattering, but I’ll save that for another post (or my therapist).

As I think back on the times in my life when people have used the word brilliant to define me, I can’t help but to wonder what they really meant and why they chose a word that has such a strong, emotional resonance (whenever I heard this word, it was usually with unbridled enthusiasm). …


In the two years since we first launched Tech 2025, back in January 2017, we’ve learned that the primary reason people attend our events on any given topic is because they are curious about the topic or a particular aspect of the topic that we highlight in our event marketing.

Many of our attendees aren’t necessarily advanced in (or very knowledgeable about) the technologies we cover. They come to us curious, wanting to see something that sparks their internal, creative compass — even if they have no idea what that “something” might be. It’s safe to say that we’re all a bit overwhelmed with the number of disruptive emerging technologies emerging and developing simultaneously, each one promising to change global industries and the very nature of our reality in a mere next ten years: AI, machine learning, AR/VR/XR, 3D printing, autonomous vehicles, gene-editing biotech, robots, automation — oy! Where to begin?! …


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“People have troubling concerns about emerging technologies that would probably surprise your managers and executives — and these people include employees as well as customers. As a society, the big kitchen-table talk that we need to be having concerns our fears about the ways our role as humans may change in the future. If we continue to dodge this discussion, look out.” — Center for Services Leadership

In late October, I’ll have the divine pleasure of keynoting at the Compete Through Service Symposium hosted by Arizona State University’s Center for Services Leadership — a groundbreaking research center within the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University that “concentrates on expanding service innovation by combining the latest scientific insights from the academic world with the best of service strategy in the business world.” …


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Are automated technologies and AI making us feel helpless, or are they merely highlighting a powerlessness that is already pervasive in corporate culture?

Ibrahim Diallo’s story went viral over the Summer.

I was one of the many people who clicked on countless news articles about the software developer who was wrongly terminated from his job by an automated system — as told by Diallo in a post on his blog: The Machine Fired Me: No human could do a think about it!

It’s a complicated human drama that touches on our deepest fears and anxieties about machines controlling our destiny and rendering us redundant.

In his post, Diallo methodically recounts his traumatic experience. Eight months into a three-year contracted position at a “big company,” Diallo was terminated abruptly by the company’s systems through a series of automated actions executed over several days, including being locked out of security systems (the all important key card) and computer systems, and a barrage of emails that were sent to department managers throughout the company notifying them that Diallo had been terminated and instructing them of precise actions to take that would expedite his termination immediately. …


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Allie Knight, long-haul truck driver.

I am starting to see a generational shift from the old boys club who don’t want to keep up with changes in the industry — and I can’t blame them. Between technology changes and the regulations they face it’s almost a different industry.” — Allie Knight, Millennial, Long-Haul Truck Driver (via TruckDrivingJobs.com)

We recently launched our Ask the Experts series where expert guest speakers participate in a live-video discussion and analysis on recent news stories and research in emerging tech that highlights a particular problem or potential of the technology for us to explore through an interactive Q&A session.

In this session, The Future of Trucking and Driverless Trucks, we welcomed the awesome Allie Knight (a long-haul truck driver (since 2014) who has driven trucks across 48 states and a popular YouTuber who documents her experiences driving trucks and advocating to make trucking better for everyone) to speak about how trucking is changing as a result of technologies (and other market forces) and where the opportunities are for entrepreneurs who would like to develop solutions for the industry. …


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Tag:emerging tech, future of work, innovation

Here at Tech 2025, we believe in having thought-provoking discourse about emerging technologies and the future that challenges conventional wisdom and pushes us out of our comfort zones, and we believe in doing this in a variety of formats — from our live think tank events, to our online webinars, to our book club gatherings, to our game nights.

Earlier this year, we hosted our very first Tech 2025 Game Night (Playing IMPACT — a Board Game About Adapting to Technological Changes in the Future) where we played a board game that tested our ability to predict the future of work based on unpredictable and highly volatile technological advances. IMPACT, a Foresight Game that teaches you to think critically and imaginatively about emerging technologies and the future of society, pushed us all out of our comfort zones and made us think very differently (and critically) about the forces that drive change and innovation on a global scale. …


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Kenneth Knowland (right) with his childhood friend who came out to support him (let’s hope friendships like this are still around in the future!)

From Terrible Thoughts to a Brighter Future?

There is something bone-chilling about the ominous warnings of humanity facing a dire future coming from someone who has lived for almost an entire century — long enough to have seen wars, governments rise, crumble, and rise again, and to have seen the long-term impact (both positive and negative) of humanity’s innovation and creativity.

At a recent MoMa event featuring Kenneth C. Knowlton’s early work (computer graphics innovator, artist, and member of the Bell Labs Research team from 1964 to 1982), 87-year old Knowlton shared his detailed and disturbing thoughts on how humanity will be impacted by AI automation in the future and what we should do about it. His commentary (which was in direct response to a question I asked him during the Q&A) not only made the hairs on my arm stand up on end, it stunned the entire audience into awkward silence, punctuated only by occasional gasps at the sheer boldness of his revelations and his willingness to share them at length. …


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innovation: the letting go of something old; an old idea, method, or device, to make room for something new (Redefining Innovation)

An entire industry including books, live events, consultancies, and media like podcasts and tv shows has exploded this past year to address a burning question that we have become obsessed with as we grapple with the impact of emerging technologies that will reorder society and automate everything:

What is the future of work?

If you ask Google this question, you’ll immediately be bombarded with an entire page of search results filled with research studies and analyses by reputable institutions and media outlets like McKinsey (What the future of work will mean for jobs, skills, and wages), World Economic Forum (What Is the Future of Work?), …


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We’re becoming obsessed with the idea of robots taking our jobs.

And by “we” I mean primarily western countries like the United States, the UK, and Australia where daily headlines in the mainstream press trumpet the end of life as we know it as robots rise up to take our jobs and render us useless (The Rise of the Useless Class).

The very idea that the work that has defined us and our purpose in life can be done more efficiently by algorithms is not only horrifying to Westerners, it’s spiraling us into a collective existential crisis. …

About

Charlie Oliver

Founder @ServedFresh™ and @JoinTech2025. Strategist. Transitionist. Advisor. AI/Machine Learning. Unapologetic instigator of provocative discourse. INTP

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