We join the disucssion as Bernard gives us a peek into his keynote speeches as a futurist. You can listen to the full conversation above.
Bernard Marr: Each time I give a presentation somewhere in keynotes, or talk to senior executive teams in companies, and talk about how technologies like artificial intelligence, and blockchain and robotics are going to change our world over the next 10 years, the next question is, okay, what does that mean for us humans? How do we compete with increasingly intelligent robots and when AI robots can be machines, but can also be devices? We now have smartwatches, smart speakers, smart everything, and really intelligent robots that can drive our cars, that can pick food, we have intelligent AI that can do the jobs of lawyers and doctors.
The question that I’m asked all the time, what does it mean for the future of humans? I think I started phrasing this in my own head as – what are the skills that we will need in the future? And how do we share our workspaces with increasingly intelligent machines? What will we give to them? When I did this, it was quite refreshing, because I’ve always said that it will make our truly human skills, the things like soft skills, critical thinking, creativity, like complex judgment, decision making, collaboration, emotional intelligence…all of these things will become increasingly important, because lots of the mundane technical things we can actually outsource to machines in the future.
What we will see in the future is that all our jobs, all our work, will get augmented by increasingly intelligent machines. And humans need to make sure they have the digital literacy, that they understand what technology is coming up and how it might augment and change their industry in their jobs. We need increasingly awareness of data, which is the fuel for this new industrial revolution. But the vast majority of the skills will be soft skills and, and in my book, Future Skills, I look at the 20 skills that people need to really succeed in the digital world. And out of those 20, it’s soft skills that make us truly human, I believe.
Jon Kennard: I’ve got an unplanned question which relates to what you just said. In researching a bit about your backstory other than the work that I’ve already seen, I was reading through some of your blog posts on your site. A lot of them are based around blockchain or data analysis, or the metaverse, which we will come on to. But funnily enough, the post that really piqued my interest was about critical thinking; ’13 easy steps to improve your critical thinking skills’.
And it strikes me that that’s an area which bridges the gap between soft skills and data. Do you know what I mean? It’s like it’s a soft skill to be a good critical thinker. But you use data to become a good critical thinker. Could you expand on that?
BM: You’re absolutely right. We need data to make better informed decisions. And we’ve never been in a place where we have more data available to us. If we look at how much data we’ve generated in the last two years, is much more than we’ve generated in the entire existence of mankind. We something, we now have something in the region of 30-35 zettabytes of data in the world. And over the next two to three years, this will explode to over 200. At the same time, less than 1% of this data is ever used to inform decision making. So we need to become better at that.
At the same time, in this digital world, we are constantly bombarded with information. So we have these tons of data sources that we can use at the same time we go on platforms like Tiktok, Facebook and Instagram, they create ‘filter bubbles’, where if you like certain content, they will give you more of that content, and if you have a certain political view, we’re likely give you more of that was because you like it. And this can create this little echo chamber of your own worldviews.
And for me, it’s really important that we go beyond this, and we understand that critical thinking means finding trustworthy information and data that we then use to make the best decisions.
And if we simply rely on our biased view on social media, that is not a very good way of making better decisions. At the same time, we now have artificial intelligence-enabled bots that can generate Twitter and Facebook content. And we’ve seen whole entire countries trying to meddle in elections of other countries by putting out lots of fake content.
This will become increasingly difficult in the future, because we see Twitter posts and they say this person has said this, and this person never said it. I don’t know whether you’ve seen the deep fakes of Tom Cruise, for example, on Tiktok, and Instagram. And I just spoke to the two guys that created this. And they actually performed on America’s Got Talent and turned one of their singers, Daniel Everett, into Simon Cowell live on stage. So what you saw on the screen was Simon Cowell singing, and so this the whole deep fake technology – you can literally take anyone’s face and anyone’s voice and clone it and create deep fakes. This becomes really important to think about when we think about the future of our world.
Deepfakes, AI and trust
If you are seeing a president of a country or a prime minister or a business leader on TikTok making claims they never made, but because they look so real, it goes viral and people start believing it. This is where critical thinking will become even more important in the future…people really have to think how plausible is this? Where’s this information coming from? And I believe that to some extent blockchain technology could potentially be one load off [our minds] giving us more verification of our data, where to some extent you can have your biometric data, things like what you look like and what you sound like protected on the blockchain. And if someone then misuses it, it can detect this.
For all of those reasons, critical thinking will become increasingly important. I think what businesses need today is they need people that can think by themselves, can look through information, say which which information is really trustworthy, which is a good information source, which isn’t, and then how do they use this and aggregate this data and analyze it to make a good decision.
In the future, this will become even more important when we enter the metaverse, and where we have more deep fake technologies and even more intelligent AI that can sound and look like us in written form, in video form, in audio form.
JK: Perfect segue, thank you. I was just about to talk about the metaverse…so I got served an article from Forbes called ‘Meet the world’s first Chief Metaverse Officer‘. And you’re probably aware of the story obviously. Kathy Hackl, who is the Chief Metaverse Officer of a company called Journey. If we dig into the story a bit more, she’s also the CEO. So I think she’s self-styled her job title as Chief Metaverse Officer because this is the kind of the world that Journey find themselves in, and are specialists in.
But the question I have really is, what new technologies are going to be shaping the workforce? And obviously, part of that is the metaverse. But what else do you see kind of coming down the track for a lot of businesses and organizations?
BM: Yeah, very good question. So for me, the biggest and most powerful technology that humans have ever had access to is artificial intelligence and machine learning. This will allow us to do amazing things that will basically give us superpowers, all of us to do amazing things at work. And it will augment every job and every industry. And any company out there that thinks that artificial intelligence doesn’t matter to them, will simply be left behind because it is a such a powerful technology that matters to everyone’s job. And this technology is evolving so fast in so many different ways.
There’s so many subsets of AI, we have things like natural language generation and processing, so the ability to speak like humans, so we are now used to speaking to our phones and our speakers and our cars. And they speak back to us and sound very human. The fact that we can now use this to generate images, like these deep fakes is becoming increasingly intelligent. And then using machine learning to even do manual tasks like driving and flying. So AI is by far the most important…
For the full conversation, listen above.
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