January 21st, 2021
A New Beginning?
LAST week's webinar "A New Beginning?" - Friday January 22nd 4:00PM MST
You've surprised me. You want to get personal. For several years, yes - since 2005, I've been of the belief that our common interests were in the state of the economy including entrepreneurship, innovation, and the social and economic impact of emerging technologies. And so I've been motivated to organize, write, research, consult, even invest in innovations with disruptive implications. That is, to shine the headlights of technology onto the future economy. But rather than the economy you seem to be now more interested in the social and personal implications of emerging technologies and whether we are at the beginning of the end OR simply a new beginning.
Responsible & Accountable
Last year I shared an insight trying to explain the difference between Canada's east and west, the intense social agenda in Ontario - Toronto/ Ottawa specifically, that differed from western Canada - Alberta/ Saskatchewan where an economic agenda prevailed. The explanation was simple - Alberta's oil and gas rug had been yanked out from underneath the latter's economies. Jobs and debt, Trudeau and NDP, were taking the brunt of it. At least that's what you shared in your survey responses. Ontario, on the other hand, was more socially minded, enjoying the fruits of economic stability and growth. Each - east and west were seemingly oblivious to the plight of one another.
As an aside, in the states this would be equivalent to the socially minded, liberal Blue/ Democrats being oblivious to the plight of the economically minded, conservative Red/ Republicans and vice versa. Dare I speculate that the coastal Blue election win and mid-America Red election loss may be attributed to the social impact of Covid-19 outweighing its economic impact.
Something different is happening...
COVID-19 is forcing upon us a new, social "personalizing" reality. "Lives matter" is relevant, not as a play on the BLM activist slogan, but as shared by an entire population. For sure the economic implications are massive, broad, and of benefit to those serving to keep us connected, as we isolate. But we were all together sharing a common mental event - being separated. While we continue to view and observe the world - Brexit/ Trump, virtually - Netflix/ Facebook, our realities are more intensely personal, isolated except virtually via Zoom from one another. Our connection to others – our social significance, is increasingly important, while identifying ourselves with our work and the economy fades. Social sensitivities have been ignited - triggering more "personalization". (We noted at the beginning of the pandemic that those businesses that knew their customers best and were able to maintain the relationship would prosper.
Taking a chance...
We - I included, were sensing widespread confusion. I shared mine in last week's article - "Confused? I am!" You too are apparently as was apparent in the articles and opens, email and texts, I received. So much so as to lead me to believe either you have changed, or current events have triggered a shift in interest to who I/ you/ we are, and our beliefs/ values/ sentiment.
We are acknowledging the social "us" and are spending a lot more time learning about ourselves. This was the subject of my article at year's end, that if "I" was NOT sensitive to "we", then "I" would be partner to increasing the staying power of COVID-19. Let me get to the point.
Joining the dots...
Last Friday, at our Zoomed "seance" - a weekly public webinar, a meeting of spirits (wine and whining) we discussed what was driving our shared personal confusion including: conscious campaigns of personal misinformation, the compromising of personal free speech, the need for viewpoint validation and the rejection of dissonance. We even entertained some personal philosophy about self-transcendence via Maslow, values and ideals, institutions, and government. THEN...
Bud our engineer spoke up at the wrap up...
He shared that he didn't care about our personal confusion. This was a bit of a jolt. He'd just returned from a videoed event, the annual Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show. He shared that while attendance was smaller than usual, the takeaway was huge. He cited what products and services were dominant, thus giving us insight into what was in store regardless of COVID-19 and politics, the economy and our confusion. In the big picture, Bud was talking about the signal; we were talking about the noise.
Bud noted that regardless of our confusion, something was very clear - consumers could expect an increase in products continuing to serve as aides if not alternatives to decision making: AI, sensors, surveillance, anything autonomous, drones and robotics. We in our confusion were not alone, some "thing" was already among us.
The insight...technologies are continuing to supplant the need for people not just their muscles and labour but in activities where the brain and decision making are required. They have become social engaged i people stuff. Think driving or brain surgery, judging or governing, investing or managing, policing or baking. This evolution goes beyond the digital economy as OUR knowledge becomes embedded in algorithms and people are freed from having to decide for others and for themselves. It got me to thinking that a Guaranteed Annual Income (GAI) would allow us to get on with the less labourious and more innovative Creative economy - more on this in a future webinar. Though I suppose a GAI would lead to an increase in baby making and a change in immigration – a decrease in the traditional “job market” jobs but increase in service employment jobs as services – at least initially, are less easily automated. The value of relational skills would increase as knowledge becomes commoditized.
Conclusion...What is our future? How will our daily lives differ as we emerge from the global pandemic? I invite you to share with me your perspective HERE Many are rushing into the future with extraordinary faith in technology for good. Others see technology as an existential threat to mankind. And yet others see an apocalypse and invoke a religious perspective that all of mankind will experience a revelation and with it salvation. Is the near future the beginning of a new beginning or ?
Zoom us this Friday for the next chapter ... https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82909644522
How can these be both the best and the worst of times? - Thank you Jeff
Should journalists be aiming to make the world better? - Thank you Elaine
Consumer demand is driving the continuing demand of oil for energy. - Thank you David
Has technology been destroying society? - Thank you Jeff
AI is helping you shop today but in future will do it all. - Thank you Bud
Covid-19 is testing our economy's resilience and increasing the relevance of the innovation ecosystem. - Thank you all
Assessing the effectiveness of Canada's innovation ecosystem. - Thank you Bud
SHOULD APPEAR HERE