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Mar 15, 2016
The 8th Annual Global 'Zeitgeist Day' Symposium Promotes Sustainability, Global Unity, and a Post-Scarcity Society Read More >
Jan 31, 2015
Promotes Global Unity, Social Betterment and a More Humane Society Read More >
Sep 12, 2014
Features Live Music, Short Films, Comedy and Art, Promotes Social Consciousness Through the Power of Art Read More >
Mar 01, 2014
Toronto Main Event and Beyond Read More >
Feb 03, 2014
A New Book by The Zeitgeist Movement Read More >
More Press Releases >
Apr 01, 2016 Host: Casey Davidson
In this episode Casey Davidson (Australian national coordinator for TZM) discusses whether the Zeitgeist Movement should interact with political parties, how to find a balance between making ethical choices and connecting with larger audiences as well as introducing the Brisbane chapter's amusing 'Tinfoil hat scale'.
Mar 20, 2016 Host: Jasiek Luszczki
This episode of TZM global is hosted by Jasiek Luszczki from the Polish chapter of TZM. Today's show features an interview with two activists of the Rotterdam TZM Chapter (Holland) - Anthony Jacobi and Robert Schram.
They talk about their way of utilising the NLRBE-like philosophy and code of conduct within the confines of today's monetary system. They present some ideas on how to move away from "business as usual" (working for profit) to "awareness as usual" (generating social capital) mindset.
Feb 10, 2016 Host: James Phillips
This episode of TZM global is hosted by UK chapter member and TZM education coordinator James Phillips and involves an interview with fellow TZM members Jasiek Thejester and Stefan Kengen from the Polish and Danish chapters of TZM respectively about the recent European meeting held in Rotterdam.
Dec 10, 2015 Host: James Phillips
This episode of TZM global is hosted by UK chapter member and co-coordinator of the movements global educational activism project; TZM education, James Phillips.
Along with other movement related news this episode includes a conversation with fellow TZM education member and Hungarian chapter coordinator, Sztella Kantor regarding her experience of taking the materials of TZM education into schools in Hungary.
If you are interested in taking part in this global initiative then please visit: www.tzmeducation.org
*At the time of publication there was an issue with our podcast provider, blogtalk radio. Therefore the show could only be uploaded in it's edited format to you tube at this time. The full version will be released as soon as this issue is resolved.
Nov 25, 2015 Host: James Phillips
Ep 178 European TZM meeting show - Rotterdam. This episode of TZM Global is hosted by UK chapter team member and co-coordinator of TZM Education (www.tzmeducation.org) James Phillips.
This episode includes an interview with the Global Chapters Administration Coordinator Gilbert Ismail regarding the upcoming European TZM Meetup in Rotterdam next month. For more information, please visit the following link: https://www.facebook.com/events/91743...
Also included in this show is a request for more content for TZM Global Radio. Please send pre-recorded submissions to: email@example.com.
Conventional wisdom would have you believe that most people enter adolescence with a head full of high-minded ideals and a willingness to shake up the system. As they get older, however, they gradually begin to accept the status quo. For me, that process is reversed.
The older I get, the more skeptical I become of our current social model. Why?
Let’s start with this:
It should be of increasing concern to all Americans that there is an extreme disconnect between what Americans believe about man-made climate change, and what science tells us about it. That is to say, despite there being a clear scientific consensus, man-made climate change is more often than not framed as an ambiguous concept in the U.S. mainstream media. Consequently, climate change is generally thought to be far more esoteric than it actually is.
INTRODUCTION AND DISCLAIMER 
The purpose of this project is to enable supporters of a natural law resource based economic model (NLRBE) to understand and appreciate the need to approach the education system in an effort to initiate the value shift required for a more peaceful and sustainable future to emerge.
Today I was reading The Zeitgeist Movement Defined: Realizing a New Train of Thought, again. I did so because I feel the need to express certain frustration on this/my social movement but haven’t found the right words. Also I didn’t want to make any false assumptions on its architecture, so I went straight to the source with a pen in my hand.
I went through the 9 pages that constitute the overview and extracted some notes I would like to post in here:
We need more films about the social, ecological and economic change!
We want to make one and you could help us.
In our Documentary "The Taste of Life" we want to show, that there are people in the whole world, already practicing this change in a great way.
From social symptom to root causes came about as a bi-product of ZDAY 2013 in London, in which all but the introductory talk featured exterior organisations and speakers. Each of whom seek to address a particular social or environmental issue closely aligned with the movement’s materials.
From social symptom to root causes came about as a bi-product of ZDAY 2013 in London, in which all but the introductory talk featured exterior organisations and speakers. Each of whom seek to address a particular social or environmental issue closely aligned with the movement’s materials.
Transcript below. Can also be viewed via PDF HERE.
Welcome to: “3 Questions - What do you propose?” This thought exercise is intended for both the average person, concerned about global problems – along with those who are still confused about - or perhaps even in opposition to The Zeitgeist Movement.
Peter Joseph, ZDay 2016 "Where we go from here" March 26th, Athens Greece [ The Zeitgeist Movement ]
https://www.fastcompany.com/3067534/robot-revolution/did-you-hear-that-robots-are-learning-the-subtle-sounds-of-mechanical-break " target="_blank">Did You Hear That? Robots Are Learning the Subtle Sounds of Mechanical Breakdown
Steven Melendez | Fast Company
"'We’re developing an expert mechanic’s brain that identifies exactly what is happening to a machine by the way that it sounds,' says Amnon Shenfeld, founder and CEO of 3DSignals, a startup based in Kfar Saba, Israel, that is using machine learning to train computers to listen to machinery and diagnose problems at facilities like hydroelectric plants and steel mills."
http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/robotics-hardware/six-legged-robot-oneups-nature-with-faster-gait " target="_blank">Six-Legged Robot One-Ups Nature With Faster Gait
Evan Ackerman | IEEE Spectrum
"In an article published last week in Nature Communications, researchers from EPFL, in Lausanne, Switzerland, managed to show that for legged hexapods, a bipedal gait (using just two active legs at once) is often the fastest and most efficient way of moving, even though insects use a tripedal gait instead."
https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/02/waymo-vs-otto-aka-google-vs-uber/517683/ " target="_blank">A Doozy of a Lawsuit Over Self-Driving Cars
Adrienne LaFrance | The Atlantic
"Waymo, the self-driving car company that began at Google, is suing Uber and the self-driving truck company Otto, which Uber acquired last year... Patent disputes are typical in Silicon Valley, but given the outsized significance of self-driving cars—and the power of the players involved—the fight between Waymo and Uber is likely to be one of the biggest legal battles since the war between Apple and Samsung over smartphones."
INTERNET & SECURITY
https://www.technologyreview.com/s/603500/10-breakthrough-technologies-2017-botnets-of-things/ " target="_blank">Botnets of Things
Bruce Schneier | MIT Technology Review
"Internet of things devices are not designed with security in mind and often have no way of being patched. The things that have become part of Mirai botnets, for example, will be vulnerable until their owners throw them away. Botnets will get larger and more powerful simply because the number of vulnerable devices will go up by orders of magnitude over the next few years."
http://www.theverge.com/2017/2/22/14674088/7-planet-solar-system-discovered-conditions-for-life-water-nature-nasa " target="_blank">This Solar System of Seven Earth-Sized Planets May Be the Best Place to Look for Alien Life
Loren Grush | The Verge
"Around 40 light-years away, seven Earth-sized planets have been spotted orbiting closely around a small, ultra-cool star. It’s one of the largest solar systems that’s ever been discovered outside of our own, and it’s a particularly enticing find in the ongoing search for extraterrestrial life. Six of the planets in the system may have the right temperatures for liquid water to exist on their surfaces, and astronomers are confident they’ll be able to get a more in-depth look at these seven worlds with future space telescopes."
FUTURE OF JOURNALISM
https://www.wired.com/2017/02/robots-wrote-this-story/ " target="_blank">What News-Writing Bots Mean for the Future of Journalism
Joe Keohane | Wired
"Prakash and Gilbert take pains to stress that the system is not here to usher reporters into obsolescence. And that brings them to the second objective of Heliograf [The Washington Post's AI tool]: Make the newsroom more efficient. By removing tasks like incessant poll coverage and real-time election results from reporters’ plates, Heliograf frees them up to focus on the stories that actually require human thought."
Image source: https://www.shutterstock.com/home " target="_blank">Shutterstock
Never before have businesses been able to build billion-dollar valuations in so little time. Never before have incumbent enterprises been able to go out of business so quickly. Disruption is now commonplace, and augmented reality (AR) is emerging as yet another avenue to turn industries on their heads. But what direction will this new technology take?
AR overlays digital information on the physical world using a smartphone (think Pokémon Go) or a headset. In its simplest form, AR is simply a rectangular display floating in front of the eyes, à la Google Glass. More advanced forms will drop video game characters or useful information seamlessly onto physical objects, from homes to industrial warehouses.
http://singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/augmented-reality-potential-greater-than-you-think-11.jpg " alt="" width="300" height="200" />While virtual reality is moving into a more commercial phase, AR is a little earlier in its development. But AR’s potential practical applications are significant. So, what’s in store for AR in the coming years?
Most business leaders today are making their projections based on what we know today—a perspective that runs the potential risk of being too linear and possibly missing the point. By digging deeply into trends, cycles and clues from technology disruptions in the past, we can create frameworks to help us better strategize for how capabilities may unfold in the future.
Today, standard market projections focus on how AR will become smaller and faster, or they extrapolate on how existing capabilities could impact the enterprise once implemented. However, past technology disruptions demonstrate that this view is too narrow, and doesn't consider the impact of converging technologies—for example, in the way mobile technology has converged with the internet.
Augmented reality (and to some extent, virtual reality as well) is on a collision course with other emerging exponential technologies—for example, the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing and machine learning, to name a few. Businesses that prepare themselves to capture the value that can unfold when they converge are more likely to find themselves as industry leaders in the resulting economy.
Past innovations can provide insights for our future
Mobile technology may be one of the largest technology disruptions to happen in the past 20 years. However, the mobile industry didn’t just happen on its own.
Analysts thought that these devices would become smaller, gain longer battery life and that costs would fall—and even http://time.com/63718/shocker-in-1980-motorola-had-no-idea-where-the-phone-market-would-be-in-2000/ ">predicted a slow, linear growth. In fact, https://books.google.com/books?id=O9eo4AxHayEC&pg=PA32&lpg=PA32&dq=cell+phone+market+prediction+1990&source=bl&ots=Y5CuEfGXwJ&sig=nToNcK7HS-e0tKVRv4aGjt3Y10Q&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwib783H-8nOAhWI7CYKHVIWDgwQ6AEILzAD#v=onepage&q=cell%20phone%20market%20prediction%201990&f=false ">McKinsey predictions were that the total market for cell phones would be around 900,000 by the turn of the century. The phone would indeed become smaller, faster and cheaper, but no market prediction would come close to predicting what happened next.
Mobile technology became disruptive when it converged with the internet, introducing a slew of new consumer and enterprise use cases. The smartphone was born, and it took the ceiling off the cell phone market potential, unlocking billions of dollars of value that simply did not exist before.
"Those who focused on the mobile handset and what it could do missed a seismic shift in the technology paradigm."
Crowdsourcing was the next convergence as smartphones tapped a worldwide developer community. Traditionally, software companies made applications for mobile PDAs in a small, niche marketplace. By hosting a crowdsourced marketplace on the App Store online store, Apple initiated what would become an estimated http://www.ca.com/us/rewrite/articles/application-economy/by-the-numbers-sizing-up-the-app-economy-in-2015.html ">$143 billion market opportunity for mobile apps http://www.zdnet.com/article/jobs-today-apple-is-going-to-reinvent-the-phone/ ">in just 8 years.
Mobile converging with data analytics became another landmark example. As user adoption for smartphones and mobile apps began to skyrocket, the collection of user data to fuel business insights became very relevant. Today, mobile user data has an estimated value of https://techcrunch.com/2015/10/13/whats-the-value-of-your-data/ ">$50 billion, across multiple layers of user data that are collected, sold, aggregated and analyzed.
The point is, “mobile” is a mega-billion-dollar market, but those who focused on the handset and what it could do missed a seismic shift in the technology paradigm.
Technologies expected to converge with AR
Similar to the mobile revolution, AR’s future will likely not be dictated by falling prices, smaller form factors or faster performance. They may help in the ubiquitous adoption of AR, but relying on these metrics to predict the future of AR will likely miss the greater market opportunity. It’s only when we start to imagine what the combination of AR and industrial IoT, machine earning and 3D printing, among others, that we can begin to truly see its future potential.
Industrial IoT. Augmented reality and the industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) will most likely be the first to converge. AR device adoption is happening in the enterprise space at a faster pace than the consumer space (with the exception of Pokémon Go). And similar to how consumer connectivity created value with the smartphone, enterprise connectivity will provide an information layer that’s expected to extend the value of AR devices.
http://singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/augmented-reality-potential-greater-than-you-think-4.jpg " alt="" width="300" height="200" />As enterprises begin to rapidly develop connected infrastructure, from manufacturing to logistics, and ultimately to the consumer, massive amounts of data are being collected and used for analysis. AR can provide a “data to human interface,” allowing workers, managers and executives to see the world augmented with a rich dataset.
Enterprise resource planning, warehouse management and even electronic health record systems will be able to connect a workforce to its surrounding environment, whether a factory, warehouse or hospital—workers will be able to see information projected onto their environment. Eventually, the value will likely be driven upstream, as well into concepting, design, layout and other knowledge worker tasks, connecting the digital world to the physical one through connected data ecosystems.
Machine learning. Machine learning is expected to be an important convergence for AR, as well. We’ll need to figure out the best user interface for what amounts to a more hands-free experience. Just as the keyboard was an important innovation in desktop or laptop computing and touchscreens were the key to mobile devices—machine learning may play a big role in AR interfaces.
Moving from type to touchscreen is a great example of how new interfaces require novel UI. Machine-learning-enabled speech-to-text, as well as text-to-speech, could become important innovations in AR.
Our devices should understand the way we move, talk and touch. Data around user behavior will likely be extremely valuable, opening up markets to capture, transmit, store and utilize.
3D printing. 3D printing is an exploding market in industrial manufacturing, with unique potential benefits for complexity, performance and physical properties. However, specific 3D printing tools for modeling can be confusing for engineers trained on traditional design software for 2D monitors.
Often, the unique design requirements of complex 3D structures are not well suited for existing software tools. Crafting, editing and visualizing models with AR will help bridge the cognitive gap between engineer and design, removing the degrees of separation between designer and product that currently exist today (i.e., keyboard, mouse, 2D screen, interface), and enable the designer to directly interact with the product in an intuitive, creative way.
Don't get caught underestimating AR’s potential
While there are technological hurdles to cover in stereoscopic processing, display technology, form factor and even social stigma, the future of AR does not lie in the headset, but the “headset and…”
Simply looking at AR and hypothesizing about its value is not sufficient.
Most of the opportunity around hardware innovation lies in emergent value. How AR technologies interface, integrate and converge with other future innovations will help unlock the multi-billion-dollar potential of what may initially seem like just a clunky device.
Image Credit: http://www.shutterstock.com ">Shutterstock
Smart-television maker Vizio agreed to pay a penalty this month for spying on 11 million customers. https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.ftc.gov_system_files_documents_cases_170206-5Fvizio-5F2017.02.06-5Fcomplaint.pdf&d=DwMFAg&c=RAhzPLrCAq19eJdrcQiUVEwFYoMRqGDAXQ_puw5tYjg&r=tg4MUjJUSXB9wyKvQPiVMGkbqK7vQ5O-E3RpyohTek0&m=eqv04yZi7gRm7FhQCKFZ0ZNWTt09-evi0AyhNttC48E&s=HTpTSmuhgRZ0OzxfxYHCYLfm4zWQEN5nmBDb-_tgbY4&e= ">According to the Federal Trade Commission, the company captured second-by-second information on what customers viewed, combined it with their gender, age and income, and sold it to third parties.
How much was the fine for Vizio, which has sales in excess of $3 billion? It was https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2017/02/06/these-smart-tvs-were-apparently-spying-on-their-owners ">$2.2 million — barely a slap on the wrist.
These kinds of privacy breaches are increasingly common as billions of devices now become part of the “Internet of Things” (IoT). Whether it be our TV sets, cars, bathroom scales, children’s toys or medical devices, we are already surrounded by everyday objects equipped with sensors and computers. And the companies that make them can get away with being careless with consumer security — and with stealing customer data.
Vizio has been accused of exposing its customers to hackers before. In November 2015, security researchers at https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__blog.avast.com_2015_11_11_the-2Danatomy-2Dof-2Dan-2Diot-2Dhack_&d=DwMFAg&c=RAhzPLrCAq19eJdrcQiUVEwFYoMRqGDAXQ_puw5tYjg&r=tg4MUjJUSXB9wyKvQPiVMGkbqK7vQ5O-E3RpyohTek0&m=eqv04yZi7gRm7FhQCKFZ0ZNWTt09-evi0AyhNttC48E&s=veuBY-IjxwMS969PEDLL4riXeYiUbh_EQMUA2jw_o6Q&e= ">Avast demonstrated how easy it was for hackers to gain complete access to the WiFi networks that Vizio’s TVs were connected to and that it recorded customer data even when they explicitly opted out of its terms of service.
On Black Friday in 2015, hackers broke into the servers of Chinese toymaker VTech and https://singularityhub.com/2015/12/11/when-kids-start-getting-hacked-its-time-to-wake-up-about-cybersecurity/ ">lifted personal information on nearly 5 million parents and more than 6 million children. The data haul included home addresses, names, birth dates, email addresses and passwords. Worse still, it included photographs and chat logs between parents and their children. VTech paid no fine and changed its https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__contentcdn.vtechda.com_data_console_GB_1668_SystemUpgrade_FirmwareUpdateTnC-5FGBeng-5FV2-5F20160120-2D170000.txt&d=DwMFAg&c=RAhzPLrCAq19eJdrcQiUVEwFYoMRqGDAXQ_puw5tYjg&r=tg4MUjJUSXB9wyKvQPiVMGkbqK7vQ5O-E3RpyohTek0&m=eqv04yZi7gRm7FhQCKFZ0ZNWTt09-evi0AyhNttC48E&s=CgKIyAj-LdL1-IsKoWm2u19VItZUjCQLV9ojOqrVYBA&e= ">terms of service to require that customers acknowledge their private data “may be intercepted or later acquired by unauthorized parties.”
Regulations and consumer protections are desperately needed.
One option would be to hold the manufacturers strictly liable for these hacks, to financially motivate them to improve product security. In the same way that seat belt manufacturers are responsible for the safety of their products, IoT device makers would be presumed to be liable unless they could prove that they had taken all reasonable precautions. The penalties could be high enough to put a company out of business.
But this would be inequitable. One of the factors enabling such hacking is that users don’t use sufficiently complex passwords and thus leave the front door unlocked. It could also stifle innovation, with the big players avoiding the possibility of extreme penalties by becoming averse to innovations, and small players avoiding entering the market because they lack the resources to handle possible litigation.
Duke School of Law researcher Jeremy Muhlfelder says that copyright law has a history of Supreme Court cases that have ruled on this exact principle, of not wanting to curb the “next big thing” by holding innovators liable for their innovations. Innovators themselves wouldn’t, and shouldn’t, be liable for how carelessly their innovations are incorporated into new products. But imposing strict liabilities on manufacturers, since it would lead indirectly to canceling the rewards of innovation, might not be legally realistic either.
"IoT devices would be deemed inherently dangerous, and thus the producer would be strictly liable for faults unless an independent agency certifies the devices as secure."
A more reasonable solution may be along the lines of what attorney Matt Sherer recommends in https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__papers.ssrn.com_sol3_papers2.cfm-3Fabstract-5Fid-3D2609777&d=DwMFAg&c=RAhzPLrCAq19eJdrcQiUVEwFYoMRqGDAXQ_puw5tYjg&r=tg4MUjJUSXB9wyKvQPiVMGkbqK7vQ5O-E3RpyohTek0&m=eqv04yZi7gRm7FhQCKFZ0ZNWTt09-evi0AyhNttC48E&s=i8GFBQbPxdCOHBgaN9C7zJ6-PBp87QKu9xvv3pQRM-k&e= ">a paper on regulating artificial intelligence systems that was published in the Harvard Journal of Law and Technology: Impose strict liability but with the potential for pre-certification that removes the liability. IoT devices would be deemed inherently dangerous, and thus the producer would be strictly liable for faults unless an independent agency certifies the devices as secure. This would be similar to the UL certification provided by Underwriters Laboratories, a government-approved company that carries out testing and certification to ensure products meet safety specifications.
Equipment certification is also one of the recommendations that former Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler made in https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.scribd.com_document_333290070_FCC-2DResponse-2D12-2D05-2D2016&d=DwMFAg&c=RAhzPLrCAq19eJdrcQiUVEwFYoMRqGDAXQ_puw5tYjg&r=tg4MUjJUSXB9wyKvQPiVMGkbqK7vQ5O-E3RpyohTek0&m=eqv04yZi7gRm7FhQCKFZ0ZNWTt09-evi0AyhNttC48E&s=J4r2R_kA533u1gL0p61X31HnYbf0u0ss3n0dPMbcMQs&e= ">a letter to Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) regarding the government’s response to the October 2016 attack on the Internet. He proposed a public-private partnership that creates a set of best practices for securing devices, the certification or self-certification of products, and labeling requirements to make consumers aware of the risks. Wheeler proposed “market-based incentives and appropriate regulatory oversight where the market does not, or cannot, do the job effectively.”
As Wheeler also noted, addressing IoT threats is a national imperative and must not be stalled by the transition to a new president. This is beyond politics. It is a matter of national security and consumer safety.
Image Credit: http://www.shutterstock.com ">Shutterstock
This article is part of a new series exploring the skills leaders must learn to make the most of rapid change in an increasingly disruptive world. The first article in the series, “https://singularityhub.com/2017/01/11/how-the-most-successful-leaders-will-thrive-in-an-exponential-world/ ">How the Most Successful Leaders Will Thrive in an Exponential World,” broadly outlines four critical leadership skills—futurist, technologist, innovator, and humanitarian—and how they work together.
Today's post, part two in the series, takes a more detailed look at leaders as futurists. Upcoming articles will explore leaders as technologists, innovators, and humanitarians.
Science fiction writer William Gibson famously once said, “The future is already here, it’s just unevenly distributed.” As leaders, how do we embrace the elements of the future that are here, and the ones that are just around the corner? By thinking more like a futurist.
In times of increasing change and complexity, it can be difficult to envision bold new futures with any certainty. Our go-to strategies for thinking about the future typically start with the elements that are known, such as projecting out historic results to future performance, analyzing existing competitors, or focusing on executing near-term results.
What’s missing are systematic approaches to understanding and taking advantage of the unknown. This is why leaders need to embrace skills, practices and behaviors of futurists.
Futurists don’t have secret powers to predict the future. They don’t have a Magic 8 Ball or special basket of fortune-cookie predictions. Rather, futurists discipline themselves to question the status quo. They regularly scan external trends, adjacent industries and underlying forces. They consider diverse perspectives. And they boldly tell stories about the future before all of the data is available to back it up.
Why Thinking Like a Futurist Is Valuable
We’ve been trained to think of the future as a linear extension of what we know, typically imagining change as a 10 percent improvement (or decline) from what we see around us.
We think we have a better understanding of the future than we do. Our implicit views about the future are so ingrained in business plans, financial models, and strategy conversations that leaders often don’t take the time to articulate underlying assumptions. When they do, they may discover plans rely on variables that are far from given and perhaps not the only options.
The future lives in a very broad set of possibilities, and these can unfold surprisingly quickly.
Technological, environmental and political changes will likely disrupt your business. How can you prepare for a different, even unimaginable world that will arrive faster than projected?
This is where methods commonly employed by futurists can help you strengthen your plans. Disciplined methods of strategic foresight systematically scan, analyze, probe and project the future beyond what we intuitively think might be possible.
How to See Ahead Like a Futurist
The first step is identifying the most important and uncertain macro forces shaping your business. These can usually be divided into five broad categories: social, technological, economic, environmental and political. (Tip: Recall these with the acronym STEEP.)
Under each of these categories, there are a number of driving forces and external variables that might lead to very different futures.
An insurance company, for example, might track variables related to the extension of human life (social), technologies disrupting treatment of chronic health conditions (technology), the rate of change from traditional employer-driven work arrangements to more independent “gig” jobs (economic), the frequency and impact of natural disasters (environmental), and the government’s stance toward regulation and potential new laws (political).
Once these high-impact variables are identified and prioritized, futurists gather diverse inputs to establish a range of how the variables are likely to play out over time. The further ahead they go, the wider the range of possibilities.
Futurists call this the cone of possibilities and carefully organize their forecasts into four buckets.
- What are possible futures? This is the full range of events that could unfold.
- What are plausible futures? This is what we believe is possible but unlikely.
- What are probable futures? This is what’s most likely to happen.
- What are preferred futures? This is what we want to happen.
http://singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/SH_ConeOfPossibilities_Futurism_Final.jpg " alt="" width="2421" height="2409" srcset="http://cdn.singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/SH_ConeOfPossibilities_Futurism_Final.jpg 2421w, http://cdn.singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/SH_ConeOfPossibilities_Futurism_Final-150x150.jpg 150w, http://cdn.singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/SH_ConeOfPossibilities_Futurism_Final-300x300.jpg 300w, http://cdn.singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/SH_ConeOfPossibilities_Futurism_Final-768x764.jpg 768w, http://cdn.singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/SH_ConeOfPossibilities_Futurism_Final-900x896.jpg 900w, http://cdn.singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/SH_ConeOfPossibilities_Futurism_Final-696x693.jpg 696w, http://cdn.singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/SH_ConeOfPossibilities_Futurism_Final-1068x1063.jpg 1068w, http://cdn.singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/SH_ConeOfPossibilities_Futurism_Final-422x420.jpg 422w" sizes="(max-width: 2421px) 100vw, 2421px" />
Although these futures stem from a common set of identified variables, the derived outcomes are significantly different.
This can be an enlightening strategic exercise for leaders: Is your organization overemphasizing its preferred future and neglecting the full range of possible futures? If so, perhaps there isn’t enough hedging of investments. Does your organization default to the plausible future? Consider broadening the view by investigating new technologies, adjacent industries and early startups to inform alternative strategic options.
Paul Saffo, Singularity University’s Chair of Futures Studies and Foresight, repeatedly warns us that “sacred cows make the best burgers.” A quick way to make your organization more future-focused is by asking team members to dive into their networks and scout for evidence related to the key variables you’ve outlined and post them on an analog or digital wall.
How to Create Preferred Futures
Once you’ve identified your preferred future, you can start to identify key activities and milestones that would help create that future.
Backcasting is the act of imagining a preferred future and then stepping backward toward the present, repeatedly probing what has to happen to enable each step.
Backcasting is anchored in an aspirational future state rather than being constrained by limitations of the current state. This allows people to create their own richly detailed stories of the future and leads naturally to the discussion: “How can our product/service do that?”
To dream up bold, new possibilities, try imagining an outcome 10 times better, cheaper, or more impactful than what exists today. What if, for example, we all had access to personalized artificial intelligence wellness care providers through emotional robots? Or what if the majority of our transportation services were provided by autonomous vehicles?
Now step backward from each vision to discover what’s needed to turn it into reality.
Like forecasting, backcasting can be improved by seeking diverse input. For example, consider carving out a few hours in a company-wide meeting to craft “headlines from the future.” Just a few hours of collaboration can spark new thinking and ignite fresh ideas. Such exercises can also fuel interdisciplinary engagement and encourage a sense of collective responsibility.
Don’t be afraid to get creative and even ditch the PowerPoint slides. Lowe’s Innovation Labs’ director Kyle Nel uses narrative driven innovation to imagine new futures. To jumpstart his efforts, Nel brought in science fiction writers and illustrators to create comic books that showcased possible alternatives stretching far beyond smaller, incremental changes, helping the company's leadership concretely imagine and visualize the Lowe’s store of the future.
Getting Comfortable With Ambiguity
One of the most challenging aspects of practicing the skills of a futurist is getting comfortable with the reality that we simply cannot predict the future. For many senior leaders, this is deeply unsettling. How can we possibly make big bets on the future without all the facts and data?
Most of us are uncomfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty. Boldly looking ahead elicits doubt, fear, and anxiety — emotions we’d rather hold in check. We can learn to overcome our discomfort with the unknown, and even begin to revel in it, by continuously pushing ourselves to learn new things and seek out new experiences and people.
We are all capable of becoming better futurists. In doing so, we not only architect hope of new possibilities, we also build more flexible, adaptive and resilient organizations in the process.
Image Credit: http://www.brinkley-ink.com/ ">Zoe Brinkley
The era of "Quantified Self" (a term coined in 2007 by US WIRED founding executive editor Kevin Kelly) is relatively new. The first http://www.wired.co.uk/topic/fitbit " target="_blank">Fitbit digital step counters launched in late 2009, and we've since seen an explosion of various wearables, apps and digital health devices all riding the exponential wave of smaller and cheaper mobile-connected and app-ified sensors and computing.
We are now at the point where it is possible to measure almost every component of human physiology and many elements of behavior. But just having data (in increasingly overwhelming amounts) from disparate devices and apps does not alone translate to better health and prevention or improved management of disease.
The data and analytics need to connect with clinical endeavors to be translated into knowledge and actionable information.
As we head into 2017, the data dots are starting to be connected at meaningful scale, particularly as incentives in healthcare become more aligned towards value-based care, rewarding prevention, proactive care and improved outcomes.
The internet of things is rapidly coming to the "internet of the body and healthcare,” from "hospital to phone.” With it comes the promise of leveraging these diverse mobile and connected technologies beyond common health and fitness applications to make them truly impactful for the prevention and management of acute and chronic disease, and to further bring healthcare outside of the four walls of a clinic or hospital. As an example, the NHS recently announced that it will soon provide apps and devices to help manage chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.
We are moving beyond simple wrist-based accelerometers. Smartwatches regularly capture heart rate, and soon may add cuffless continuous blood pressure monitoring and glucose measures. Disposable vital-sign patches like those from http://www.sensium-healthcare.com/sensiumvitals%A8-system#.WFPWDZKLRuU " target="_blank">SensiumVitals and http://www.vitalconnect.com/ " target="_blank">VitalConnect can transmit streaming ECG, posture, temperature, stress data and more, anywhere there is a cell signal.
Integrated home diagnostic "medical Tricorder" platforms and connected pill bottles are coming to market. These will be paired with Amazon Echo and http://your.md/ " target="_blank">Your.MD and similar healthcare chatbots and those with avatars likehttp://sense.ly/ " target="_blank"> Sense.ly virtual nurse as interfaces. Mental health can be discerned from analyzing our speech and the "digital exhaust" from our smartphones. Breath can be analyzed for more than alcohol, to track hydration status and molecules that can indicate a metabolic or malignant disease. Sensors in our beds or https://ouraring.com/ " target="_blank">rings can readily track the quantity and quality of sleep. Connected onesies or sensor-fitted pacifiers can track the vitals and activity of our newborns.
New wearables are being developed tohttp://www.gtechmedical.com/the-g-tech-patch.php " target="_blank"> track gut activity (helpful after a surgery or in patients with irritable bowel disease). Consumer EEGs are now on the market that can measure brainwaves and help entrain mindfulness and meditation, and perhaps detect cognitive problems early. Startups are selling "insideables" (sensors in our bodies, from contact lenses to glucometers), even "trainables" (such as http://uprightpose.com/ " target="_blank">Upright, a device that buzzes your back when slouching to entrain a better posture, which help many with lower-back pain). This, paired with an explosion of available genomic data (from initiatives like the Genomics England https://www.genomicsengland.co.uk/the-100000-genomes-project/ " target="_blank">100,000 Genome project) which can help stratify risk and select the most patient-specific prevention and interventions.
"The impact of exploding health data may be a big 'so what?' if the information isn't made easily accessible, digestible and actionable."
So, although it's exciting to witness the explosion of personal "omics," wearables, connected devices and thousands of health-related apps, the impact may be a big "so what?" if the information isn't made easily accessible, digestible and actionable.
Few individuals, whether a healthy triathlete or a patient struggling to manage a chronic disease, want to wear and charge multiple devices, log in to and manage several apps, and be fed raw or fragmented information that is not easily understandable or actionable nor connected to their coaching or medical team.
Similarly, clinicians need to have access to their patients' data in a useful, absorbable and reliable way that integrates seamlessly with their clinical workflow. No cardiologist wants to be liable for monitoring streaming 24/7 ECGs that can flow from smart sticky plasters, nor does your nurse practitioner want to have to log into your Fitbit account to review your activity and heart-rate data.
For these new and emerging technologies to enable proactive healthcare, barriers need to be reduced so that:
1. They are easy to use and reliably obtain accurate physiological data.
2. The information flowing from them is delivered and presented to the clinician in a useful, actionable form.
3. Machine learning and data analytics can be applied to extract the useful information and help make it actionable.
4. Incentives are aligned, including reimbursement to providers for leveraging connected care.
As we enter 2017, we will begin to move from a "Quantified Self" era, where the data has generally remained siloed on the devices and apps of the individual and not integrated into clinical care, to the emergence of "Quantified Health,” where the data from common consumers' wearables, scales, BP cuffs, glucometers and even home lab data, will flow through consumer's smartphones (via Apple's HealthKit and more recently via Google Fit and Samsung's S-Health) and integrate into electronic medical records (EMRs) of the clinician. This will bring feedback loops which can communicate back to individual patients, engaging and empowering patients along the way.
As of early 2016, with a single iPhone authorization, my HealthKit data (including steps taken, sleep, weight, blood pressure values and much more) could flow into my Stanford Hospital electronic medical record and MyStanford app to be tracked and visualized. A week after activation I received a note from my primary care physician noting that my shared data "looked good.”
"Like the check engine lights in our cars, software will help identify trends and alert the patient and their care teams much earlier."
Increasingly, like the check engine lights in our cars, software will check and parse the data from these streams to help identify trends and alert the patient and their care teams much earlier. Startups such as http://sentrian.com/ " target="_blank">Sentrian are making sense of remote patient data to decrease preventable hospital admissions by making predictions, alerting patients and caregivers to act early in the course of changes or deterioration.
The first examples of the check engine light for the body leveraging multiple signals are being demonstrated, as recently published by Stanford genetics professor Michael Synder—the https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2017/01/wearable-sensors-can-tell-when-you-are-getting-sick.html " target="_blank">integration of his wearable data enabled a diagnosis of Lyme disease before it was even suspected.
Healthcare systems like the NHS are beginning to “prescribe” connected health technologies in trials of digital health coaching for chronic conditions such as diabetes and in the NHS Connected Asthma program. As http://www.himss.org/ochsner-leverages-retail-connected-health-tools-apple-watch-engage-consumers " target="_blank">demonstrated by Ochsner Health System in Louisiana, smartwatches, phones and simple, connected blood-pressure-sensing cuffs demonstrated significantly improved outcomes in the treatment of hypertension. At the Mayo clinic, prescribing an app to heart-failure patients, along with a connected scale and blood-pressure cuff, reduced hospital readmissions by 40 percent.
While challenges in how we regulate, pay for and integrate into the care continuum remain, the quantification of health will have true uses, can be crowdsourced and shared, and will improve outcomes (and perhaps even lower costs) across healthcare.
This article was http://www.wired.co.uk/article/hospital-prescribing-tech ?" target="_blank">originally published in WIRED World in 2017. WIRED’s fifth annual trends briefing, predicting what’s coming next in the worlds of technology, science and design.
http://su.org/faculty-speakers/daniel-kraft/ ">Daniel Kraft, MD is faculty chair for medicine and neuroscience at http://su.org/ ">Singularity University and founded and chairs the http://exponentialmedicine.com/ ">Exponential Medicine Conference (http://exponentialmedicine.com/ ">next being held Nov 6–9th, 2017).
Image source: https://www.shutterstock.com " target="_blank">Shutterstock
When Jan Scheuermann volunteered for an experimental brain implant, she had no idea she was making neuroscience history.
Scheuermann, 54 at the time of surgery, had been paralyzed for 14 years due to a neurological disease that severed the neural connections between her brain and muscles. She could still feel her body, but couldn’t move her limbs.
Unwilling to give up, Scheuermann had two button-sized electrical implants inserted into her motor cortex. The implants tethered her brain to a robotic arm through two bunches of cables that protruded out from her skull.
Scheuermann’s bet paid off. With just a few days of practice, she was able to bring a bar of chocolate to herself, using only her mind to control the prosthetic.
https://singularityhub.com/2012/12/23/cyborg-future-draws-closer-as-woman-controls-robotic-arm-with-brain-implant/ ">That was 2012. The field of brain-machine interface has been on fire ever since.
Prototype neuroprosthetics can already https://singularityhub.com/2016/08/21/paralysis-partially-reversed-with-virtual-reality-tech-in-surprising-new-study/ ">let the paralyzed walk and https://singularityhub.com/2016/01/13/blind-woman-receives-bionic-eye-reads-a-clock-with-elation/ ">the blind see again—granted, the effects are still far from perfect. Various exoskeletons and retinal implants are steadily making their way through human trials, striving to reach mass market by the end of the decade. Future brain implants may be even bolder, helping restore memory loss in the elderly or https://singularityhub.com/2015/11/15/first-human-tests-of-memory-boosting-brain-implant-a-big-leap-forward/ ">giving healthy brains a boost.
But we’re not there yet. And electrodes—the heart of these devices—are partially to blame.
"Using electrodes to target specific brain circuits is like bringing a bazooka to an ant."
Most electrodes come in a stamp-sized array that activates any neuron in their vicinity. Using them to target specific brain circuits is like bringing a bazooka to an ant—you’ll get the target, but also stimulate thousands of other cells and potentially lead to unintended effects.
They also don’t like biological environments. Chemicals in the brain erode the electrodes over time, and the foreign implant often causes surrounding tissue to scar. Since scar tissue can’t conduct electricity, it renders the electrode useless.
To get around these issues, a team from Harvard and https://www.parc.com/ ">Palo Alto Research Center went back to the drawing board. Recently, they http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/2/12/e1600889.full ">published research on a new type of implant made of tiny, thin copper coils embedded in silicon. Unlike its predecessors, the microcoil uses magnetic waves rather than electricity to stimulate the brain.
“We are pretty enamored by these coils right now,” lead author Dr. Shelley Fried http://www.popsci.com/tiny-brain-implant-could-help-paralyzed-people-manipulate-prosthetics-more-precisely?dom=rss-default&src=syn ">remarked at the time. And indeed they are. In May, the team is testing their implant in the visual cortex of monkeys, Fried told Singularity Hub. The goal? To artificially recreate the activity patterns that normally come from the eyes—and have the monkeys “see” the world without ever using their sight.
Using magnets to tweak brain activity sounds bizarre, but scientists have long harnessed magnetic fields to treat severe depression and anxiety.
The therapy, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), usually involves a figure-8 shaped wand that scientists wave over certain parts of the patients’ skull. The device delivers focused pulses of magnetic waves that travel through the skull and trigger tiny electrical fields. Depending on the orientation of the fields, they can either jolt or dampen the activity of select neurons.
Magnetic waves can also easily penetrate scar tissue, making them ideal for long-term use.
But TMS has a size problem. “Even the most precise TMS coils activate much larger regions without any selectivity,” says Fried. The roadblock has been making coils small enough to implant without losing efficacy.
Using an algorithm, the team played with different designs until they found the optimal device configuration: tiny metal coils, each thinner than a single strand of hair. Normally the coils are inert; when electricity passes through, they generate surprisingly strong magnetic fields—strong enough to stimulate neurons.
Because they were so small, the “microcoils allow for much finer control of activation,” to the point that the team could specifically control certain types of neurons within a thin vertical section of the cortex, explains Fried.
The coils were then wrapped in a biocompatible silicon sheath. This makes the brain less likely to attack the implant and decreases the chance of scarring.
The team first tested their device on slices of a mouse brain in a petri dish, to make sure that the microcoils could reliably activate neurons.
"The implant consistently worked like a dream: precise, responsive, and safe."
Then, using a thin, long needle, they inserted the coils into the area of the mouse brain that controls whisker movement. The coils were tethered to electrical cables to power them on, but later generations will likely utilize wireless technologies, says Fried.
When researchers activated the device, the mouse flicked its whiskers—forward, back or both ways—depending on the pattern of stimulation. In multiple trials, the implant consistently worked like a dream: precise, responsive, and safe.
Eye on the prize
The results were so promising that the team made immediate plans to collaborate with primate scientists and test the device on a therapeutic goal: restoring vision.
The new effort will be led by http://neuro.hms.harvard.edu/people/faculty/richard-born ">Dr. Richard Born, a neurobiologist at Harvard Medical School and one of the world's experts in primate visual cortex. Initial experiments will focus on using single microcoils to induce a broad sense of seeing light. If all goes well, the team will follow up with arrays of coils to try to induce more spatially complex patterns.
They’re entering a burgeoning field.
Several retinal prosthetics are already in development, all of which rely on electrode microarrays. These devices, though life changing, generally can only produce images that are grainy and black-and-white. Another potential therapy eschews implants altogether, instead looking to https://singularityhub.com/2015/09/20/meet-the-mind-controlling-algae-protein-that-could-cure-blindness/ ">gene therapy and optogenetics to give blind patients back their vision—a cool idea, but one that comes with its own challenges.
"By artificially inputting activity into the visual cortex, we might be able to trick the brain into 'seeing' things without needing eyes."
The microcoil study stands out in its ambition. Rather than trying to replace the retina, the team is focusing on the final node of visual information processing: the visual cortex. The visual cortex is a master computer: it synthesizes all the information coming from the eyes and transforms electrical spikes into objects, faces and motion. That’s all vision is: patterns of activity.
By artificially inputting similar activity into the visual cortex, we might be able to trick the brain into “seeing” things without needing eyes. The idea’s been hard to test with electrodes, mostly because they lack finesse. Since electrodes often spread the activation to non-targeted neurons, they introduce so much noise to the images that they’re incomprehensible.
Because the activation they induce is so precise, microcoils may finally overcome this problem.
“Prosthetics implanted into the visual cortex can be used to treat a much wider range of visual dysfunctions than the retinal device,” says Fried.
Retinal prosthetics are mainly limited to outer retinal degenerative diseases. Cortical devices, in contrast, “can be used for just about all forms of blindness, including glaucoma, stroke and even traumatic eye injury,” she explains.
And vision’s only the first step.
If successful, the microcoils could be tested in other brain regions, such as those ravaged by Parkinson’s disease or depression. They could even be used to augment existing neural prostheses such as cochlear implants. Outside the brain, they could be used to stimulate the millions of neurons in the gut, which may help people with irritable bowl syndrome or even obesity.
Although microcoils are just beginning to be tested in primates, these applications may not be that far away. If the primate experiments are successful, the same technology will be optimized for human testing. The team hopes to begin human testing in 2018.
“I think it’s too early to say that coils are going to be the method of the future, but I think there’s definitely a possibility that they might,” http://www.popsci.com/tiny-brain-implant-could-help-paralyzed-people-manipulate-prosthetics-more-precisely?dom=rss-default&src=syn ">says Fried.
Image Credit: http://www.shutterstock.com ">Shutterstock
Today’s most successful companies, the ones that are “crushing it,” started as a series of crazy ideas, followed by experiments to test just how viable those ideas might be.
Experimentation is a crucial mechanism for driving breakthroughs in any organization.
If you want to create a successful, hyper-growth company, you've got to focus on empowering your teams to rapidly experiment.
Over the years I have had the pleasure of sitting down with wizards of experimentation, including Jeff Holden, Uber’s Chief Product Officer; Astro Teller, CEO of X; and Jake Knapp, Design Partner at Google Ventures.
Through my conversations, I have compiled a suite of best practices for running great experiments and building a culture of experimentation at your company.
In this post we will discuss:
Building a Culture of Experimentation
- Running effective experiments
- Google Ventures design sprints
- Building a culture of experimentation
The only constant is change, and the rate of change is increasing.
Ultimately, standing still equals death, and the only way to succeed is to be constantly experimenting and innovating (think of it as Darwinian evolution at hyperspeed).
Hyper-growth and experimentation are very closely linked.
Jeff Bezos likes to say, "Our success at Amazon is a function of how many experiments we do per year, per month, per week, per day…"
Jeff Holden, who has built experimental engines at Amazon, Groupon, and Uber, agrees: "The philosophy is you have to build your company to be a big experimental engine and it has to start right at the beginning."
It's not easy to just "retrofit" your company with that engine later—it's a cultural shift. You have to be in the mindset of constantly testing crazy ideas, new business models, new products and new processes.
At Amazon, in the early days, they created a standard experimental platform that was available to almost everyone—meaning, if somebody wanted to test a new button or new feature on the website, they could.
The problem was that many of these experiments were useless.
Jeff Holden continues, "They had no chance of yielding any value. There wasn't any point to them. We were just kind of curious. We were just running a lot of experiments—which have a cost, by the way—and were taking up experimental slots [so others couldn't experiment], and things started colliding with each other."
Their solution was to create an 'Experiments Group'—if you wanted to do an experiment, you had to run it through this group.
The first question the group would ask was: What's your hypothesis?
The second question: What's the value proposition to our company?
"If you couldn't articulate your hypothesis crisply, or your hypothesis didn't matter for Amazon or Uber or Groupon, then they must not do that experiment. Oftentimes you'll send folks back to the drawing board or ask them to recast the experiment. The company learned, and we got much better."
Finally, "You have to be able to interpret the experimental results really well. It's statistics. Know the difference between statistically significant and insignificant results."
Uber, for example, runs thousands of experiments per month to test different features. They A/B test key features that are core to the business and choose the one that performs best.
"Build a team inside your organization that has an experimental ethos, and make sure that the experiment, value proposition, and hypothesis are really thought through before you invest the time and energy to actually do them."
In general, only hire people who are familiar with the experimentation/data-driven mindset and set the stage for experimentation in the beginning.
How to Launch Good Experiments
Astro Teller, Chief of Moonshots, explains that the following three principles describe a good experiment:
Principle 1: Any experiment where you already know the outcome is a BAD experiment.
Principle 2: Any experiment when the outcome will not change what you are doing is also a BAD experiment.
Principle 3: Everything else (especially where the input and output are quantifiable) is a GOOD experiment.
Seems simple enough, right?
You must ask the kind of questions to which you don't currently know the answer, but if you did, you’d change the way you operate.
If you already know the answer, or if you are testing an insignificant detail that doesn’t matter, you’ll just be wasting time and money.
To get good questions/experiments, you must create a culture that incentivizes asking good questions and designing good experiments.
Astro describes a very unique approach to doing just this:
“At X, we set up a ‘Get Weirder Award.’ The whole point of the Get Weirder Award was to focus the team on experiments and to drive home they needed to think in terms of experiments.”
Teams would be challenged to ask “weird” questions—to put forth crazy ideas around framing problems differently and to design experiments that really push the limits.
Critically, Astro only gives out the Get Weirder Award after the experiments are run.
“If you give out the award after they’ve run the experiment, independent of the results, then people start to really feel that you don't actually care about the outcome. You care about the quality of the question. So every two weeks, we would give out an award for the best experiment.”
Doing so constantly (and viscerally) reinforced the behavior of asking good questions—accordingly, at X, they’ve built a culture around celebrating the questions themselves.
Google Ventures: Design Sprint
A sprint, invented by my friends Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky of Google Ventures, is a fantastic tool for rapid experimentation in your company.
I have leveraged the sprint process across all of my companies.
Participating in a sprint orients the entire team and aims their efforts at hitting clearly defined goals.
Sprints are useful starting points when kicking off a new feature, workflow, product, business or solving problems with an existing product.
Here are the five phases of a sprint, typically done sequentially over the course of five days, that you can try with your team:
Day 1: Understand: Develop a common understanding of the working context, including the problem, the business, the customer, the value proposition and how success will be determined. By the end of this phase, you should also aim to identify some of your biggest risks and start to make plans to mitigate them. Common understanding will empower everyone’s decision-making and contributions to the project. Understanding your risks enables you to stay risk-averse and avoid investing time and money on things that rely on unknowns or assumptions.
Day 2: Diverge: Generate insights and potential solutions to your customer’s problems. Explore as many ways of solving the problems as possible, regardless of how realistic, feasible, or viable they may or may not be. The opportunity this phase generates enables you to evaluate and rationally eliminate options and identify potentially viable solutions to move forward with. This phase is also crucial to innovation and marketplace differentiation.
Day 3: Converge: Take all of the possibilities exposed during phases 1 and 2, eliminate the wild and currently unfeasible ideas and hone in on the ideas you feel best about. These ideas will guide the implementation of a prototype in phase 4 that will be tested with existing or potential customers. Not every idea is actionable or feasible, and only some will fit the situation and problem context. Exploring many alternative solutions helps provide confidence that you are heading in the right direction.
Day 4: Prototype: Build a prototype that can be tested with existing or potential customers. Design the prototype to learn about specific unknowns and assumptions. Determine its medium by time constraints and learning goals. Paper, Keynote, and simple HTML/CSS are all good prototyping tools for software products and 3D printing for hardware. The prototype storyboard and the first three phases of the sprint should make prototype-building fairly straightforward. There shouldn’t be much uncertainty around what must be done. A prototype is a very low-cost way of gaining valuable insights about what the product needs to be. Once you know what works and what doesn’t, you can confidently invest time and money on more permanent implementation.
Day 5: Test and Learn: Test the prototype with existing or potential customers. It is important to test with existing or potential customers because they are the ones for whom you want your product to work and be valuable. Their experiences with the problem and knowledge of the context have influence on their interaction with your product that non-customers won’t have. Your customers will show you the product they need. Testing your ideas helps you learn more about things you previously knew little about and gives you a much clearer understanding of which directions you should move towards next. It can also help you course-correct and avoid building the wrong product.
Sprints offer a path to solve big problems, test new ideas, and accelerate the decision-making process. By the way, you can learn a lot more about the sprint process http://www.gv.com/sprint/ ">here.
Image Credit: http://www.shutterstock.com ">Shutterstock
From digital currency to machine learning, the financial industry is being rocked by exponential technologies. Blockchain, artificial intelligence, big data, robotics, quantum computing, crowdfunding, and computing systems are allowing startups to solve consumer needs in new ways.
The downfall of the world’s largest institutions may not be imminent, but these new technologies are breaking up the previously rock solid foundation of finance, and allowing the fintech world to spring through the cracks. What’s happening now will rewrite the future of finance for years to come. By recognizing this reality and planning for it now, financial professionals can learn to thrive in an increasingly uncertain global economy.
https://exponential.singularityu.org/finance/?direct_reg=No&invitationcode=SUHUB2017®istration_code=SUHUB2017&utm_source=hub&utm_campaign=xfin17&utm_medium=feb22article&utm_content=link1 ">Singularity University’s Exponential Finance was created to bring the financial services and tech industries together in a deliberate and meaningful way. Now, in 2017, Exponential Finance is the definitive place to learn, connect and collaborate with fellow financial leaders to reinvent the financial industry.
https://exponential.singularityu.org/finance/?direct_reg=No&invitationcode=SUHUB2017®istration_code=SUHUB2017&utm_source=hub&utm_campaign=xfin17&utm_medium=feb22article&utm_content=link2 ">Exponential Finance 2017 will be held June 7-9 at the Marriott Marquis at Times Square in New York City. The event will feature world-renowned leaders who will share their insights on how exponential technologies are impacting the financial industry, as well as how you can grab a seat at the table.
CNBC’s Bob Pisani will emcee, and speakers will include the likes of Mary Harman (Enterprise Payments Executive at Bank of America) discussing the latest trends in digital banking, Anju Patwardhan (Senior Partner at CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund and Member of Global Future Council on Blockchain at World Economic Forum) on blockchain and the future of our digital identities, and Peter Randall (CEO at SETL) on capital markets and digital banking.
These individuals will be joined by Peter Diamandis (Co-founder and Chairman at Singularity University), Ray Kurzweil (Co-Founder and Chancellor at Singularity University), Angela Strange (Partner at Andreessen Horowitz), Jane Barratt (Founder & CEO at GoldBean), Bill Bachrach (Financial Advisor Trainer), Lisa Kay Solomon (Managing Director of Transformational Practices at Singularity University) Neil Jacobstein (AI and Robotics Chair at Singularity University), John Bowen (Founder and CEO at CEG Worldwide), Roman Chwyl (Head of Financial Services Google Cloud), Ric Edelman (Chairman and CEO at Edelman Financial Services), Ashish Gadnis (Co-founder at BanQu, Chair of Financial Inclusion Working Committee at Wall Street Blockchain Alliance), and many others.
As Peter Diamandis wrote in his book Abundance, “Technology is a resource-liberating mechanism. It can make the once scarce the now abundant.” It’s this sentiment that drives Singularity University to produce Exponential Finance—to connect individuals and organizations and to share knowledge that will liberate resources and create abundance.
Exponential Finance will give participants an interactive and collaborative experience, and will send them home with an understanding of what the future will look like and how to act on it immediately. Participants will have the opportunity to see demos from more than 30 groundbreaking technology companies while connecting with business leaders from leading firms across the industry.
https://exponential.singularityu.org/finance/?direct_reg=No&invitationcode=SUHUB2017®istration_code=SUHUB2017&utm_source=hub&utm_campaign=xfin17&utm_medium=feb22article&utm_content=link3 ">Apply here to join Singularity University and the world’s most forward-thinking financial leaders at Exponential Finance this June. Save up to 15% as a Singularity Hub reader.
Image Credit: https://www.shutterstock.com/ ">Shutterstock
Living life on the edge isn’t just a motto for extreme athletes.
Our planet is literally crawling with organisms that have somehow adapted to living in extreme environments, from the frigid waters surrounding Antarctica to mantle rocks thrust above the seafloor to crystal-encrusted caves.
Scientists have a name for critters that live in the most inhospitable corners of the world: extremophiles. Here I profile five extremophiles whose ability to survive in unthinkable places isn’t just a cool National Geographic snapshot. Each one has something to teach us about how we might further explore the solar system, learn about the evolution of our planet, or even advance medical science.
Outer space algae
What it is: Two strains of cryophilic algae. One is a green algal strain (Sphaerocystis genus) found in Svalbard, Norway, the other a blue-green cyanobacterium (Nostoc genus) from Antarctica.
What it does: The cryophilic algae—cold-loving species with special adaptations such as the ability to survive extreme desiccation—were transported to the International Space Station. There they were exposed to extreme temperature fluctuations in the vacuum of space, not to mention considerable ultraviolet and cosmic radiation. Not only did all but one specimen survive this extended stay in low-Earth orbit, but the Norwegian strains grew new populations. Researchers are now studying whether the long-term radiation exposure damaged algae DNA.
Why it’s important: Astronauts—or even colonists—on a mission to Mars won’t be able to survive on potatoes alone, despite what we might see in films like “The Martian.” Algae are a good source of protein, and hardier strains could be grown in special greenhouses, according to researchers at the Fraunhofer-Institute in Potsdam, which led the research.
The scientists at Fraunhofer also say that the ability of algae to survive—and even thrive—in space could bolster theories that life on Earth originated from space. The concept, known as panspermia, suggests that the seeds of life rode to the planet on meteorites.
What it is: Paenibacillus sp. LC231 is a bacteria found in Lechuguilla Cave, located within Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico, where it has enjoyed a lightless existence for at least four million years.
What it does: The Lechuguilla bacteria has shown http://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms13803 ">resistance to most antibiotics used today, including drugs of last resort, such as daptomycin, according to research published in Nature Communications. The researchers found that Paenibacillus is resistant to 18 different antibiotics. Its defense mechanisms are identical to similar species found in soils. That means the genetic basis for antibiotic resistance existed well before humans started using drugs to treat disease.
Why it’s important: The researchers identified five resistant elements, which they now realize are widespread, that could become pathogenic. That’s the bad news. The good news is that the discovery gives scientists time to develop drugs to overcome these different types of resistance—decades before pathogens ever become dangerous.
“The diversity of antibiotic resistance and its prevalence in microbes across the globe should be humbling to everyone who uses these lifesaving drugs,” says Gerry Wright, co-author on the paper and scientific director of McMaster’s Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research, in a https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-12/mu-seb120616.php ">press release.
What it is: Dormant microbes that have been locked inside giant crystals of the Naica cave system in Mexico for up to 50,000 years. Science writer Seth Borensetin wrote that the https://phys.org/news/2017-02-biologists-weird-cave-life-years.html#jCp ">40 different strains of microbes (along with a few viruses) are far removed from their nearest relatives, with 10 percent different genetic material.
What it does: That’s still under investigation. Researchers just presented their work at this month’s annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Like the organisms in Lechuguilla Cave, these bugs derive their energy chemosynthetically, chewing on rocks and minerals.
Why it’s important: Life in other worlds likely won’t be aliens with almond-shaped eyes, but microbes that exist on a chemosynthetic diet.
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-39013829 ">Says Penelope Boston, director of NASA’s Astrobiology Institute, who presented the research at AAAS: “The astrobiological link is obvious in that any extremophile system that we’re studying allows us to push the envelope of life further on Earth, and we add it to this atlas of possibilities that we can apply to different planetary settings.”
What it is: A diverse microbial community found in rock cores taken from an underwater mountain, Atlantis Massif, which rises about 14,000 feet from the seafloor in the Atlantic Ocean. They were discovered during an international research expedition involving 13 countries.
What it does: Tectonic activity in the geologically active area has pushed mantle rocks from deep within the Earth closer to the surface. When exposed to seawater, these highly reactive rocks undergo a process called serpentinization. In samples of the serpentine materials, scientists found evidence for hydrogen and methane, which microbes metabolize to grow and form new cells. This is yet another example of life existing far from the photosynthetic world that we understand.
Why it’s important: The microbes of Atlantis Massif offer another possible scenario of how life might exist in other worlds. In addition, these microorganisms point the way to how life might have evolved on early Earth.
What it is: A family of fish called Channichthyidae that live in the Southern Ocean that surrounds Antarctica, where the average water temperature is about 28 degrees Fahrenheit. The high salinity content of the ocean prevents the water from freezing.
What it does: To live in such harsh conditions requires special adaptations. The Channichthyidae, also known as icefish, have antifreeze glycoproteins that keep ice crystals from forming in their blood. Many also evolved without swim bladders, which helps control buoyance in the water. To compensate, icefish have fatty tissue and little bone density. However, what really sets this family of fish apart from others in the Southern Ocean is that they lack hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen to the body’s cells. Fortunately for these white-blooded fish, polar waters are rich in oxygen.
Why it’s important: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3537155/ ">Studying these “bloodless” fish might offer many insights into medical science, according to polar researchers. For example, hemoglobin is a protein that contains iron, which promotes the formation of cell-ravaging free radicals that cause oxidative stress. Diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, among others, are associated with oxidative stress. Lacking hemoglobin, icefish offer a possible model on how to reduce problems caused by molecules run amok. Icefish can also serve as an example—with its low bone density—for studying bone development and osteoporosis.
The study of extremophiles isn’t just about understanding mother Earth. These organisms that live in impossible places may someday help us to understand new places beyond this planet, discover miracle drugs or even survive the hazards of deep space.
Special thanks to Steven Profaizer, director of communications at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, and Kelly Siman, Ph.D Biomimicry Fellow at the University of Akron, for their help in compiling this list.
Image Credit: Fraunhofer-Institute
Humanity has come a long way since the very first cities began to emerge about ten thousand years ago. Today, places like New York, Tokyo and Dubai are centers of innovation and human progress. Urban projects globally are pushing the limits of engineering, design and architecture. Exponential technologies are being integrated into the very skeleton of human civilization. Above all, we are seeing an emergence of futuristic societies with an inspiring vision for humanity.
From the man-made https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palm_Islands ">Palm Islands in Dubai to the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghai_Tower ">Shanghai tower in China, cities are home to the world’s most impressive engineering feats. They continue to compete with one another for taller skyscrapers, faster transportation systems and cleaner energy sources.
Exponential technologies are revolutionizing the future of infrastructure and disrupting the construction industry in the process. Dubai recently announced the opening of the https://www.cnet.com/news/dubai-unveils-worlds-first-3d-printed-office-building/ ">first ever 3https://www.cnet.com/news/dubai-unveils-worlds-first-3d-printed-office-building/ ">D printed office, and Amsterdam may soon be home to the http://mx3d.com/projects/bridge/ ">first ever 3http://mx3d.com/projects/bridge/ ">D printed bridge. With greater convenience, innovative design capabilities and reduced waste, 3D printing may dramatically bring down the cost of quality infrastructure. Given that funding has been a major bottleneck for enabling better infrastructure in many countries, including the US, this could be a liberating tool.
Another major force that will transform the urban landscape is the emergence of the Internet of Things. City-wide systems would use wireless signals to gather data from objects like trash cans, lights and even entire buildings. In a project entirely crowdsourced by citizens, https://thenextweb.com/insider/2015/08/19/the-things-network-wants-to-make-every-city-smart-starting-with-amsterdam/ ">Amsterdam is set to implement “The Things Network”, joining Taipei and Brasilia to become one of many emerging smart cities.
The applications of such “smart” cities are revolutionary. Many big players such as IBM and Cisco are developing data-driven systems for urban planning, transportation, energy, law enforcement and much more. Barcelona alone has experienced ahttp://www.techrepublic.com/article/smart-cities/ "> $58 million annual savings by using smart water meters. Imagine the potential if this kind of data-driven technology was applied to every city in the world, in every possible domain. City officials could plan for efficient energy usage, optimal transportation and minimal pollution levels.
Naturally, many concerns have been raised about privacy and autonomy with the overflow of information. Big city data will certainly transform official urban decision-making and even how politicians choose to interact with their citizens. While there is certainly value for the big data from cities to improve the lives of its citizens, it may also serve as an exploitable tool to private organizations and marketing agencies.
With the rise of technology comes increasing mobilization. Many prototypes of self-driving cars are already being tested in California and autonomous transport pods are running in Masdar City, Abu Dhabi. This increasing mobilization is expected both within and between major cities in the world. Perhaps one of the most anticipated projects is http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2016/11/10/500mph-hyperloop-train-will-travel-from-dubai-to-abu-dhabi-in-12/ ">Elon Musk’s hyperloop, a 500mph train that will travel between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, two cities in the United Arab Emirates 120 kilometers apart, in less than 12 minutes.
The increased connectedness between cities is not only a matter of physical mobility, but digital awareness as well. Dennis Frenchman, from the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning, has said, “Digital technology has put a nervous system into the planet, so we can actually feel the pain in China. This is a global level of consciousness and interdependence that we just never had before.” It is clear that world’s cities are becoming increasingly interconnected, both physically and digitally.
A greener future
As climate change becomes a growing threat against our species, humanity is faced with significant decisions. Many cities are integrating multiple solutions that involve sustainable infrastructure, cleaner transportation and renewable energy sources.
In the realm of renewable energy, the price of solar power alone is dropping to unprecedented lows. The cost of solar panels is expected to fall https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jan/26/solar-panel-costs-predicted-to-fall-10-a-year ">by 10 percenthttps://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jan/26/solar-panel-costs-predicted-to-fall-10-a-year "> every year. In some countries, wind energy is a http://www.huffingtonpost.com/adnan-z-amin/post_10557_b_8600240.html ">cheaper source than coal. Many cities are embracing these trends and integrating them into their urban development. Copenhagen, the most eco-friendly city in the world, is set to be http://ec.europa.eu/environment/europeangreencapital/winning-cities/2014-copenhagen/ ">carbon neutral by 2025, leading the way for all other major cities to follow in its footsteps.
In Abu Dhabi, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masdar_City ">Masdar City is one of the first zero-carbon, zero-emission and zero-car cities. One of its many notable features is a 45-meter-high wind tower that keeps desert temperatures as low as 20C when it’s 35C in other parts of the country. This is a step towards climate-controlled cities. The city is also designed to be a hub for innovative cleantech companies and clean energy research facilities.
The “greenification” of cities is also being led by the emergence of vertical farms. These vertical forests aren’t only aesthetically pleasing, they solve a crucial problem. http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/news/population/world-urbanization-prospects-2014.html ">By the year 2050, two thirds of the world’s population will be living in cities, and as the global population continues to increase, more land will be required to feed them.
Vertical farming could be a solution for cities to grow sustainably, with http://ecoed.wikispaces.com/file/view/vertical+farming-+learn+more.pdf ">advantages like increased crop production and energy sustainability. Developers from many local governments around the world, including New York, Paris and Bangalore have expressed interest in integrating vertical farming projects within their cities.
Cities are considered to be the center of development. As technological growth allows for an increased quality of life, access to resources and inter-connectedness, we will see an acceleration in innovation. This innovation may not simply be technological, but societal as well. Research has consistently shown that bigger, denser, and more affluent cities are some of the http://www.citylab.com/housing/2015/05/tolerance-and-intolerance-in-the-city/394385/ ">more tolerant places in the world. Cities are known to be the places most welcome to immigrants, artists and institutions. Cities from San Diego to London are investing in innovation hubs, which not only create jobs and boost the economy, but also integrate the very culture of innovation into their communities.
Above all, cities demonstrate that any goal within the laws of physics is possible. They continue to push the boundaries of human progress in all domains, whether it be creative, technological or societal. Pushing these boundaries will undoubtedly have a profound impact on citizens’ mindsets. The prime minister of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, said it best: “The future belongs to those who can imagine it, design it, and execute it. It isn’t something you await, but rather create.”
Image Credit: http://www.shutterstock.com ">Shutterstock