"We're all practical futurists now. The future happens so quickly that we need to make plans here and now for what will happen next." These are the words of technology pioneer Michael Rogers, an author and futurist who recently completed two years as futurist-in-residence for The New York Times. He is a columnist for MSNBC.com, and his consultancy, Practical Futurist, helps businesses and organizations worldwide think about the future. Read More >
Virtualization of the Future
The “virtualization” of our world has greatly accelerated. Work from home, telemedicine, virtual shopping, distance learning, socializing, exercise: this trend alone will impact every sector of the economy. But of course there is much more. Consumers will emerge with a new desire for security and control, yet lagging incomes will change what they can afford. The public will continue to seek authoritative information sources, with a new focus on wellness. Read More >
Management will face questions about localization, automation, staffing and real estate. And this is just a start: the prognosis seems to change daily. Read Less ^
Sometimes it seems as if society has fast-forwarded five years in the last year: far more of our shopping, work and schooling now happens online, and post-COVID, not everything will go back. In addition, after so much uncertainty, consumers will seek security, safety, trusted relationships and reliable information. At the same time many families and businesses will struggle with limited financial resources. Big challenges--but also an opportunity for bold thinking and new initiatives around services, communication and community.
Cognitive computing is the latest and most potent expression of artificial intelligence. Software and robots can now learn from experience and then reason and act upon information--often coming up with insights that humans might not reach. Because they are “cloud-based”, these powerful thinking tools will be accessible even to small organizations and individuals. The result will be new efficiencies and surprising new intelligent services that will change the very nature of work and challenge us to identify what skills are uniquely human.
For this popular speech, Michael—who is also a best-selling science fiction writer— does an interview to learn more about your business, practice or discipline. He then creates a realistic scenario of what your profession or business may be like in the mid-Twenties. He’ll identify potential new products, new customers and new challenges. He’s done it for lawyers, health care professionals, transportation companies, retailers, educators, financial services companies and more—even a luxury goods manufacturer!
Over the next decade, more and more of our work, what we care about and how we interact with others will involve the Internet, intelligent computers and the Internet of Things. If you think that’s already happened...just listen to what Michael predicts is next. Add to that the rise of a new generation of “digital natives” who are remarkably comfortable with virtual relationships. What will this mean for how our businesses and organizations must evolve in the years to come? How will products change to meet new needs and what will companies do to reach their customers?
Never before has management’s life been so...interesting. Business, government and society are all creating a vast new digital infrastructure, from smart sensors and cognitive computing to wearable computers, extended social networks and virtual workplaces. That puts leaders in the midst of not just technical challenges but broader social quandaries such as the nature of privacy, white collar automation, reskilling workers, the rule of law in cyberspace--not to mention the strategic direction of the enterprise itself. How can successful managers discover and implement innovation while still meeting the daily challenges of business?
We’re all educators--either as professional teachers, or as managers, team leaders, mentors, or parents. In the future, we will be permanent students as well. The online world represents a powerful opportunity for education to reach a wider, more diverse audience. But it’s also a challenge to the future of both teachers and campuses. And there’s a second issue: what do we teach? Now that young people live with one foot in the virtual world, how does that impact education and employment? What skills will our students initially bring (or not bring) to campus, and what skills will they need to make their way in an increasingly automated world? Michael has spoken to educators worldwide ranging from K-12 to college, law and medicine.
The future is bright for medicine: telemedicine, wellness monitors, personal genomics, electronic health records, and more. Plus: “big data” and smart computers will choose the best and most efficient treatment options based on actual outcomes. All this progress will come with caveats, of course: how do we keep the human element in healthcare? What are the privacy implications of personal genomic data? How do we fund the latest technologies while still making sure that basic healthcare is affordable Michael has presented this topic to pharmaceutical companies, hospital networks, health insurers, medical educators and more.
"Some futurists are good storytellers with plenty of charisma, but no wisdom or experience; and others have loads of experience but no charisma. You demonstrated both!"
"Michael presents as though he is talking with you, versus at you. He’s someone you would love to be seated next to at any event!"
"You hit a home run with this group. Longtime bar association executives who can be somewhat jaded were particularly enthusiastic about your presentation."
"Thank you for the excellent talk you gave to our audience yesterday. The range of topics you addressed was thought-provoking and exactly on target with the theme of Building Bridges to the Future."
"Many of the delegates mentioned that your session was the most informative of the program; they especially appreciated your warmth and wit. We were very pleased that your remarks were so carefully tailored for our audience, and that you delivered exactly the message we had planned."
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