What’s Next?

Rotman Management Magazine - - FROM THE EDITOR - by Frank Spencer and Yvette Mon­tero Sal­vatico

Most of us can­not fathom the pro­found changes that are at our doorstep. Fol­low­ing are just some of the dis­rup­tions that will trans­form the na­ture of in­no­va­tion and break­throughs in to­day’s or­ga­ni­za­tions.

Post Cit­i­zen­ship..

To­day’s land­scape of megac­i­ties, hy­per mo­bil­ity and dig­i­tal economies is driv­ing the move to ‘global cit­i­zen­ship’. As ex­perts have noted, the adage that “ge­og­ra­phy is des­tiny” is giv­ing way to the idea that “con­nec­tiv­ity is des­tiny.” In this new world, na­tion­al­ity and cit­i­zen­ship no longer de­ter­mine eco­nomic and so­cial suc­cess.

Dig­i­tal Val­ues.

Tra­di­tion­ally, val­ues have been cre­ated and passed along through fam­i­lies, com­mu­ni­ties and as­so­ci­a­tions. How­ever, the rise of the In­ter­net is chang­ing the way val­ues are formed, dis­sem­i­nated and adopted, and the land­scape of the dig­i­tal en­vi­ron­ment is even fos­ter­ing new ideals that may or may not trans­late to the phys­i­cal world.

Dig­i­tal Iden­ti­ties.

Be­yond the en­tirety of an in­di­vid­ual’s on­line ac­tiv­ity, a dig­i­tal iden­tity is a set of at­tributes used by com­put­ing sys­tems to rep­re­sent and au­then­ti­cate any per­son, or­ga­ni­za­tion, ap­pli­ca­tion or de­vice. In other words, your dig­i­tal iden­tity is your on­line avatar. Many are sug­gest­ing that we will soon need to make sure that ev­ery­one is given a dig­i­tal iden­tity at birth in or­der to pro­tect our in­for­ma­tion, par­tic­i­pate in eco­nomic sys­tems, or live in the in­creas­ingly ubiq­ui­tous world of the In­ter­net.

Ro­botic Re­la­tion­ships.

Be­yond the pop­u­lar con­ver­sa­tions that en­vi­sion th­ese machines as our teach­ers, care­givers and even sex­ual part­ners, ro­bots are now be­ing lever­aged to so­cially en­gi­neer dor­mant emo­tions and val­ues in their car­bon-based cre­ators. Many ed­u­ca­tional and or­ga­ni­za­tional re­searchers are find­ing that in­creased re­la­tion­ships with ro­bots en­hances the hu­man ten­dency and ca­pac­ity to­ward cre­ative col­lab­o­ra­tion.

The Dat­i­fi­ca­tion of Na­ture.

Un­manned ae­rial ve­hi­cles (UAVS), bet­ter known as drones, are al­ready re­shap­ing the way we see the world. As sci­en­tists use UAVS to gather data on the Earth in or­der to bet­ter un­der­stand the forces of na­ture, we’re see­ing a shift in the way that we in­ter­pret the world around us through the eyes

of drones. The ‘datafi­ca­tion’ of na­ture could lead to an ‘In­ter­net of Na­ture’, lead­ing to vast dis­rup­tions in agri­cul­ture, sus­tain­abil­ity, and the way we live on our planet.

Net­worked Mat­ter.

The ever-grow­ing net­work of cars, build­ings, cloth­ing—and ev­ery other phys­i­cal ob­ject you can imag­ine—will be con­nected and speak­ing to one an­other through the use of sen­sors, soft­ware and smart technology.

Brain-to-com­puter In­ter­face.

The di­rect com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween an en­hanced or aug­mented hu­man brain and any ex­ter­nal com­pu­ta­tional de­vice, in­clud­ing the use of in­for­ma­tion technology, neu­ro­pros­thet­ics, cy­ber­net­ics, and ge­netic en­gi­neer­ing.

Ge­netic Mod­i­fi­ca­tion.

Long be­fore gene-edit­ing kits be­came a com­mon fea­ture in the kitchens of cit­i­zen sci­en­tists, gov­ern­ments and in­no­va­tion labs across the globe be­gan to wres­tle with the ad­vance­ments of crop ma­nip­u­la­tion, de­signer ba­bies and ar­ti­fi­cial wombs. There are eth­i­cal ques­tions to an­swer, but the im­pact of bio­engi­neer­ing will be un­de­ni­able.

In­tel­li­gence Am­pli­fi­ca­tion.

Some of the most bril­liant sci­en­tists and tech­nol­o­gists have warned us about the dan­gers that Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence poses to hu­man­ity, but a few are be­gin­ning to es­pouse a world where hu­mans and machines con­verge to en­hance the mind and body.

Dig­i­tal Im­mor­tal­ity.

The age-old idea of im­mor­tal­ity is get­ting a 21st cen­tury re­boot with dig­i­tal plat­forms and new tech­nolo­gies al­low­ing us to live for­ever in a cy­ber sense. The im­pli­ca­tions to so­cial norms and of­ten lag­ging reg­u­la­tions will be sig­nif­i­cant as our no­tions of hu­man­ity are chal­lenged when death can be cheated with a soft­ware up­date.

Frank Spencer IV is the Founder & Cre­ative Di­rec­tor of Kedge, a global fore­sight, in­no­va­tion and strate­gic de­sign firm that em­pow­ers com­pa­nies to pull the fu­ture into their or­ga­ni­za­tion. Yvette Mon­tero Sal­vatico is Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of Kedge. Their clients have in­cluded NASA, Charles Schwab, LEGO, Kraft, Mar­riott, Mars and The Walt Dis­ney Com­pany.

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