ICT Media hosted CIODAY 2023 in Amsterdam last week — a very professionally run event at an amazing venue. I had the pleasure of providing the opening keynote. In the lead up to the event, they wrote an article which I believe captures the spirit of my presentation better than anything I have seen prior — with one caveat. I am not a big believer in prediction — especially in highly uncertain times like our current era. Instead, I believe in a constant rehearsing of the future, asking the what-if questions to avoid the what-now questions. That caveat aside, a great article that I am sharing here to my Blog audience and providing a Link to original article.
Converging developments: the predictive value of the past
According to futurist Frank Diana, our history is an important source for understanding the present. A good view of the past also makes it possible to predict future developments. “The current period is in many ways similar to the 1920s and 1930s,” says Diana, with an eye to geopolitical, technological, economic and social dynamics.
Words that sound like a warning and at the same time call to action. Especially for technology leaders, who themselves exert influence on large-scale changes to a certain extent, an open eye for the coherence of current events and recurring patterns is essential. At CIODAY2023 , the American futurist will introduce the Dutch tech community to his work and ideas.
According to Diana, it is difficult to say what the exact future will look like, but in his opinion you better be ready for major upheavals. “The further back you can look, the further forward you are likely to see,” he quotes the British statesman, strategist and writer Winston Churchill. In other words: looking back carefully helps you reimagine the future more energetically. This sometimes means that you are open to evolving insights and choose a less rigid attitude towards once learned, but now outdated views and behavior.
Frank Diana speaks of upcoming shifts in terms of ‘convergences’, or the coming together of developments from diverse corners of the economy, technology and society. Such a bundling is often a harbinger or a warning of a change in order. Based on an extensive collection and classification of past events — which he always has at his disposal during his presentation — he can make predictions for various sectors such as healthcare, transport, food, energy, etc.
In the same way, he maps the course of ‘horizontal’ phenomena, such as AI and other technologies, based on known and repetitive patterns. As a tip of the veil, he mentions developing robots, which means that AI is no longer controlled via the prompt, but via normal human interaction. He also foresees a far-reaching link between AI and virtual reality, among other things. By connecting all available dots from past and present, he can sketch the contours of a possible future through a focus on ‘catalysts and obstacles’.
For the time being, the world, societies, companies and their leaders face major challenges. “Currently, as in the 1920s and 1930s, you see increasing polarization, a lack of crisis resilience, severe economic and social challenges, the collapse of developing countries, a shift to regional supply chains and the rise of the surveillance society.”