The future of dating: VR dates, AI wingmen, DNA compatibility, facial recognition

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This morning on the occasion of Valentine’s Day I appeared on the Today Extra TV show to talk about the future of dating.

Click on the image below to watch the segment.

Some of the highlights from our conversation (plus some more detail):
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A sketch of science-fiction author Isaac Asimov by Zakeena.

The best futurists ever: How Isaac Asimov shaped robotics and space exploration and predicted the Internet

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Some futurists try to foresee the future. Others attempt to shape it. Yet prolific science-fiction author and biochemist Isaac Asimov did both.

Asimov not only invented the word “robotics,” his “Three Laws of Robotics,” first written as part of a short story in 1942, have had a massive impact on framing how people think about the development of artificial intelligence and the field of robotics itself.

Outside scientific domains, Asimov’s many writings have also inspired several popular movies including Bicentennial Man and I, Robot. His IMDb page shows contributions to various televisions series throughout his life, as well as a number of posthumous writing credits.

Perhaps most amazing are Asimov’s many accurate predictions on the Internet and what the world would look like in this decade. Several were in made a famous article published in The New York Times in 1964, which envisioned life in 2014.

Below are some of Isaac Asimov’s most accurate predictions.
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It is time to share more of myself

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I have recently substantially changed my activities so I am far more focused.

I have for too long had too many ventures. I desperately needed to limit the scope of what I was doing, which I have done. (More on that in another blog post soon.)

Focus on the future

This allows me to focus on being the futurist, thinking and communicating in multiple formats about the future and what we need to do now to create the future we want.

It also gives me that modicum of space to come back to the path of self-discovery that is at the heart of all our lives.
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Mapping the adoption curve of brain implants

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A new study has demonstrated that people who have brain implants (the research used epileptics who already have implants to control their ailment) can have their memory improved using electrical impulses controlled by AI.

Brain implants to help the disabled

Brain implants have for years now been used to assist those with neurological disease to control their environment, for example the groundbreaking Braingate project shown in the video below.


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How the Future of Retail will drive the Future of Travel

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The travel industry is poised to expand in incredible ways, not the least of which will be due to rapid technological progress. The future of retail, in particular, and how top performing companies embrace such advances will play a significant role in shaping the sector.

At Travelport LIVE 2017, world-renowned futurist Ross Dawson’s keynote homed in on this point. There he shared his EPIC framework which identifies the four domains of value in retail and applied it to the world of travel. You can watch a video of the full keynote with slides here.
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What you can do today to prepare for the future of work: Individuals, Families and Organizations

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The Commonwealth Bank Jobs and Skills of the Future Report that I prepared late last year delved into how the world of work is changing, the new jobs that are emerging, the skills that will be required, and how education needs to evolve to meet our changing needs.

To conclude I provided summary advice to individuals, families, and organizations on how to prepare for the future of work. Below is this section of the report. Click here to read the full report (12.4MB).

What you can do today
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Why there will ALWAYS be work for humans

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There is massive uncertainty on the future impact of artificial intelligence.

Among those who we can consider the ‘experts’ – the most qualified on the planet to judge – there are deep disagreements on the potential for general artificial intelligence, the evolution of work, whether AI is an existential threat to humanity, and almost every other aspect of the impact of AI.

Let us leave aside for now the full scope of the future relationship between humans and machines.

On the subject of work, I have frequently found myself bemused by the many people who appear to believe that machines will before long do all work, leaving nothing for humans to do other than hopefully bask in the leisure we have.

While it is possible that fewer people will be in gainful employment (which is not a given, more on that in another post), I don’t believe we will ever have a world of no human work, for many reasons.

What is ‘work’?

Our views on what work is clearly need to evolve for a changing world.
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Engineering serendipity is the future of associations

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Last week I gave a keynote on The Future of Associations at the annual Board of Directors Retreat for one of the world’s largest professional associations, held in the delightful venue of Panama City.

Having been involved in the events, thought leadership initiatives and awards of a wide variety of associations over the years, I have long thought that there is massive untapped potential value in many associations’ member networks.

The disruption of associations

Over the last 5-10 years many associations have been challenged by a confluence of powerful forces undermining their established positions.
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Zen and the Art of Creating the Future

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I have been deeply interested in Zen since my late teens. When I moved to Japan in my late 20s, ultimately spending 3 ½ years there, the reasons included my fascination with Zen.

Soon after I arrived in Tokyo I found a Zen master, Nishijima-Sensei, who held weekly meditation sessions followed by lectures in English on Shobogenzo, the foundation text of Soto Zen.

Later I lived for a year in his Zen Dojo, commuting to my day job as a financial journalist, following the center’s principles of meditating twice a day and doing the daily chores that sustained the community, and taking the Soto Zen Buddhist precepts.

This time helped me resolve one of the issues I had grappled with since I had entered the workforce. Zen teaches us that the only thing that exists is the present. Yet if there is only the present, how and why should we work in the present to create the outcomes we desire in the future?

The answer is simple, though it took a long time for me to truly understand it.
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List of the world’s top female futurists (Update #3)

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[UPDATE: January 2018: We have added 9 additional futurists to the list for a total of 167. Thank you for your help building out the list!]

I find I am frequently asked where all the female futurists are. The discussion on why the profession of futurist appears to be so male-dominated has grown in recent years.

I know many outstanding female futurists, so whenever I am asked I point to a range of exceptional futurists to show that there are indeed many women in the field. However it is true that many are not as well known as they should be.

As such I thought it would be useful to compile a list of the world’s top female futurists, for those who are looking for diversity in their insights into the future. The following list, compiled with the help of my team member Vanessa Cartwright, provides a brief profile of 167 fabulous female futurists [up from 78 in the original list of September 2015, 143 in the update of November 2015, and 158 in the February 2017 revision].
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