James Lovelock: Gaia and the rise of hyperintelligence

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James Lovelock, the creator of the Gaia hypothesis, that the Earth is a holistic self-maintaining system, died last week. As a coincidence I read his last book, Novacene, over the weekend before I had heard the news.

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Will a “Google PhD” become as good as a university-granted PhD?

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Jordi Muñoz became President of prominent early drone company 3D Robotics at age 22, having made himself a world-leading expert in drone design and manufacturing, teaching himself through the universe of resources available through the web and his own experiments. He says:

“I come from a generation where we have Google PhDs, we can virtually figure out everything by just Googling around and doing some reading online”

Sci-Fi author William Gibson became a deep expert in antique watches by dint of five years research for “the sheer pointless pleasure of learning this vast, useless body of knowledge.” He notes that:
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How do we know when AI becomes conscious and deserves rights?

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Machines becoming conscious, self-aware, and having feelings would be an extraordinary threshold. We would have created not just life, but conscious beings.

There has already been massive debate about whether that will ever happen. While the discussion is largely about supra-human intelligence, that is not the same thing as consciousness.

Now the massive leaps in quality of AI conversational bots is leading some to believe that we have passed that threshold and the AI we have created is already sentient.

An article in Washington Post The Google engineer who thinks the company’s AI has come to life tells the story of a member of Google’s Responsible AI team, Blake Lemoine, who has become convinced that the Google’s (Language Model for Dialogue Applications) LaMDA chatbot platform has become sentient, and after being placed on administrative leave by Google, ‘blew the whistle’ to media.
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How ‘Do Your Own Research’ is opening a fracture line in society

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DYOR: Do Your Own Research

This recommendation sounds reasonable. I do that.

Yet those words mark deep divides in society.

An article in New York Times today They Did Their Own ‘Research.’ Now What? examines the now-powerful phenomenon of DYOR.
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Announcing my new book Thriving on Overload!

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I am delighted to share that my book Thriving on Overload is being published by McGraw-Hill, and is available for pre-order for its availability on September 6, 2022.

It has been a long journey

It has been far, far too long since my last book. After writing Developing Knowledge-Based Client Relationships, Living Networks, Implementing Enterprise 2.0, and Getting Results From Crowds I got caught up in an over-ambitious set of ventures and then a period as co-founder and CEO of a new startup group as well as life transitions.

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Brain computer interfaces in smartglasses – coming soon

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Two central themes in the next generation of human interaction with technology are smartglasses and brain interfaces.  

In that vein, the acquisition by Snap of NextMind (included in our list of top brain-computer interface companies) is fascinating.

Major companies including Microsoft, Google, Lenovo, Magic Leap and others have high-end augmented reality glasses on the market, with those initially having considered consumer offerings now focusing on enterprise.

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The subtle path of leadership from centralized to decentralized organizations and society

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One of the biggest, broadest shifts in place across human society is from centralized to decentralized organizations and structures.

Yet there is massive uncertainty about how far it will go. It is possible we are moving towards a world defined by Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs), participatory democracy, decentralized finance, and self sovereignty. It is also possible that existing institutions and hierarchical societies and organizations will dominate indefinitely.

What will determine the path forward is the quality of leadership in enabling a decentralized world

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Looking back at what Living Networks got right 20 years ago

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I began work as a professional futurist in 1998, and it has been my full-time avocation (other than entrepreneurial endeavors) since 2006. 

For many years my reputation and credibility as a futurist has been significantly supported by my 2002 book Living Networks, which anticipated many developments of the last two decades, including pointing to the rise of social networks and micro-messaging before any of today’s social platforms existed. 

That was not the only thing it got right. 

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The future of professional services in data, platforms, and ecosystems

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I recently had a fantastic conversation on the Industry Insights by SAP podcast, talking with Matt Emmert, Solution Director of Professional Services at SAP, and host Tom Raftery about the future of professional services. You can listen to the entire 22 minute session here.

A central theme to our discussion was the role of data in professional services and the broader implications. 
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Building the data commons for health, social media, and more…

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A little while ago I was interviewed by Don McPherson for his 12 Geniuses podcast series on The Future of Social Media. It was a great conversation. We covered a lot of territory, starting with the history of social media through to today and beyond. 

One of the ideas I discussed was the potential for a ‘data commons’ to give not just each of us individually the value of our own data, but to create collective value. I observed:

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