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Saturday, July 20, 2019


I recently read Augmented: Life in the Smart Lane by Brett King, et al (2016).

This book is an eye-opening discussion of how technology has changed our lives/world AND how that evolution will only accelerate in coming years.  BK takes us on a whirlwind tour, from health to transportation to medicine to art to banking to…  

Some of my biggest takeaways:
> Major disruptions that will accelerate:  Artificial intelligence; Distributed-embedded experiences; Smart infrastructure; Gene editing and Healthtech; Metamaterials; 3D printing.
> To children born since 2000, technology is not different or disruptive; like water or air, it’s just there.
> The “transhumanist” movement – bioengineering + cyborgification – is no longer the stuff of science fiction; it is now the stuff of science non-fiction.
> The progression phases of our current tech-laced world:  Real world >> Augmented reality >> Virtual reality >> Augmented virtuality.
> Most current adolescents will never own a credit card or use a checkbook.
> The biggest losers of the Augmented Age will be: 1. Big Energy. 2. Big Health Care and Pharma. 3. Small- to Mid-sized Colleges and Universities. 4. Big Government. 5. Banking, Insurance, Regulators and Finance.
> The biggest winners of the Augmented Age will be: 1. Tech Majors. 2. Artificial Intelligence Start-ups. 3. Smart Infrastructure. 4. Internet of Things. 5. Networking the Developing World. 6. Developers, Human Computer Interaction and Experience Design Practitioners. 7. HealthTech and FinTech Providers. 8. Personal AI Providers. 9. AR, VR, AV and PHUD. 10. Exotic Metamaterials and 3D Printing.

 My favorite quotes:
“The skills that students need to learn in order to survive in the Augmented Age are very different from what they are being taught in school today.  We will need to teach students not just science, technology, engineering and maths (so-called STEM subjects), but agility, creative thinking, rapid learning and adaptation too.”

“Now that we have established that Watson is more accurate at cancer diagnosis than a human doctor, my question to you is this:  who would you rather have diagnose you if your GP suspected you might have the disease?  Dr. Watson or a “human”?”

“Massive data processing capability is at the core of what will make AIs better advisers than humans, even if humans have access to the same data. Synthesis of data is where humans can no longer compete.”

“Self-driving cars don’t get tired, don’t get drunk, don’t get distracted, don’t get road rage and don’t need a rest, unless it might be to charge.” Brad Templeton, Singularity University, author interview in May 2015

“Paper and signatures have no future in the banking world—at all.”

“The businesses of the future will be in the business of experiences, not products and services.”

“Smart retailers will learn that loyalty doesn’t come from brand marketing, tear-jerking advertisements or airline miles. It comes from the ability to know what we need before we know it, and to personalise that in real time. Shopping in the future is all about the experience, and the experience is all about the data.”

“Education will be revolutionised. When writing this, I kept coming back to the apprenticeship and guild models of old, rather than the modernised knowledge-based systems around universities and colleges. As we augment our intelligence through AI and always on access to data, knowledge will tend towards ubiquitous access, and knowledge as a scarcity mechanism or barrier to entry will become indefensible—but skills will remain sought after.”

Only those of us who plan to live for at least another 1-2 years need consider reading this book. 

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