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Emerging Tech Trends | SXSW 2021

Amy Webb
Founder at Future Today Institute
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SXSW 2021
March 17, 2021, Online, Austin, USA
SXSW 2021
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About speaker

Amy Webb
Founder at Future Today Institute

Amy Webb is a quantitative futurist. She is a professor of strategic foresight at the NYU Stern School of Business and the Founder of the Future Today Institute, a leading foresight and strategy firm that helps leaders and their organizations prepare for complex futures. Webb was named to the Thinkers50 Radar list of the 30 management thinkers most likely to shape the future of how organizations are managed and led and won the 2017 Thinkers50 Radar Award. She is a Fellow in the United States-Japan Leadership Program and was a Visiting Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, where her research received a national Sigma Delta Chi award. She was a Delegate on the former U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission, where she worked on the future of technology, media and international diplomacy. Webb’s research focus is artificial intelligence.

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About the talk

Join Amy Webb for the launch of the Future Today Institute's 14th annual Emerging Tech Trends Report and a deep dive into all the trends you'll need to follow in 2021. In this provocative session, futurist Amy Webb, professor at NYU Stern School of Business and founder of the Future Today Institute, will provide a data-driven analysis for the emerging tech trends that need to be on your radar in 2021— and she’ll show you scenarios for the future of business, governing and society.


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Hey, South by Southwest. I met me, web and I am so grateful to be here with you. This year to share our annual list of emerging technology and science Trends. Before I get started, I just want to say a brief note of thanks. I've been part of the South by Community since 2005. Been almost two decades. Is that time. I've learned so much. I've met people who have become my closest friends, that had some of the most memorable experiences of my life at South by yourself, right? Isn't just a festival that happens. Once a year in Austin, it's a

global community that enriches my life all year round and yours too. So I want to say thank you. This is been a rough here and I am grateful that we're able to do this even with everything that's happening. So thank you to Sarah Lynn and Hugh forest and the production team. That's making these virtual sessions possible. Thank you so much. for everything that you do, and for supporting the South by community, in all the ways that you have, So for those of you in the South by community, that I haven't had a chance to meet yet. Here are the three things that I usually tell people? When I

introduce myself, I'm a quantitative futurist. I developed a foresight. Methodology that's used in hundreds of organizations around the world. It relies on quantitative and qualitative data to find signals of change and to model next order, and I teach the system at the NYU Stern School of Business, I found of the future to a Institute, which is a data-driven technology, LED Global Futures organization, our management, Consultants to Fortune, 100 companies and government agencies. But we also collaborate with the creative community. So we work with writers and

producers and showrunners. I'm world-building and all of the technology and science that they use in their shows and their movies that are set in the future, Lastly our work at FDI is open-source, I believe very strongly in democratizing, the tools, a futurist so that everybody can do this work with the very end, I'm going to show you a link where you can download a bunch of free research and tools that you can start using right away. Last year, the world shut down the weakest house by, and it's going to be remembered as the moment that our future

histories took a diversion past, the moment that everything changed we succeed, or we learn and the past 12 months, we've had a lot of educational opportunities. We think about the virus, a lot of countries around the world. Had four months of mourning for months of signals showing them. What was on the horizon before? I mean we had some time to prepare. We look at the disastrous aftermath of the u.s. election. There were clear signs for years that the fabric of society was

fraying at the edges. And that's a structural Integrity of the center was being ripped apart. The signals of 2020 deserve to be for rounded, but we need to get better at intercepting. Those signals of change earlier and taking some kind of action. And that's why I'm here with you because I have some unsettling news for you. Surviving one, Global, pandemic. One, truly awful presidency. It doesn't make us immune from chaos in the future. These weren't Sara Lee once-in-a-century event. You could

have it again. And if we have our eyes closed to the signals in front of us, it just might nobody can predict the future. It's mathematically impossible and there is no such thing as future-proofing again. The math doesn't work out there way too many variables outside of any one person's control and that's fine. Because if we've learned anything in the past year, it's that we all need to be more flexible. We need to lean into uncertainty but we can't do it blindly. We can get better much better at tracking forces, signals and

Trends. And thinking about the implications modeling, what if scenarios and we can keep pushing forward to the future. You know, it's like the James Joyce quotes from a portrait of the Artist as a Young Man to live, too are to fall to Triumph to recreate life out of life. So I'm going to start today with a brief overview and then we'll get to the trends and there's quite a few of them. This year is your is your about to see. So when we do emerging trends at the future today Institute, we start with this framework

and an FTI. We call this our wheel of Destruction, the 11 macro forces that you see on this wheel represent external uncertainties over which no one entity has control, but which play a critical role in how our futures develops. If that's what you see on the outside of the wheel, the biggest technology is intertwined with every aspect of Modern Life, it connects to all of those forces. So that's the next ring in and closer to Add to the center are signals. Signals indicate emerging change, there are weak signals and strong signals.

Weak signals are a new technology development that hasn't yet hit the mainstream or some kind of small Innovation or other minor developments that have the potential to grow as they mature, but it will still need some time. Strong signals on the other hand are more obvious, they're bigger Innovations. Significant developments are Big R and D. Advancements are huge amounts of funding. These are obvious, warning indicators telling us. Something is changing friends which you see at the very center of this wheel of disruption Trends emerge from the intersection of macro

forces and signals, they develop over longer periods of time. Forecasting, longitudinal Trends is what enables us to see change early and to identify risk and opportunity, so that you can make better decisions, surprises happen to companies and two countries. When no one is at the wheel. With no one's at the wheel of disruption monitoring. What's happening at the tracking signals of change. We spend too much time judging people by their answers rather than by the questions that they ask questions are important. They allow us

to lean into uncertainty about the future with our curiosity rather than our biases or our preconceptions when futuris see emerging signals and Trends. We ask a lot of questions we ask questions about them like what new tensions result from these forces signals and Trends. What are the new tensions inside of our company in the industry? How are there new tensions? Regulatory environment. What about consumer tensions? What about tensions in our communities? What about Society? We also asked questions about us options like what assumptions

must hold true. Now for our current strategy to succeed. And finally, is there a way for us to resolve all of this? Can we resolve those tensions by leveraging to force the signals and friends to create alternative ideas about the future, even if those ideas challenge, our cherished beliefs, Now, it's more important than ever to ask these questions because in the past year there are thousands of new signals that have emerged and that's why with so much that's happened in the past year. The future. Today

Institute did not write a tech Trends report like we normally do. We wrote 12. Each volume of the report covers a different set of topics ranging from artificial intelligence, to transportation to consumer electronics, and network infrastructure, and all kinds of things related to genomic editing. And in biology this is our 14th annual Tech Trends report and this year it's really big. I were covering close to 500 technology and science Trends which is up about 22% since last year,

primarily this has to do with covid-19. There were tremendous aftershocks and that started to reverberate and changed many different segments of the economy. It's also due to what we are calling, the New World Disorder, which you're going to care about in just a little bit. Each page of a tech Trend report has the same elements to help you navigated easily explaining succinctly what that trend is some examples to help you understand the Contours. And texture of that Trend, our analysis of the disruptive impact that Trend

will have in the coming years and then some emerging players. So rather than The Usual Suspects mean, everybody sort of knows who's working on AI at this point. So instead of that we're listing the company's, the individual research teams, sometimes, even individual people that you're probably not aware of and should be tracking. There's a decision bar at the top, which indicates what type of action you should take and the number of years that this trend has been on our list? Each volume has key findings summarized at the beginning. So each book is kind of like a little miniature

tedtalk version to help you get a broad overview of of how things have shifted and changed. And then inside, you will start to find in addition to Trends, some strategic guidance for four key groups of people in your organization. So there's a strategic guidance for everybody. Working in strategy from your Chief strategy officer has and everybody who works on strategy teams, there's guidance specifically for Innovation team. So people working on Innovation product development, things like that are indeed units. And then, finally, those who work in Risk, now obviously this is intended to be

useful across all divisions, which range from Market to human resources, and finance. So, throughout the report you'll find specific guidance for all of those different groups as well. Because there was so much disruption in the past year we develop some road maps. Revealing how certain companies are repositioning themselves for the future. So for example, you'll find a pretty big section on Amazon's Healthcare Ambitions, and what that means for everybody else, we also have dozens of scenarios as we always do. These are evidence-based stories about the future. And again, they're not

speculative their strategic, they are intended to help you understand the possible outcomes of all of these Trends in the future. It's free. So this is open source. It's available for you to download and we invite you to build on it and make it your own So today I'm going to reveal three key findings and take a deep dive with you into some related Tech Trends plasters. It's a lot and I can assure you that, as we do this, some of these things are going to feel very disconnected. So I'm going to invite you to be patient and try to follow along with me

because of the very end. I'm going to connect all of these seemingly disparate thoughts for you and reveal future scenarios so that we can explore. What is now. Recently plausible. That will start with the key. Finding number one, your body is part of a network called the, you of things. And that Network that you of things is becoming sentient. You can think of the you of things, as a sort of biological bios, a basic input output system, where our bodies devices, and they Network all interact. The

you of things Technologies, probably fall under the Internet of Things, the iot umbrella, but in many ways it's just much, much more intimate. So the trends in this section, mostly come from the volumes of our Trend report on home, automation, consumer, electronics, and health. But you're going to see how all of these things fit together. Momentarily. We'll start with the things that you'll be wearing, embedding or simply using with your body pretty soon. That sounds fine. 2018, one of our key findings that year was that it was the beginning of the end of

smartphones. And I explained that if we all hopped in a time machine and went back to 1998 and said, listen within two decades. All these devices, your portable DVD player, your mini display, or your digital camera. All that functionality encompassed, in a single portable computer called, a smartphone, you wouldn't laugh, right? And yet, here we are that, and the hell is this from a couple of years ago was holding true in general, new smartphone sales are down year-over-year and not just in the United States. This makes sense. This

is not a lot of compelling. New features are functionality, that's coming in. Are all in one smartphone devices. So we're transitioning away from that. It's a different Paradigm from a single phone to a new constellation of devices. That we will either wear or in bed. So one of the things that's coming over the next 18 to 24 months is smart glasses. Glasses have some of the functionality that we currently have in our smartphones overlaid in our vision and will also still have the ability with smart glasses to make phone calls and talk to

people. Perhaps using an earpiece in the temple of the frame of the glasses that we have a bunch of other stuff out there. Some people are already using these devices. So there are wristbands that can detect emotion rings that we can wear that know, our blood oxygen level earbuds that can sense our temperature. At whole bunch of other devices. That correlate, our biometric data with our behaviors in the real world, you're going to start to see now new form, factors that results has all of these devices start to come to Market. One of the things that you'll see Are more flexible,

screens rollable screens, this Opera, that you see is an example of a rollable phone versus a foldable phone, which is what everybody was talking about. In this particular rollable, an OLED display widens from around 6.7 in to become as large is 7.4 inches. So it's kind of expands outward on. But it just with using a rolling to innocent, and this allows users to adjust the size of the screen as they need role. Models are possible because of our new array of flexible sensors and displays that have just, it's

becoming easier to manufacture. There's another interesting flexible interface design to turns out, Amazon patented a system to track ultrasonic pulses on our wrists. This is designed to track and record workers locations right down to their hand movements. So The Wristband senses, a lull in somebody's productivity, it was sort of vibrate and nudge them. Okay, that's fine or perhaps, if somebody's working in a warehouse, it would connect to a pacing robot that is stationed, just in front of that worker. And maybe that pacing

robot would sense that the workers not as productive as they could be. And it would force the worker to pick up the pace and start going faster are all. This gives employers highly personal information not just where somebody is in the building but also what they're doing, like taking a bathroom break and if you're tracking hand movements, which ostensibly these things, Define to do. I guess you would know what direction somebody is wiping in. In the you of things, implantable devices are another area where we're starting to see accelerated movement already. There are implantable smart,

cardiac devices, so insulated wires that connect to the heart and transmit that information from you to your home, and then out to some, you know, doctor somewhere. But what you see here is an example of something. It's like, the next thing. Something a little different on. This is a new type of closed-circuit Loop in this closed-circuit. The body is its own secure Wireless Channel. Theoretically, this makes your body less hackable. Bodies are hackable you say yes this is important because a few years ago, a hacker demonstrated how

easily it was to remotely attack and implanted medical device like a pacemaker. Several companies are now in the space, they're thinking about closed-loop systems and you know, bodies themselves as networks. And some of those companies include neuralink which is better than a lot. But also Facebook, they're building bci's brain-controlled interfaces which were intended to remove the physical barriers between humans and machines. Are current intermediary in the human machine spaces are voice, right? So we can speak to command machines and systems. But the

idea here is, what if we didn't have to bother speaking it all in a way that's another barrier, right? And it said, we simply thought our commands to machines and those machines responded, So that you of things makes use of Behavioral Biometrics, which mine hundreds of unique biometric data points from the devices that we. We're compare those data points against our individual baselines. Use machine learning and deep learning to learn and understand more about us for the purpose of authenticating us, rewarding us, or punishing us. As the case may be.

In the USA. Use these devices are becoming smart. So for example, this is an example of smart sleep technology, so bear with me here. So this thing is called ruler. If a fitted sheet that has wires and tubes running all through out at and science says that you get a more restful deep peaceful sleep, if you can keep your room at a fairly low temperature and cranking up, your air conditioning, and making sure that your your room is 60 degrees at night. The idea here is instead they just chill the bed. So this thing chills your bed down before you get into it and

then it automatically adjust your body temperature for you while you sleep and wake you up, it cranks up the heat, your body gets hot, your brain kind of reaction turns on and then you're up without an alarm clock actually. Sleep Tech is a new frontier in the home automation space and a few of things face. And It's interesting, right? I mean, on the one hand, this is about optimizing your sleep so that you can rest and Repair on. The other thing, on the other hand, you can't have to give yourself over to a machine while you're unconscious and hope that the machine is doing the

right thing making decisions for you. This is a little robot that mimics the heartbeat and and warmth of another person and it sends signals while you sleep to your limbic system which results in your heart beating faster or slower slower changes the depth of your breath. In order again to help you get a more restful peaceful sleep, There are devices that reward and punish you for getting stressed out. So this thing that you're looking at, looks like a vape pen. It's actually a breathing device, it tracks and analyze. This is your metabolism throughout the day and then

it tells you based on what your metabolism is, what to eat. So more carbs, fewer carbs more water, you know, whatever is linked to stress. So this becomes a little bit of a vicious cycle because if you start getting stressed out about your carbs and then it ordered you to eat fewer carbs but now you're stressed out your breathing into this pain all day long and I don't I don't know if that's going to accomplish course you what you needed to. In the u.s. bangs devices are talking to each other over, local network switch or may not be secure

depending on where your body is plugged. In this kitchen faucet responds to voice so you can ask it for three cups of water, and it'll automatically dispense exactly the right amount, which is pretty amazing. I'm a complete mess in the kitchen. I tend to get myself messy and everything around me. So I love the idea of being able to tell the faucet to pour exactly the right amount of water into something. So I don't get the faucet, all dirty. It's also a, really great way for a hacker to cause a flood in your kitchen when you're asleep or when you're on vacation.

This is a medical-grade covid-19 scanner that automatically unlocks doors. So it performs an automatic temperature, check, and it displays the temperature back to the user and led a panel will glow red. If the Tsar has a fever and the system will refuse to unlock the door, it'll refuse her entry. It can also be programmed to limit the capacity of entrance. I'm so when the capacity, you know, of wherever you happen to be or your house when that capacity hits the door won't unlock, even if that person has been temperature cleared and even if that person is who

This is interesting. So this is a smart toilet and it kind of sort of has what I would call Hi-Tech fecal, Vision a strong signal because it represents a contradiction. Do you really want a toilet filled with scanners that recognize your personal in particular, Anatomy? Actually, I think he's pretty cool. Imagine every single time you go to the bathroom, you effectively have a doctor list exam, you know, I'm in think of how rattled amazing that could be. So covid-19 has accelerated telemedicine,

Homebase lab test and and the push to standardize, electronic health, records and digital ID systems, these systems are intended to connect you and your data with the internet. And ultimately with others, the you of things, can I see your body twin that work and that Network to third parties? So here's another way that that works, this is a garbage scanner the little device that attaches to a garbage can and scans everything you throw away. And then depending on how you can figure, it might reorder automatically something from Amazon. So if you throw away a box of

Triscuits, it'll do a new one. Will show up. New box will show up the following day, but it does make me wonder how will Amazon integrate personal data from the kitchen and the rest of its ecosystem. I mean maybe in the future it Auto in a reorders things which is nice but it could potentially also Auto report you for not recycling or for throwing away, perfectly good food. We are also seeing the emergence of neighborhood mesh networks. So a mesh network is a group of devices located within close. Proximity that allows for fast and

efficient data routing. Amazon has this program called sidewalk in the United States. It's a location. Tracking mesh Network that operates at the scale of a network of a neighborhood. So for every device within sidewalk, that's turned on internet bandwidth gets pulled for about 1/2 Mile. If your body is in the mesh, if you lose your keys, if you lose your kid, the mesh will help locate it for you, but these are just a handful of ideas. But again, let's think things through there aren't a ton of companies that are the primary operating systems for the, you of things. I mean,

unsurprisingly, they tend to be the familiar names that we'd know when expect all of these devices, all of these things at some point or router through Google Amazon. Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, and in China. Of course, it's by do Alibaba and tencent. All of this connects to the cloud. All of these things to where decisions are being made automatically, and that includes inferences about who we are. And what we want, new research from Queen, Mary University in London, demonstrated a neural network that can mine and refine human emotion using these different devices

using this data and accurately determined somebody is emotional state at any given time. Now, Imagine A system that knows your typical Baseline knows, subtle changes in your emotional state, all of the time and connects your body to a recommendation engine Spotify might, at some point, just automatically change the channel to cheer you up. If it detects that you're feeling bad, but maybe you want to feel really bad, maybe you're like 5th hour. Listening to The Cure is exactly what you need at that point. You would lose the ability to have some autonomy in

making that decision or digital advertising that that will show you as when you have a higher probability of being receptive or dynamic pricing system, that would make determinations for you. Based on your real-time emotions, your biometric data and your typical behaviors Okay, so in this first cluster of Trends related to this key, fighting to the you of things, we went through a whole bunch of different examples. And now we got to do what I asked you to do with the very beginning to lean into uncertainty by asking questions. So

let's ask a bunch of questions cuz I know I have a whole bunch and let's think about next order. Impacts does, does the UFO things make Healthcare. The next big Battle Ground for big tech companies and if so are current antitrust, conversations are going to seem a little bit like fighting yesterday's were, where do we now see new opportunities and threats, that didn't exist before. And then there is some more practical questions like certain states in the United States. Like Illinois and California have very strict privacy laws. If your body is plugged into

the USB things, would it be illegal for you to cross state lines? Maybe, how secure is the EU of things? How would we know who owns the data? Can we prevent our data from being seen by a third party? If we don't want it to Functions. Do you now have to challenge about what you think about the future and where are there? New resolutions that address these tensions and these assumptions so that we can move forward and out in a way that delivers a future we want. All right, so that's one key finding one set of tech Trends. Let's now move on to the second key finding and the

second set of tech trends for second key finding is you are living in a mixed reality world, the US things and your personal data. Now, create what you perceive as reality is a lot of important strategic Trends in this section. And so I'm going to mostly pull from the volumes that we have on a I knew realities privacy and security and algorithmic scoring. So one thing we know to be true, the digital and physical Realms are intertwining in new and unexpected ways. The US things your personal data are being mind and fine to

influence what you perceived as your reality there, different types of realities. You already know all about virtual reality and augmented reality, so I'm not going to talk about that. Instead, I'd like to talk to you about other types of realities, I will. We call a sister of reality and diminished reality assistive reality uses digital elements to help you get through the physical world. This would be something like a GPS device on your car, in the kinds of things. You're already pretty please too. But my favorite example of something new has to do with how we hijacked sound and use

sound to alter our realities. So at the end of last year when everybody was looking at their top songs or top playlist on Spotify turned out my top song was brown noise, sounds like static and I actually listen to Brown noise all day long. Anytime I'm working. Sound has two fundamental characteristics frequency, which is how fast the waveform is vibrating per second, and then amplitude would serve describes the size of the Waves so you've heard of white noise. Well if you would just the frequency and amplitude, you get two different types

of Noise with your kind of loosely named using an analogy for like white noise is got all the frequencies pink mostly focuses on the higher-end and brown noise sexually Brownian motion, and physics is a sort of deeper version of pink. Not depending on your neurological wiring, this is a way to hack your neural Pathways in my case Brown. This is kind of like a digital version of adderal, it makes me super laser-focused a kind of relaxed and when I work on frown noise when I'm wired it and I do amazing work, but when it's time for me to go to

sleep, I change the frequency down to Pink which study show help to improve memory retention and Rehabilitation. All right? So now that you know, that noise isn't just noise, what are there sounds? Do you think you might be missing? So one assistive reality device is this little box that you see? Now, why do researchers developed a tiny speaker? That emits a super high pitch sound? It's called the mosquito. If you're my age, you wouldn't hear it. It's a frequency that just the youth can hear its younger younger people and teenagers in Philadelphia

city officials, put the speakers and a whole bunch of rec centers and public parks. As a kind of mosquito repellent, is that the mosquitoes were teenagers. Another assistive reality technology and this is a prescription strength video game in June of last year June 2020, the FDA approved Endeavor RX. This is a first person racing game that was built by a neuroscientist at the University of California. San Francisco this game has been through various rounds of peer review and it has shown that it's significantly improves

clinical markers of attention and patience with ADHD it looks like a little kids video game but it's not the stimuli were actually designed to Target and activate the prefrontal cortex. And as gameplay progresses it adapts to personalized treatment. You can't play this game unless you have a prescription. There's another game, the Guardians unite the Realms. That was designed by Harvard and MIT researchers to address behavioral activation therapy. It's a form of treatment for depression and this game again, Can you play it adopts? And it serves to break rumination loops. So that

consists of reality, that was another form of reality. That one of my FTI colleagues, Mark palatucci. He calls it. Diminished reality. And the way that he describes it is it kind of takes away stimuli, so it takes away something in your field of vision and it it changes or dampens the sound, it might even change the way that you physically sense the world around you. So diminished reality. And this is an example. So, this is a noise-cancelling window. So if you ever use noise cancelling headsets, you're familiar with diminish reality or Dr. But this is Dr.

Without having to plug directly in. This is a noise-cancelling when do researchers in Singapore, embedded sensors and window in Windows, that can automatically recognized the waves and the frequency of a sound. So like a bunch of honking truck outside of your window. And then generate, I'm your sound of it. They emit the second wave and anti wave from a speaker, which effectively offsets that sound and cancels it out, and makes it go away where our office is, in lower Manhattan. You can see the little FBI logo there on the map. Very, very nice to have noise

canceling windows cuz it is Extremely Loud and I can imagine noise-cancelling, Windows starting to change real estate or the how cars and trains And plans are built when we could redesign the future of auditoriums of restaurants. Basically, any place where glass would have been a problem before because it reflected too much noise back, you could now use, I could also Imagine a future in which we have diminished reality buildings with Windows but entire building where the buildings themselves, dampen the noise of a city. Sew-in diminish reality, you can

take things away from your field of you. So if you look on the left, that's a table and chairs and some other stuff in the room. And on the right, a VR application has remove a bunch of elements from view in real-time, which means that there are some interesting things on our Horizon potentially. I mean, can you imagine people cancelling glass? That's right, you know, our AR glasses will both add and subtract visual elements. I mean, imagine going to to a restaurant and I'm going into visual Dr.

Mohd. You're there with your partner having a lovely evening and then there's some dude sitting next to you who orders a well done steak. And then like Smothers it and catch up and then choose with his teeny. Tiny little hands and tiny little mouth wide open. Who wants to stay there? Ever right? Imagine being able to visually disconnect from that reality to turn out the lights to cancel that in real time and remove him from your field of view. And if you have assistive audio,

either in the temple of those glasses or in the form of earbuds, you could also turn down the volume on his completely inane. Conversation and said, you could still connect for the restaurants, you know, ambient sounds, you can hear your partner without having to give any attention to that situation that's happening. Next to you all of this sounds amazing at least to me, but it does raise some important questions. Like, what if we choose to visually cancel garbage on the street rather than picking it up? What if we visually cancel the homeless, rather than interacting with

them? Does diminished reality at some point, desensitize us to Actual reality. And what would that mean? Last year I talked about synthetic media and we've been covering it in our research. Now four years, there's been a lot of development and that space. So I want to show you some updates so synthetic media. If you're not yet, familiar is created using artificial intelligence algorithms begin with an initial set of data to learn. This can be faces, voices, Landscapes, people, objects, gestures, motions text. Other types of

information are the types of details and then systems, learn over time and automatically generate content. End result is a realistic-looking and a very realistic sounding artificial digital person and there are all kinds of examples from voice clones to interactive box. In fact, what you see on your screen that shoe do and she is beautiful and compelling and she's not real, but she's not quite an intelligent. She's more like a cheap fake. And she's synthetic, but she's media that's being generated with the help of people

and she doesn't entirely evolve as she grows. This this is Acura I built Acura in 2016 as a digital extension of myself. Acura is non-binary and they don't have a synthetic body. But they did overtime, learn and evolve who has come a long way in the past, five years that I've been screwing around with this technology at this is a digital extension of Deepak Chopra. That uses your interactions with him to learn and he even has a moving face in a mouse. I mean, it looks a little janky but

you know, it's another step forward in that direction. I mean, it's getting really easy to send voices and experiences. If you have a big enough Corpus of data, then you can program a synthetic version of like anyone you want and train them to have conversations with you as an example. Not that I'm doing this in my spare time, but one could synthesize International. And living Goddess. Phoebe, waller-bridge and train her to become your best friend. Again, not that I'm doing this at all in my spare time, but if you wanted to do that, there are new

marketplaces now, where you can go to buy and sell since I've business an example of one it's in space, yet, it's as easy as writing an email, basically, you go in, you type in what you want, the bought to, say what you want, the sympathetic character to say and then it says it, but it also learns that makes it really interesting. When you think about corporate training, for example, imagine of corporate training video that you could personalized with your employees details, like their name and their role and some other interesting facets of their life. Yes, it's a cool way to

customize showing that personal details are behavioral triggers, which means that a synth could earn trust and keep people paying attention. You could engineer likability. In a way that a real human can't do on their own and this ties into this growing body of work in artificial intelligence like the motion detection. And interpretation and mirroring app, is another Marketplace. This is Alessia where you can buy since and here's an example, where you can buy a mash-up of Donald Trump and Joe Exotic. Call John exotic. You can have him,

whatever you want, you can send various parts of your real-world existence in a way that makes people not really see a clear boundary between who is the real you and which parts of you are synthetic and you don't have to send the whole person. So one interesting example is the emergence of digital fashion which were starting to see Bubble Up especially that happened over the past year. You know, you can buy digital clothing, have it digitally tailored for you and then wear it in real time in your social media interactions or wear it for your The

snap, no tiktok posts and it ranges from things like in a clearly sort of game of five looking, you know, sweaters but also wedding dresses. Some people who were able to get married during the pandemic bought digital dresses for weddings so that they had wedding photos, but they didn't have to go through the expense of sending all of that up. Since the whole thing was virtual. You can now also synthesize former parts of you as well. So ourselves cuz this one is going to sound problematic, Microsoft patented, some software, that will reincarnate,

then people as living chatbots. And basically, the program works by pulling in data from their social media posts and text messages and things like that and it created a living breathing, digital synthetic person and allows you or anybody that you want to have a conversation with them. All right. So talk through lots of different Trends, hear that Mel's your physical enter digital worlds. This weekend, we need to lean into what all of this means by asking questions questions about what might happen next. So let's begin with practical and then we'll

go on to exist on troll. It seems natural that mixed reality transactions are on the horizon. So what does that tell us about your company? Your company prepared for people to start tagging saving and transacting seamlessly in mixed reality. What happens when you can pay just with yourself and you don't need to have any other things on you, how does mixed reality start to change your value chain? How does it change what we know about SEO? If your employees, create digital extensions of themselves and those digital extensions break company rules. What is your protocol?

Especially if the synthetic version of that person was doing things that didn't have to do with the company or weren't weren't operating on company time. And now some more existential questions. We have to start addressing IP here in and I'm not the first person to ask the question who owns your face but we don't have an answer to that question yet and it's going to take awhile for our laws to catch up with technology. What happens? If somebody since you whatever somebody since me, right? And and you don't have control over what happens next. What happens if you die and are the

conversations that you have as a synth after you dye reflective of the person that you were when you were alive and if not, what does that mean? What is trust look like in an age of Ultron reality confronting a very deeply held. Belief hear that photos and videos are crustable, reliable accurate records of reality. When we know now that they may not be And what do we do about deep catfishing? That's a term that we haven't yet used. And you'll probably start hearing about. We went up to somebody's

sensed your identity or some fake Identity or their own identity, and puts it out into the world. In order to manipulate people, don't what happens in that case, it's actually happened. A few times already in different ways. How are you going to manage this coming? Digital divides, where some people have digital extensions and other people down? And of course, where do you start to see? Detentions what assumptions about what you're doing, whether it's your business or your life, what assumptions have to hold true into the future to make sure that you succeed and how are you going to resolve

those tensions and resolutions before the future arrives? Okay, so we've gone through to keep finding a whole bunch of friends. So, let's now move on to our final set of friends and our third key finding. So, the third key finding is a 2020, resulted in a New World Disorder. The US things and mixed reality shifted. Our expectations about power. The events of the past year have definitely played a role to the trends in this section. Have to do with our volumes on artificial intelligence and blockchain and distributed Ledger,

and kryptos, as well as Government Tech and even synthetic biology and genomic editing. Covid has drastically shifted. The balance of power in many. Many different ways. One covid Aftershock have to do with surveillance surveillance has become much more acceptable than it was previously. In China technology has been used by both the government and by Everyday People to enforce quarantines, there's a picture of a woman who was out in the street being harassed by a drone. A citizen was flying a drone around barking orders at other citizens to obey him

at the start of the coronavirus. Pandemic end. Listen, the guy had a good idea if people are walking around outside without face masks and talking to each other and potentially spreading more of the virus. But here's an individual that has taken matters into his own hands. And dictating, you know, what happens here in the United States. In Westport Connecticut on the city with evaluating a new type of camera system, a specialized sensor and computer vision. System that from a very far distance away could detect fever measure, heart, and respiratory rates, and identify, whether people are

coughing or sneezing or practicing social distancing correctly, they were doing this using smart cameras that were positioned very far out of sight. Like the length of a soccer pitch, or a football field away is system didn't get implemented. Once people found out about it, but the point is like we got pretty like a pretty far into that conversation for many of us, myself included in order for us to send our kids to school. We now have to fill out a daily medical chart. This is actually my daughter's chart. It's her school and we have to show this green past in order to drop her off. And in

order to get the green pass, we have to answer very detailed personal information about ourselves. I'm in not just her but everybody that she comes into contact with, I have no idea who's on the other end of that application. I don't know where it's I don't know whether it's encrypted, I don't know whether it's some point, could be released to a third-party, I have no clue but I really want my child to be educated. So I don't know what choice. New digital ID systems are coming. They're going into effect all around the world at National levels and for good reason we

don't want the virus to continue to spread and there's not enough people taking precautions like wearing that stupid mask and adopting social distancing practices. However, the one Trend that's emerged from all of this is National tracking a very different way. So it's not just where you're going and perhaps, who you're going with and maybe even why you're going to that place. But now using all of those sensor data that the information about your body. So we're going to start seeing digital vaccine passports which will likely be required for us to start traveling freely

again. We're submitting to surveillance. And we are starting to see new forms of activism that use digital tools that are enabled by the digital surveillance we call it hacktivism it's not the first time that this has happened in society. If you remember the Occupy Wall Street movement that started in New York but kind of became a worldwide phenomenon. We used platforms to get the word out text messaging services and social networks, but this time around there, more tools, more technology and we're seeing more, multi-dimensional hacktivism, you over the past year, the central

compact of society has completely broken down in many places around the world. Covid forced us apart physically, but it also drove us together in new ways online in the aftermath of the Insurrection at the Capitol hacktivist have gotten together twice. Dennis, I who was there a low point in American democracy, turned out to cause a huge acceleration is worth. Point for recognition algorithms and the acceptance of citizens surveillance bellingcat is a is an open-source investigation agency and it it unites people wore in the west coast and as far as South America and even Australia

and brings them together to try to find people doing bad stuff on this uses machine learning tools and facial recognition algorithms, in this case to it, to analyze photos into videos Nerf hoping to identify the most violent protesters that were at the Insurrection and what they're doing is building digital on those people in there, handing this information over the FBI, the tools that are in use, anybody can get access to now, computer vision systems recognition, algorithms image enhancement tools locations, stamps maps and we're seeing is the birth of a

new form of Pro-Am digital forensics, which is certainly useful. But what are they Breeding affects her. What are we not thinking about? We know that algorithms used everywhere around the world are riddled with bias. I am not the first person to tell you that they do. A terrible job of recognizing people of color and nearly a year ago to the day of the capital Insurrection. Detroit police officers, arrested a black man because of a snafu with the right fate. I would have facial recognition algorithm. The algorithm said he was a criminal. There was a theft,

they accused him of this being the feast, and arrested him all because of an errant AI system. That's what makes some of what we're starting to see scary. This is the faces of the right website and it to me, is concerning because it was built using video scrape from parlor. Which as you probably now know, is the far-right social media website, were horrible lies and misinformation were spread, however, the Data from that site. But the data from the dump of parlor, now has 6,000 images of people that you click on any face

that. That's there. You can get to a video that appeared that somebody took during the riots at the Capitol during the Insurrection. Like this guy know, most of the people who were there who were posting all of these videos were doing horribly, awful, terrible things. But some of the people in these videos, just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. They were ambient data in the background of the video that somebody else was taken. It was an old saying in online forums pics, or it didn't happen. It's a way of saying that nobody will believe you unless they see

photographic proof. So what happened when we have pics and it didn't happen. What happens if you're an ambient bit of data floating around in somebody else's video and a sister makes inferences about you. We saw coordinated attacks in new ways in the past year game, stocks GameStop stock, skyrocketing, because of hacktivism, but because of Reddit and gaming culture, where people who grew up playing most massively multiplayer games knew how to build an exeggcute coordinated attacks that totally changed the nature of what happened. In this case,

the attack influence the financial Market in the middle of GameStops stock, soaring Robinhood, which Traders were using to force the price up halted trading. It was an example of something that I call a c. Attack, a corporate denial-of-service. And we actually saw a lot of d. C. Activity at the end of last year, you know, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, They removed. They finally removed a lot of bad accounts that were intentionally spreading spreading lies and misinformation AWS remove parlor from its hosting sir.

All of that happened outside of government agencies not too long ago, mollywood, who is a brilliant technology reporter and who you should be paying a lot of attention to. She started asking a provocative question and it was this you would just a few powerful companies. Now control the cloud, which gives them the unilateral ability to run, start to turn services on or off and potentially throttle traffic to Molly calls this Cloud neutrality and she's using the analogy of network neutrality to

describe what happens when power gets Consolidated to just a few players in a way that hasn't brought her impact on all of society. How are decisions being made to feed off other businesses? All right, now I'd like to transition to another set of Trends. This is going to be the last one which are going to seem very disconnected from everything else that I've been talking about it. But they are very much related to how information moves around and these Trends also show us that sometimes when order is disrupted, good things result.

These Trends have to do with synthetic biology. We've transitioned from natural selection, to artificial selection to intentional design. The era of synthetic biology is now here synthetic biology. Has a new field of science that involves redesigning organisms for different, purposes science, scientist, engineer them for new capabilities. Synthetic biology will allow us to read genomes data and importantly, write a new code for life, for living organisms, which means that soon we will program living biological structures as though they were tiny computers.

Covid-19 vaccines, that were all very excited about. They make use of engineered code, a form of messenger RNA. The vaccines don't contain attenuated or weakened forms of the virus instead they contain biological code to overwrite your body's natural response. Has this thing that you see on your screen is a printer that actually print out new. You can print out a synthetic virus that can print out a synthetic Gino and what's amazing is that you can write your code in one place and send it to a printer located somewhere else. Which means that, in the next decade, we could

have printers on Mars. Rather than carrying heavy payloads to space with trees and plants and animals. Instead we would have a couple of printers install the printers and then email, whatever it was that we needed. We can email an apple orchard to the settlers. We could send biological code for an apple tree, print it out and grow all the juicy delicious apples that you want it even better. The code could be tweaked for Martian climate or four Martian gravity and future martians could email as their code back to earthers. And here on Earth we could print out

Martian Tomatoes or other Martian exotic agriculture. I know this sounds Fantastical, but it's Vance mints and synthetic biology are rapidly disorder. During the way that we think about life the way that we engineer life, and that's a good thing. It means that we're looking at a future potentially, with universal vaccines, that help us deal with the next set of It means that potentially in the future. We are self-healing humans. So all of these Trends are all part of this New World Disorder that has emerged. They influence, how information moves around, how are businesses

operate? And the social constructs that we will abide by in the future, okay? And so questions, what is the role of institutions in all of this? This is a really big one because it wasn't the SEC that shut down the trading of GameStop and it wasn't the FCC that deplatformed, all of those people, spreading all of those lies. The SEC. I didn't D platform parlor, it was Private companies that made these decisions in the United States. The big tech companies exerting power in a way that revealed a new balance of power, a

called into question, whether our institutions need to be redesigned, so they can act more quickly. What do we do about all of this? And what do we do about, trust? What about intellectual property rights, especially when it comes to something like synthetic biology. I'm asking that question because this is an image of a bacteria, and it's the genome the Genome of this particular bacteria was created from scratch by a team of researchers. They created The genome inserted it into a cell and food it up to sell. Just like, you would boot up a computer. And in the process gave birth to the

world's first synthetic life-form was a breakthrough, a basic science, and believe it or not, this particular bacteria is connected to that James Joyce, quote, that I began with, at the start of all of this that bacteria was digitally. Watermark scientists when they engineer things, they have to use water marks on their creatures to distinguish. What is engineered life-form. What is a natural life and the genetic code of the particular bacterial you were looking at says the word To live to are to fall to Triumph to recreate, life out of life. Now

it turns out that the state is very litigious. When they found out that somebody had used a Joyce quote without their express permission. They went bananas, they sent an angry letter. Claiming that researchers should be given permission first before they use the line, but there's no way to send legal notice why? Because there is no language in any legislation covering copyright law. When it comes to embedding information in DNA. And that means we have more questions to ask if we can use DNA as a kind of biological backup Drive.

What happens if somebody copies the information and then distributes that copyrighted work, biologically, we have zero no laws and no regulation can only think about that right now. And of course their existential questions like who gets To make these decisions, who decides, what direction life is going to take? And who should have the right to edit the source code of all of humanity? What is it going to mean to give birth in the future to create life in the future? So we've gone through three clusters of Trends and I show you

lots of different ideas and we've asked lots of different questions and we've talked about three findings today and some provocative questions that follow. So I'd like to end as I always do answering some of those questions in the form of scenarios, scenarios are tool the futurists use to explain what's plausible. They are rooted in data and evidence and their intended to be strategic not purely speculative. So I'm going to start with the catastrophic framing which takes us about 15 years into the future. Here we go. There is no more doctor's visit. There's no doctor's waiting room.

That's because your body is data. It's monitored all the time. You have doctor list exam. Every single time, you sit down on the toilet, your garbage can judges you by what you throw away. Your wristband knows how stressed out. You are for wealthy people. Does it actually all good thing? Super rich people have opted in to the you of things because they'll private for them, the information is shared with Elite, doctor's practices, who guarantee absolute privacy and discretion. Wealthy people are being optimized in real-time adjustments, are being made to their

body. Temperature are there electrolytes? The sounds that they hear, the things that they see for them. Their Body Is a Wonderland and they can be expected. Now to live 10-15 years longer than everybody else. Speaking of everybody else there was no choice but to see Your data to be straight so that you could potentially qualify for medical benefits. Every part of your day is being monitored and you find yourself being punished for choices that used to be mundane and routine. If you throw away a bag of processed food bag of chips, a bag of carrots, shows up the following day

and your wristband and your metabolism device check to make sure that you've eaten those carrots. Cuz if you don't, you'll have to pay a little bit more for your insurance. This was super annoying so you hacked the garbage scanner but since the garbage can is connected to city services, you've now been denied garbage pickup so now you just got garbage piling up in your garage, manor house, There is no more sleeping until 1 in the afternoon, on a weekend, your bed starts cooking, you until it senses that you're out and you're making contributions to society and you can forget about the

anonymous. No, no. All those pictures, all those videos that you posted everything that you do is continually being watched and scored and you're not even sure how to behave anymore for you. Your Body Is a Wonderland, your body is a prison for which There Is No Escape working from home. Now means continual productivity, tracking sleep monitoring nothing about your life is optimized. Nothing about what's optimized field optimal but you count yourself lucky because in other parts of the world, these tools are used for even worse, oppression. History

is now Auto incorrect. It we Marvel at how simplistic the deepfakes of 2021 were weary serect. We resurrected people and we put words into their cloud in our memories of the way of his they lived and how they actually were when they were alive. In fact, now we can't entirely remember why we were so mad at our politicians in the year 2021, with their digital extensions scrubbed. They seem like reasonable. Rational people, I mean, maybe we just all overreacted a little bit are active, on the other hand morphed into something vile. In a little bit more

difficult to comprehend. We chose digital aggression over the harder task of fixing problems. In society today, people are divided. Their angrier are bubbles are have hard outer shells and it's impossible to penetrate or Pierce them. We blame the year 2020. As the cause of all of our problems now in the year, 2036, but we also wish we'd made better choices. So you probably noticed this year that there's not an optimistic scenario. It's not because I think Doom and Gloom is ahead. That's that's actually not

why it's instead because I think we're in the middle of a great transformation and we have work to do, we know what a dystopian future looks like. We just lived through it. We know from today's signals that there are problems on The Horizon tour job right now is transformation and I think that's starting to happen. But we have to commit the tracking signals businesses. You have to make room for ambiguity. You to stop trying to future-proof yourselves, these are proofing is brittle and it doesn't work. You have to track signals all the time. It's not a one-and-done deal. You

have to create scenarios regularly and you have to be willing to recalibrate them. Not once every few years you have to develop models that show plausible outcomes of your decisions that when you release a product. You already know in advance, the type of impact on society that I could have, and lawmakers it is time to step up. You cannot ignore politically unpopular ideas until there's a crisis. You have to be willing to invest in the longer-term, you are public servants. If you are not willing to make decisions that benefit the

future public, good, you should not be running for office and for everybody else, this moment of transformation is about you. I'm asking you to imagine yourself in the future to be aspirational about the future, even if it scares you because imagining yourself in the future, that requires courage, But taking action on that future as a radical act and that's with bold Visionaries do that's what you're going to do our Collective action today. Right now that's the optimistic framing

that's the optimistic scenario. I've walked me through a whole bunch of protect friends. We've talked about different key findings. I talk to you about our annual reports. Our bodies are connected to be with things that you would think since becoming sentient are digital. And physical Realms are intertwining, the you of things your personal data, they're being mined and refine to influence, reality 2020, resulted in a New World Disorder. The you of things in mixed reality shifted, our expectations and our realities. When it comes to power, scraping the

surface intentionally talk about trends that cut across different Industries in and talk about different Technologies because you have to be willing to look for the convergence of signals and Trends. Outside of your usual field-of-view, the transformation is upon us and I want you to get started right now. So, as I mentioned, at the top, here is a link. There's a ton of free stuff. All of our reports. All of our information. Everything is in there for you to download. Please take this information. Read this information. Discuss it make it your own do not try to predict

the future. It's not worth it instead. Focus on preparing your organization's and yourself for the future using signals and Trends so they can make better decisions. Let's make sure that history record. This moment as the time that we decided to make better choices about our futures. Thank you so much. I will see you next year.

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