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Does AI Scare You?

I want to talk to you a little bit about the future. Now I know that sounds super abstract, I mean “the future” – it’s such a loaded phrase. The future of healthcare? Cars? Technology? The human race?

Well, yeah…kind of all of those – but all connected by a common thread…

Artificial Intelligence

I know that’s a phrase that elicits a range of different reactions from curiosity and excitement to bewilderment and fear.

See, the problem with the future is that it’s pretty difficult to predict and that can be kind of scary. But, if you’re a student of the past, and you study, and you learn from the mistakes of the past and the innovations of the past, you can almost plot a trajectory for the future.

Now don’t get me wrong if you’re a fan of Sci-fi or any of that sort of futuristic stuff, they’ve been predicting the rise of the robots or the rise of the machines for more than 50 years. You know the stories…Robots taking over human jobs and artificial intelligence replacing and making the humans obsolete and then taking over the world, and all of that crazy stuff.

Again, pretty scary shit if you’re looking at it from the wrong perspective…

But here’s the thing…there’s always some kind of limitation. For example, We’ve all been around for the unveiling of technology that came before its time, right? The kind of technology that was supposed to change the name of the game. “The world will be changed, and nothing will ever be the same,” kind of technology.

If you’re having a hard time remembering any examples of these moments let me remind you of a few

Palm Pilot

BlackBerry

3D TVs

Smart Fridges

Each one of these products got so much hype as being the next big thing. And because of that, because there are so many examples in history, in technology, of things before their time, that are highly touted as the next big phase, the next big fad, the thing that is going to be the end all, be all, the thing that’s going to be the answer to all of the questions that we’ve always had, the next big breakthrough People are tired of the crying wolf.

So, long story short, where I’m going here is this. Times are changing, and they’ve been changing. And you’ve heard this 100 times. As have I, right? But the opportunity here is how we react to that knowledge, what we do with it, how we handle it.

Is all this rapid change inspiring? Or, is it scary?

If I had to guess, I’d say the majority of you will say, “It’s a little bit of both,” and, if I’m honest, I think it’s a lot of both. I mean, just think about how far we’ve come and how fast we’ve done it. We’re living in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution…

The first industrial revolution was steam power, which gave way to manufacturing which made manufacturing scalable. Then, the assembly line that led to the second industrial revolution. Then, the third industrial revolution, which was computers and electronics. And now the fourth industrial revolution, which is basically the culmination of all of this, connected.

I want you to leave today with no fear of the future. I know that’s a pretty silly thing to say, but I really believe the future is bright. I have to pinch myself sometimes to remind myself that I’m actually alive in this day and age.

And that’s my WAKEUP Call for today. If you’re not being constantly inspired and excited by the world you’re living in; then it’s time to shift your frame of reference because the only reason to be afraid of what’s coming is if you are a victim of it, or disrupted by it, or caught unaware or unprepared for it.

Think of it this way…the future is like a big wave. If you don’t know how to swim and you go into the ocean, a big wave coming crashing on top of you is pretty scary. If you know how to swim, it’s not quite so scary. You can go out, and you can have fun with it. But if you know how to surf, and you master the ability to surf, you can actually have a lot of fun with it. In fact, surfing wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for big waves.

Do you see? It’s just a matter of context. Here’s what I know to be true. As an entrepreneur of 13 years now, and you may have been an entrepreneur for longer than that, but how many times have we had to reinvent ourselves? A lot. A lot of times. Companies like IBM, are incredibly inspiring because they have managed to reinvent themselves a hundred times over to stay relevant and on the cutting edge.

Do you think the future scares a company like IBM? No, because they’ve made it their commitment to be a part of that future.

So, my challenge to you is to educate yourselves and get on board with what’s happening whether you like it or not. Because even if we’re all afraid and resisting the future, it isn’t going to change anything. It’s happening. In fact, it’s beyond a point of no return.

You can be resigned and resistant to it. You can change the channel every time a new BBC or PBS documentary airs about the future of work, the future of education, the future of health care, the future of robotics. You turn it off if you want to. Go ahead. But when has ignoring something ever stopped it?

So here’s my main point

The future is here, and it’s going to keep on coming. That, we can’t control. But, the one thing we can control is how we react. I don’t know about you guys, but I want to embrace what’s coming and be part of the solution. Part of the positive. Part of the good. Part of shaping how this affects our lives, versus being a victim of it.

You’re either one side or the other. You’re either a victim, or you’re the solution.

As humans, there are certain things that AI and technology, computers, robots will never be able to duplicate, or compete with, or erase, or make redundant. Your empathy. Your unique perspective of the world.

Your creativity. Your special way of doing whatever it is that you do. As an individual, your perspective, which is based on your entire spectrum of life experience, is irreplaceable. That makes you unique. Almost anything else that can be replicated, and duplicated, by technology is and will be.

And hopefully, you feel inspired to embrace the future.

Educate yourself. Educate away all the fear…   Because there’s nothing to be afraid of…

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