What I’m Reading
Industries of the Future – Alec Ross
Forecasting the future is a tricky business. Most predictions about technological, political and sociological trends amount to little more than an extension of current trajectories blended with a copious amount of wishful science fiction thinking and a whole lot of spitballing in the dark.
As former Senior Advisor on Innovation to Hillary Clinton, Ross travelled to over 40 countries, examining emerging trends and has connected the dots to provide a compelling and credible overview of where we might be headed in the next 10-20 years.
Some interesting concepts and dichotomies are proposed:
- data/information will replace iron as the most valuable resource.
– Robots will largely replace humans in the workforce – humans simultaneously will become more “robotic” via biotechnology (i.e the singularity)
– The field of genomics will explode allowing easier, early disease detection and life extension opportunities more accessible.
– Codification and replacement of currency via cryptocurrencies
– Replacement of cold war by code war – attacks of nations against corporations and vice versa (think recent North Korean attack on Sony)
– Cybersecurity as an ever emerging growth industry.
– Necessity of developing nations to fully engage women in the workforce/political process.
– Movement of political parties from binary right vs left ideological thinking to open vs closed systems.
Ross isn’t as pessimistic as some futurists when it comes to the large scale displacement of existing professions, saying that the potential for new careers in these emerging trillion dollar industries will be ripe for those people who commit to lifelong learning and adaptability of skill development. He does admit that there will be “winners and losers” in this evolving equation, and the disparity between rich and poor, more pronounced.
The last chapter of the book advises parents and teachers about some of the skills and directions kids should be encouraged to explore in order to best equip them with the “languages” and “proficiencies” needed for thriving in this brave new world.
Overall, this is a superb read. Fascinating in its scope and both entertaining and informative. Highly recommended.
The Future of the Professions – Richard Susskind & Daniel Susskind
As a teacher it’s frustrating that we’re forced to prepare kids primarily with the skills needed for jobs that simply won’t exist in the future. With the rise of technology we are witnessing the incremental dismantling of the professions as we know them along with the redundancy of their respective skillsets.
The roles played by doctors, teachers, accountants, architects, the clergy, consultants, lawyers, and many others will as Susskind argues, will look substantially different in the years to come, if they are to exist at all.
I read this along with Ross’ excellent, “Industries of the Future” to get a more specific overview of the transformative effect technology will have on how particular fields will change in the coming years. Most of the conclusions seem intuitive given the evolving trends and pace of industrial innovations, yet most people will be wholly unprepared and most definitely resistant to the unprecedented upheaval the eventual displacement automation will bring.
You’ll need to either race to keep ahead, work alongside, or be made redundant in the Darwinist sense of the word if you fail to keep abreast of the inevitable sea-change that’s to come.
If you think that you currently provide a level of “human-touch” that’s immune to replacement by machines, or believe that there will be an offshoot of jobs created by these new technologies, then you need to read this book to understand why this most definitely WON’T be the case.
“Termination” might not come in the physical sense via a cybernetic organism wearing dark shades and riding a Harley, but will almost definitely happen via an automated email from an automated/outsourced HR department.
“Professions” is a very dry and repetitive read in parts with its academic and textbook-like tone. However, its underlying thesis is timely and prescient; maybe preparing kids for the uncertainty of life in an era of technological unemployment and a near jobless future will require the (re)teaching of basic hunter and gatherer survival skills? Let’s hope the machines treat us nicely.
What I’m Watching
After an assassination gone wrong, 2 hit men (Farrell & Gleeson) are sent to Bruges in Belgium to lay low and await instructions. This melancholy, dialogue driven dark comedy may be slow paced, but the clever script and performances from Farrell, Gleeson and Ralph Fiennes are first class.
The Unknown Known
Director Errol Morris’ famous interview with 60’s era Secretary for Defence, William McNamara provided a masterful portrait of a man, complicit in the deaths of millions, reflecting on his actions and offering heartfelt contrition for them.
On the flip-side you have Morris’s new subject, Donald Rumsfeld; former Bush administration’s Secretary of Defence. Machiavellian, linguistically evasive and insidiously persuasive, he stands in total contrast to McNamara providing a self effusive and totally non reflective recount of the controversial events that dogged his time in office.
Compelling viewing on the dark nature of the behind the scenes, political puppeteers that govern us.
What I’m Listening To
Cool interview from a while back with strength coach and T-nation contributor, Christian Thibaudeau. I always come away with a lot of useful information from Coach Thibs.
Quote of the Week
“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.” – Robert Heinlein
Recipe of the Week
This was one of the pre-contest favourites that I ate almost everyday leading up to the comp. Before trying this for the first time, I absolutely HATED avocado. Now because of this recipe, it’s easily become one of my favourite foods.
I even demonstrated this recipe to the kids in my class because it’s so easy to do and many of them went home and tried it themselves.
It uses only a few ingredients and best of all provides an abundance of health fats and nutrition.
(Recipe via 24/7 PowerFitness- Bibra Lake Facebook Page)
3 teaspoons of sugar-free chocolate drink (Avalanche Brand)
2-3 teaspoons of Stevia
4 Tablespoons of Unsweetened Almond Milk
4 large Frozen strawberries
Calories: 350 cals
Blend all ingredients in a food processor or use a hand blender (so you’re not scraping shit out of the processor forever) and serve!