Welcome!

Blog Feed Post

This Week in the Future: To Prepare for Tomorrow, Be Human

Communication SkillsHow do we prepare ourselves and our children for a future where we are surrounded by ever-increasing intelligent machines? What skills will we need in a future where computers do tasks originally performed by people?

There are two skills that computers will have a really hard time mastering in the next few decades. By understanding how computers and algorithms work, it becomes clear that the skills of tomorrow are emotional intelligence and cognitive synthesis.

Human beings are really good at communicating with other human beings. We understand each other through a complex system of audio and visual clues that baffle computers. Being human and being able to communicate and interact with other humans is a unique skill that will be even more in demand in the future than it is today.

Cognitive synthesis is the ability to take information from a wide variety of sources, combine them and then make sense of this new information. Humans are really good at taking inputs from multiple places, mixing them together in new ways and coming up with new ideas and perspectives.

By their very definition, current algorithms are really bad at this. They aren’t designed to do it. If a computer was making a cake and found it was missing a cake pan, it would freeze or crash. If a human baker was confronted with the same problem, he might look for a cupcake pan instead.

We’re Doing Education Wrong

This kind of lateral thinking is where human innovation is born, and it points out some current problems in how we think of education.

“In education today, I’m concerned that we are just teaching for the test,” said Kal Penn when we were discussing the future of education in America.

Kal Penn is an established actor in movies and TV (House, How I Met Your Mother, Harold and Kumar), but he has also served in President Barack Obama’s administration as Associate Director in the White House Office of Public Engagement. In 2012, he hosted the Democratic National Convention and made a passionate speech urging young people to get involved and vote.

“In too many schools, we are cutting funding for the arts,” Kal explained. “We are so concerned with passing the required standardized tests that this is all schools and teachers can afford teach. We’re teaching students to pass the test and that’s it. People are so worried that America is prepared to compete, but this approach isn’t going to get us there.”

This kind of cross-subject learning is at the base of lateral thinking and the cognitive synthesis that we will all need to compete in the future. If we are teaching students simply to pass a standardized test, aren’t we preparing them for their jobs to be taken over by a computer?

Not All Cakes Are Created Equal

Not All Cakes Are Created EqualBy its definition, a standardized test standardizes learning and concepts. Once you’ve been able to do this, we can then turn it into algorithmic functions. If we just teach kids to bake a cake in the same standardized way, all we will ever get is the same cake. We can design a computer and a robot to make those cakes. It takes a human brain to make the leap to new ideas. In a standardized cake baking world, it takes humans to make cupcakes.

This doesn’t mean we can do away with the basics. We still need to learn math, engineering and science. We still need to understand the code and be able to write it. But we also need to expand our thinking and put our cognitive synthesis to use. We need both.

“When I was in school, I was I was fascinated with physics and the idea of time dilation,” Kal said.

(Time dilatation is the difference between elapsed time, specifically as it relates to gravity. If you are further away from Earth, time moves slower than when you are on the planet. For example, an astronaut’s watch in space will go slower than your watch here on the ground.)

“I was studying acting,” Kal continued. “I wasn’t planning on being a physicist, but the stories and the ideas behind time dilatation fascinated me. I would ask my professors what happens after the astronaut gets back to Earth. What happens next? Their answer was always, ‘You take the test next.’” Kal laughed. “I know I needed to take the test, but I was thinking about the physics in a different way.”

Smarter Thinking Yields Smarter Machines

This kind of thinking, these different perspectives, will be essential not just in a more competitive global economy, but also in the world of smarter machines.

Legendary futurist Alvin Toffler wrote that “Society needs all kinds of skills that are not just cognitive; they’re emotional, they’re affectional. You can’t run society on data and computers alone.”

Alvin Toffler is the futurist’s futurist. He’s the futurist prime. He and his wife Heidi made futurism – the practice of thinking and talking about the future – a household idea. If you went to a garage sale anywhere in America in the 1970s, it seemed that everyone had read Toffler’s 1970 book Future Shock. It was made into a short film documentary, directed by Alex Grasshoff and narrated by Orson Welles. If you haven’t seen it it’s a gem.

Toffler also wrote that “tomorrow’s illiterate will not be the man who can’t read; he will be the man who has not learned how to learn.” Just as throwing technology at children will not make them smarter, technology alone is not the answer to future innovation. The great ideas of tomorrow will spring from a clear-eyed understanding of who we are as humans, what we are good at and how to use the technology that surrounds us.

Humans + Talents + Technology = Innovation.

That’s a simple algorithm that really could get us somewhere.

**********

DISCLAIMERI am Intel’s futurist. I am currently on sabbatical from Intel.  My thoughts, observations and analyses are mine personally and I am not speaking on behalf of Intel.

**********

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the host of Fox Television’s "Shelly Palmer Digital Living" television show about living and working in a digital world. He is Fox 5′s (WNYW-TV New York) Tech Expert and the host of United Stations Radio Network’s, MediaBytes, a daily syndicated radio report that features insightful commentary and a unique insiders take on the biggest stories in technology, media, and entertainment.

Latest Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place in November in Silicon Valley, California.
Five years ago development was seen as a dead-end career, now it’s anything but – with an explosion in mobile and IoT initiatives increasing the demand for skilled engineers. But apart from having a ready supply of great coders, what constitutes true ‘DevOps Royalty’? It’ll be the ability to craft resilient architectures, supportability, security everywhere across the software lifecycle. In his keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Jeffrey Scheaffer, GM and SVP, Continuous Delivery Busine...
Back in February of 2017, Andrew Clay Schafer of Pivotal tweeted the following: “seriously tho, the whole software industry is stuck on deployment when we desperately need architecture and telemetry.” Intrigue in a 140 characters. For me, I hear Andrew saying, “we’re jumping to step 5 before we’ve successfully completed steps 1-4.”
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists will examine how DevOps helps to meet th...
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR), an industry leader in automated, scalable and secure networks, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Juniper Networks challenges the status quo with products, solutions and services that transform the economics of networking. The company co-innovates with customers and partners to deliver automated, scalable and secure network...
@DevOpsSummit has been named the ‘Top DevOps Influencer' by iTrend. iTred processes millions of conversations, tweets, interactions, news articles, press releases, blog posts - and extract meaning form them and analyzes mobile and desktop software platforms used to communicate, various metadata (such as geo location), and automation tools. In overall placement, @DevOpsSummit ranked as the number one ‘DevOps Influencer' followed by @CloudExpo at third, and @MicroservicesE at 24th.
@GonzalezCarmen has been ranked the Number One Influencer and @ThingsExpo has been named the Number One Brand in the “M2M 2016: Top 100 Influencers and Brands” by Analytic. Onalytica analyzed tweets over the last 6 months mentioning the keywords M2M OR “Machine to Machine.” They then identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
Blockchain is a shared, secure record of exchange that establishes trust, accountability and transparency across supply chain networks. Supported by the Linux Foundation's open source, open-standards based Hyperledger Project, Blockchain has the potential to improve regulatory compliance, reduce cost and time for product recall as well as advance trade. Are you curious about Blockchain and how it can provide you with new opportunities for innovation and growth? In her session at 20th Cloud Exp...
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitachi, the leading provider the Internet of Things and Digital Transformation, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Hitachi Data Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd., offers an integrated portfolio of services and solutions that enable digital transformation through enhanced data management, governance, mobility and analytics. We help globa...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitachi Data Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi LTD., will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City. Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) will be featuring the Hitachi Content Platform (HCP) portfolio. This is the industry’s only offering that allows organizations to bring together object storage, file sync and share, cloud storage gateways, and sophisticated search an...
While some vendors scramble to create and sell you a fancy solution for monitoring your spanking new Amazon Lambdas, hear how you can do it on the cheap using just built-in Java APIs yourself. By exploiting a little-known fact that Lambdas aren’t exactly single threaded, you can effectively identify hot spots in your serverless code. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, David Martin, Principal Product Owner at CA Technologies, will give a live demonstration and code walkthrough, showing how to o...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.