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
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
What sort of WebRTC based applications can we expect to see over the next year and beyond? One way to predict development trends is to see what sorts of applications startups are building. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Arin Sime, founder of WebRTC.ventures, will discuss the current and likely future trends in WebRTC application development based on real requests for custom applications from real customers, as well as other public sources of information,
China Unicom exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which took place at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, in November 2016. China United Network Communications Group Co. Ltd ("China Unicom") was officially established in 2009 on the basis of the merger of former China Netcom and former China Unicom. China Unicom mainly operates a full range of telecommunications services including mobile broadband (GSM, WCDMA, LTE FDD, TD-LTE), fixed-line broadband, ICT, data communica...
My team embarked on building a data lake for our sales and marketing data to better understand customer journeys. This required building a hybrid data pipeline to connect our cloud CRM with the new Hadoop Data Lake. One challenge is that IT was not in a position to provide support until we proved value and marketing did not have the experience, so we embarked on the journey ourselves within the product marketing team for our line of business within Progress. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Sum...
As software becomes more and more complex, we, as software developers, have been splitting up our code into smaller and smaller components. This is also true for the environment in which we run our code: going from bare metal, to VMs to the modern-day Cloud Native world of containers, schedulers and micro services. While we have figured out how to run containerized applications in the cloud using schedulers, we've yet to come up with a good solution to bridge the gap between getting your contain...
With the introduction of IoT and Smart Living in every aspect of our lives, one question has become relevant: What are the security implications? To answer this, first we have to look and explore the security models of the technologies that IoT is founded upon. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nevi Kaja, a Research Engineer at Ford Motor Company, will discuss some of the security challenges of the IoT infrastructure and relate how these aspects impact Smart Living. The material will be delivered i...
Apache Hadoop is emerging as a distributed platform for handling large and fast incoming streams of data. Predictive maintenance, supply chain optimization, and Internet-of-Things analysis are examples where Hadoop provides the scalable storage, processing, and analytics platform to gain meaningful insights from granular data that is typically only valuable from a large-scale, aggregate view. One architecture useful for capturing and analyzing streaming data is the Lambda Architecture, represent...
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningf...
Your homes and cars can be automated and self-serviced. Why can't your storage? From simply asking questions to analyze and troubleshoot your infrastructure, to provisioning storage with snapshots, recovery and replication, your wildest sci-fi dream has come true. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, will provide a ChatOps demo where you can talk to your storage and manage it from anywhere, through Slack and similar services ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ocean9will 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. Ocean9 provides cloud services for Backup, Disaster Recovery (DRaaS) and instant Innovation, and redefines enterprise infrastructure with its cloud native subscription offerings for mission critical SAP workloads.
The taxi industry never saw Uber coming. Startups are a threat to incumbents like never before, and a major enabler for startups is that they are instantly “cloud ready.” If innovation moves at the pace of IT, then your company is in trouble. Why? Because your data center will not keep up with frenetic pace AWS, Microsoft and Google are rolling out new capabilities In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Don Browning, VP of Cloud Architecture at Turner, will posit that disruption is inevitable for c...
Building a cross-cloud operational model can be a daunting task. Per-cloud silos are not the answer, but neither is a fully generic abstraction plane that strips out capabilities unique to a particular provider. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Wolf, VP & Chief Technology Officer, Global Field & Industry at VMware, will discuss how successful organizations approach cloud operations and management, with insights into where operations should be centralized and when it’s best to decentraliz...
Providing the needed data for application development and testing is a huge headache for most organizations. The problems are often the same across companies - speed, quality, cost, and control. Provisioning data can take days or weeks, every time a refresh is required. Using dummy data leads to quality problems. Creating physical copies of large data sets and sending them to distributed teams of developers eats up expensive storage and bandwidth resources. And, all of these copies proliferating...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm. In his Day 3 Keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, a Solutions Marketing Manager at Nutanix, will explore t...
DevOps has often been described in terms of CAMS: Culture, Automation, Measuring, Sharing. While we’ve seen a lot of focus on the “A” and even on the “M”, there are very few examples of why the “C" is equally important in the DevOps equation. In her session at @DevOps Summit, Lori MacVittie, of F5 Networks, explored HTTP/1 and HTTP/2 along with Microservices to illustrate why a collaborative culture between Dev, Ops, and the Network is critical to ensuring success.