The Next Decade (Interview)

The first episode of our new livechat series on the next decade A conversation between Futurist and Envisioning CEO, Michell Zappa and L'Atelier BNP PARIBAS CEO, John Egan.

L'Atelier is a foresight business that identifies and contextualises future market opportunities that emerge from technological and societal change.


hi Michell, great to have you and

welcome to anybody who is watching us

live at the moment or anybody who

watches this subsequently this is the

first in a series of conversations that

I am having with some of the best

thinkers about the future the most

seamless inform people about technology

that I know will begin this series and

will continue over the next year and the

reason for it is because I believes that

we are at the precipice of a decade of

extraordinary change the type of change

that we typically only see maybe once a

century and that this next decade

between 2020 in 2030 is going to see a

totally different world emerge what's

that in minds I've invited Michelle here

to talk about what his vision of that

future is going to be and what he's

looking out for on the major indicators

and signals that he's considering at the

moment to understand how that future

might manifest Michelle's up ICU of

envisioning one of the best feature

thinkers that I know thank you very much

for joining me well thanks for having me

John I think we've been we could having

these conversations for a while and it's

an exciting used to have it with an

audience and I think I also think that

the role of futurist has changed so much

it's post coltd I think all the rules

the rule looks were thrown out the

window when we realize we needed

ventilators and I think it's almost

pointless to some degree it's become the

role of futures has changed and I think

just reflecting on that it's a it's a

good point because I'm often reticent to

use that term futurist to describe

somebody or the work that we're also

engaged in because I think over the last

few years it has become somewhat suspect

at times but you have always been

somebody that looked at technology and

philosophy and society and the

intersection of those components to

understand how they will actually

converge to produce change and to make

it logically understandable in today's

environment which to me is is the core

responsibility of a future but the term

itself has become somewhat pollution I'd


and but but I mean the reason I select

the technologies because it is fairly

predictable it follows a series of rules

or laws or observations that that seem

to you know that seem to validate

overtime so betting I mean I you can

argue only well that Moore's law might

be you know what might stop in the near

future as people have been doing for a

while but you'd be safer to that that

involved and same thing for other

observations around technologies so and

having that certainty I think helps

because it feels as if we live with a

lot of uncertainty and the world seems

truly unpredictable but I think having

these these syringes to hold on to makes

makes it somewhat more predictable it

makes it so much easier to peer into

what's what's possible now you've said

before as well the role of the future is

not necessarily through rights yeah I

don't think that's very helpful I think

I mean you don't want to be wrong all

the time I think that shows you're poor

yeah for court judgment or for

observational skills but also if you're

right all this time you're only stating

the obvious and you're only emphasizing

the status quo in any one can we're all

futurists and just something we were

always making predictions about what's

wants to come I think the difference

between someone who wears the hat or the

label of the future is those they they

were willing to be the predictions in

public and so further out and I think

yeah I think it's a term charged with

the interpretation than commentation

sure I would I would agree

wholeheartedly with the idea that

technology is for castable like it is

it's actually quite easy to to look at

global university research and patent

registration and investment flow to

begin to assess the pace of development

of a specific technology and predict

within within a period of 24 months when

that technology will become

commercializable it's difficult to

actually forecast is how it'll be used

since the human side that always makes

it difficult though yes that's what

tolerated or decelerate yeah yeah sir

context kills and

and not in large part is pop we're

trying to figure out now are we we know

what is possible in the future we just

don't know how broad those parameters

should be how many different

possibilities actually exists because

you know I think a good place to start

this conversation is the point we're at

now we live at this time of

extraordinary change and I term Drive

been referring to for the last couple of

years this idea about complexity

singularity the world has become so

complex sometime in the last two decades

that is now impossible for an expert in

one field to fully comprehend the

technology or are the advancements in an

adjacent field it's so far it's become

so complex and so when you expect the

average person to consider and

understand the movement of the world and

the movement of Technology and

geopolitics and sociology and climate

and everything else it's beyond the

average person and I think a consequence

of things like conspiracy theories in

make a lot of these things easier for

people to digest but we are exist at

this time of extraordinary change and

extraordinary signals are the things

that you look at at the moment that you

feel like this is a real signal of

things to come and how the world is

going to change over the next ten years

so if we're standing at a point now in

2020 and we're beginning to us we're

moving towards in this conversation a

conversation about what 2030 might look

like are there certain things that you

see now technological sociological

political that you look at and you say

this is going to have deterministic or

this will it is significantly a

comprehensive impact on the world that

we inhabit in the future that I mean you

can argue that the world has always been

this complex but now we're more exposed

to the fact that it is as if we used to

learn about the world we've still

learned about the world in hindsight you

read history and you read how things

were in the past that they seemed

comprehensible to us because that's

that's what's remained it's the history

books it's the whereas in the present I

think it's I think what you're

describing is almost a permanent state

can't understand the fullness of what's

going on we never have we never were

able to do that but now we're more

exposed to it because I think it's

shifting faster because it's

communicating faster so the local truths

as they change I think we'd be exposed

to it a lot more which is causing things

like conspiracy theories or just

challenging what to believe in

it's no longer a parent and it's no

longer obvious and it's no longer clear

who we should be listening to I think

the internet accelerated that over the

last three decades now and giving

everyone a voice has consequences

there's there's some wonderful aspects

to it but but it's also challenging to

not know the holistic to not saying that

the previous model of broadcasting was

correct you know where where it was

cleared in a little listen to you listen

to you know TV one or two you know chat

a lot our child - when I grew up and it

was it was clear that if what the what

the agenda was whereas post internet and

post social media post phones and post

to talk like the more the more of these

channels you have the more unclear it

becomes listen to because because it's

given us all the power of broadcasting

but I think I think I would that's

that's how I would look at them at the

present is I think it's the lack of

clarity stems from the explosion of

these technologies that were that was to

some degree unpredictable how much it

would affect us but I guess it was

anticipated by many I mean what we're

going through now 2016 in particular

that was not me there were people who

were not surprised what had happened and

they have because of the end of looking

at the you know the effects of networks

and technology from that particular lens

but I think so moving into the future it

becomes less and less predictable for

sure because there are so many more

signals there so me or everything

affects everything else and I think

we're being exposed to that natural

national boundaries have a very

different role in 2020 then than they

did in 2010 or 2007 the way we define

ourselves and the way we identify

identified with the network which

whom we've never met in person and how

that's become the norm I think that has

such profound effects that that too

makes it harder and harder to predict

where we're going next yeah I hadn't

really appreciated the relativity point

actually that the fact that regardless

when you're boring you can only exist

within your contemporary environment and

what seems complex to us probably seemed

equally complex to somebody born and in

the 14th century but at the same time I

kind of feel like if somebody who was

born when maybe 40 centuries a bad

example because in plague but

by-and-large somebody born across the

span of five centuries life for twenty

old man or woman would have been almost

identical across that period of time in

a European context for instance which is

which I I think was the core of the

points of where we are moving very

quickly forward now to the extent that

my life is materially different to that

of my parents my father grew up at a

time where electricity in this home and

that's substantially different to to the

environment and also things like pay for

mortality and stuff and quite clearly

population so my parents would have

grown up in a world where population

would have been significantly less than

half of what it is now when every single

person contributes this exponential

growth of complexity and speed of change

and then we add device infrastructure

into it and it becomes even faster but

one other thing which you mentioned

which i think is really relevant is that

what every every new advancement now

with new ways of measuring so therefore

with new ways of understanding is unlike

you said with 2016 forecast like I think

with 2016 in particular just looking at

Twitter you you wouldn't need a

particularly sophisticated tools to

understand that that's the risk of the

two major geopolitical shifts that we

saw were very likely but we're all this

data now we have maybe more ways of

making it comprehensible but then again

only for those who have access to those

two so you have a new capital barrier

that's actually put in place which makes

a which challenges the the way the

social contract is traditionally worked

to some extent but maybe maybe we come

back to that so so we kind of exist in

the contemporary environment now where

looking at this extraordinary world of

geopolitical shifts over the last four

years isn't likely to continue for at

least the medium term or until something

something comes everybody down

unfortunately historically that's

usually mean some foreign conflict

that's only where people have really

learned our massive economic success and

that right now is looking unlikely

everything it looks like we're on the

precipice of the officials of that but

economic collapses is his forward

position one big one for me as well as

population shift so obviously we live in

a world of population is still growing

but there's certain geographies notably

Japan and China where population is set

to decline in an extraordinary rate over

the next 30 years

Europe to some degree you're interested

- yes but I think Europe at a slower

rate I mean obviously the radio it's not

a staggering yeah also with a higher

level of infrastructure or capability

from migration into Europe as well it is

not easy to migrate to China to work

like that is not an easy place to go to

where you can just you know situate

yourself regardless of where your phone

but if China does indeed shrink from a

population of allegedly 1.4 billion -

the estimates of about 650 million over

the next three decades as a consequence

of the one-child policy it has them on

the geopolitics of the region as well

and Japan - a country that's likely to

lose about 50 million in total

population over the next 30 years it

ends up in one of those areas to me we

can look at all the technological

aspects we can look at behavior and

sentiment but ultimately things like

climate population and positioning are

the things an urbanization of migration

or the things that really shape how we

live our lives yeah I mean I think Bruce

Darling has been alluding to an older

and smaller population afraid of the sky

for a while because that's I think

that's what we're moving towards the

megatrends pointed that direction

population that grows older increasingly

urban increasingly worried about the

climate which is the underlying issue

but you know despite all despite all

politics the climate

is is will remain the guard lasat who be


how are you know in all these places

with with with democratic challenges and

I think that's that's yeah the megatrend

points in that direction

but your questions so I think intro to

you know well maybe I jump off it so is

there is there a point historically that

you kind of reflect on and see is maybe

something familiar to what we're

experiencing now can you point to a time

where this combination of factors came

together technology a social change

political change that's an easy no I'd

like I think there is no there's no

document there's no record of precedent

for this and I think it feels like a

singularity I think I think your point

about the complexity clarity is very

violent and I think the issuance of

guarantees is you can't really point you

can't really point to where they started

thinks technological singularity did it

start with Industrial Revolution or with

the semiconductor like 30 because

there's there's no clear line between

when one thing when stopped and the

other began so you could point as far

into the history as you'd like to

indicate when that inflection point

might have or the point of

irreversibility might have happened we

talked about a singularity of something

ahead of us and a point of inflection

but I think that's it always it builds

on these another these inevitability

almost same thing with the power

distribution of technologies but we're

seeing is a replication of existing

systems of power technology and came the

web especially so it grows on a wave of

libertarian independent thinking that I

think is associated with California and

the other aspect of Silicon Valley the

suit of the free thinking false thought

that gave rise to it but it's but it's


bit echoic economically speaking has

been co-opted by existing power

structures and it's inevitable because

it's who reached there to reach the

amount of people that have access today

of course you need the exist you know

Muni you know the government's

government oversight and but it also I

think replicated

issues that that existed prior to the

web that the web

it was seen as a great equalizer but and

it did to some degree but financially

speaking I think it's just replicating

what we had before which is there - I

see those things like when peering into

the future there's a great principle

which is you-you-you know in order to

anticipate how long something might last

they have to assume that we're at the

midpoint of it so how likely are banks

to be around a century from that will

very likely because they because we've

had them for so long whereas how likely

is tech stocks to be around a century

from out very unlikely because because

of it so I think that that principle

applies when looking at these power

structures and it's one of those

certainties you you you can you can you

can allude to yeah it's and it's a

really useful principle to have

especially as a benchmark when we begin

to misidentify

institutions we we kind of disregard the

time of existence

I think the banking one obviously of

personal interesting what's the use of

them that the levels of which people

have for years now suggested that that

banks are on their last legs and this is

the end of banks for various reasons it

has always struck me as naive thing to

suggest the notion of of replacing our

extra gating banks from an existing

system of society is just not really

feasible in the short term or in the

medium term I think in the long yeah

yeah yeah it's something it's something

to remind although all old crypto fans

and I you know I've shared a sentiment

as well before learning about this is

very useful principle just assume you're

halfway that's a good that's a good

indicator you might be off but you're

not going to be not much off but yeah I

think it's a valid it it's a good

reminder that things will probably keep

looking mostly the same but you have to

identify where the where the more

flexible spots are but I think there's

no precedent of history I think there

has there there is no way to expect it's

irreducible this moment it only were

experiencing it as it's happening and

and I think it has a lot of positive

externalities as well like what well I

mean the upside to having access to any

information is you're free to learn from

anyone the challenge is a discernment

it's like knowing who to listen to and

what listened to but I think there are

many truths that work that that that we

can be exposed to and I think the

internet helps in that regard

so learning from from things that we're

not what we call you know what we call

the mainstream

I think refers to any any mode of

thought I need philosophy and the web

has all the met up it's related to

things like conspiracy theories because

because it's so easy I mean the rabbit

hole is there right there you have no

reason to stop looking things up yeah

I think we've all gone down that route

and realized at some point you know you

stop and you reconsider what what the

likelihood of this this is true but if

either web mobile is that up I think you

know the possibility of many more modes

of thought and it normalizes it too

dangerous degrees with conspiracy

theories but also chip with positive

aspects and you can learn from anyone

you can learn anything from anyone

expose your thoughts to anyone the

construction of long tail communities is

such an enormous T enormous impact on

the world that the idea of us you could

have a hundred villages of a hundred

people and you might have one outlier

thinker in each village about a specific

topic may be more predisposed to

believing in what we see is contemporary

conspiracy theories but once you connect

all those villages now all of a sudden

you have a village into itself

it's just distributed and now where was

one person amongst 100 now we've got a

state where it has a real voice it's got

a hundred people and it's an equivalent

to all these other villages rather than

being one percent of a voice and I think

that idea of a long-term community

construct has had such an extraordinary

impact as well as kind of this idea of

micro generations because now the speed

of change has accelerated so much that

you see these


a viewer and sentimental sentiment based

changes on people that are four years

apart but they use different devices

they use them differently to use

different social media networks you know

recently I saw there was a kind of viral

piece on Jen's ears talking about how

much they despise Millennials and it was

a fascinating kind of piece of social

commentary to to see there's the gulf

between a group of people are only a few

years part apart

they absolutely diverged in terms of

philosophy and thinking and challenges

and I think that's a really curious

thing to see but the way the internet

amplifies extremities as well I must say

this in a bad way but it's a curious

thing to see that now you've got this

infrastructure of community that used to

provide weight to philosophies and

opinions that previously would have been

disregarded so whether that's Flat Earth

or whatever it happens to be the

chemtrails or yada yada etc etcetera

you've got a situation where all the

sudden there's enough people within this

community construct that a requires

weight to be given to it through the

traditional means of media distribution

and debate that we have because we built

you know we built a debate in a

conversation infrastructure in society

to do two things or a built on it's hard

to be fair and balanced with these


extremely difficult I mean you're the

idea of Mills is kind of free speech

being a kind of a kind instruments of

capitalism that's any opinion in a

market of opinions the best opinions

will be bought and will rise to the top

and those of you hunger really works

when you've got access to money more

markets for that opinion so now the the

mainstream opinion begins not it doesn't

become canon it actually is just

established as the thing that all of the

diverging diverging opinions were

challenged and therefore eats away at

the kind of systemic nature of truth and

Trust that's inherent in it which is

really kind of problematic and maybe a

good jumping off point for moving

forward so okay so if we're kind of

looking for saying this we've never seen

a points in history that resembles that

moment right now in terms of the speed


change and the complexity of the change

its geopolitical its climate orientated

there's more people than ever before

technology is accelerating at a pace

that's unfamiliar to everybody

economically were in this kind of

unknown period economically we've never

been we never seen anything remotely

like this and that's that's typically

what bulls will say when justifying

economic positions during the bubble I'm

on the other side of this right now I

was saying that economically we're in

this terrifying moment where a lot of

the infrastructure that we built to

manage our economic system this is now

defunct and we're just we're streaming

down a hill in the darkness without a

break without lights on the car and we

don't know what's gonna happen next now

where we're going to end up so oh go

ahead no it's going to say I think

that's always been true I think that's

the thing is we just realize perhaps

that the slide has been sort of out of

control it's more out of control than we

thought but I think the illusion of

control is part of what has being

shattered and what we're going here and

the excitation that systems can be

managed because you're you're always

managing systems locally but most take

into consideration your allies or your

opponents but you're always managing

like if you're you're a king your

controller that your your your your

state from the top down thinking enough

control but that things happen that are

out of your control and same thing for a

company now it is I think that's never

been true we've learned that they were

so exposed to everything else and to

everyone else that we can't even have

make the assumption that we know where

we're gonna end up please there's

there's this kind of idea of an average

day theory where you can expect on an

average day that a certain thing is

happened and for a long time certain

economically that was the case of

post-war economics because of the social

contract that was put in place across

much of the Western world was reasonably

predictable and there were Black Swan

events that could have created triggers

that created collapses or shocks but

ultimately a person could expect an

average day we're now at a point where

there's no such thing as an average day

anymore we do like every single day

offering surprises and shocks that are

beyond the realms of our imagination so

I ideas that we've never really had

control but before even at a macro level

we understood that in a developed

economy if we saw inflation there was

things that we could do with monetary

policy or the physical policy is that

that could limit that or could restrict

it or it can improve it actually

controllers and once well it's it's

controlled to the extent that you're

trying to push it in a certain direction

hoping that it will go that direction at

least you know you're an active


so at least you know it's like if you're

careening down the hill in this car

you've got some tools at your disposal

that may be able to shift your

directions likely or slow you down we're

now at a point where that's all of those

elements of any sort of control that

gave us the sense of increased levels of

control disappeared and that part of

puts us in this fascinating point where

okay so we if we've identified that

historically we haven't seen anything

like this before going through the very


fundamental shifts and here we are

trying to figure out what the future

looks like where do we even begin

so as a futurist where do you begin when

you look at the next 10 years what is

2030 gonna look like and how do you even

begin to consider those possibilities

well I like the shift you described and

in my mind it sounds like the difference

between Newtonian physics and quantum

physics Newtonian tells you that the

world will behave in a predictable way

and if you hit the brakes the car will

stop quantum physics says you know if

you hit the brake it's nothing might

happen the car might fly out you know

might might fly sideways it's not pretty

but it's probably going to stop but it's

not certain that I think we're being

exposed to that faster and faster and

you know at an increasing pace I think a

lot of it has to do with communication

you know the fact that we're sharing so

much more and we're exposed to the rest

of the world to such a degree becomes

virtually impossible

to insulate yourself from from what's

happening everywhere and once I think I

think that's the best that that's the

shirt that I think it's self reinforcing

because the more were exposed to others

the faster we react because we don't

want to feel that we're not just you

know we're not up to speed I think it

affects every I think it affects

everyone equally but how to make

predictions for 2030 I think it goes

back to one of the search engines and

you were talking about the difference

between intergenerational changes and

insures I think again the past changes

happened from one generation to the next

or might be some but within your

lifetime you expect the certain degree

of stability there was no you know no

sudden movements

whereas now the the shifts are happening

with you know from from a day to the


the average day perhaps has become non

average as in like you you're to expect

a lot of craziness because that's the

new average because I think young

exposed to the rest of the world we're

more exposed to each other almost

emotionally the way social networks you

know absolutely the way they feel about

things and then amplify certain emotions

more than others it's easier to share

outreach pay done other things on

certain social networks but predicting

yeah back to your question what's buckle

the end of this decade look like I think

it's likely that perspective will still

have devices that we recognize those

smartphones but I think they're gonna be

more distributed and going back to them

to the theme of today I think the notion

of a phone is feels as if it's spreading

out as it is because we're talking to

our headphones we're talking to you are

watching us we're talking to our to our

speakers our televisions like more and

more things surround us are listening so

to speak and the intelligence on the

phone is still listen to driving all of

this or more of it is that the cloud

obviously to become more independent of

the phone but I think the phones still

to some degree it's still the core of it

it's where most innovation hat is

happening therefore it's

more changes happen irrelevant because

there's so much competition for that

market but I see yeah ten years ago

we'll still have it but it's but it but

it becomes more optional you can you can

leave your house without it and it won't

make that much of a difference same way

you can today if you have a watch with

the same shape or Eason and Hanson had

it on so you already feel quite you're

independent of the phone as it is if you

have those devices and I think that's

going to become more and more normal so

do you see so we began the mobile phone

began as a device that allowed us to

speak to one another and then it kind of

evolved into a device that allowed us to

go on the go yeah and then communicate

via text predominantly so I the email or

text forum and then we added new

features to it which allowed us to

consume content and interact with

platforms so now we find ourselves as

it's an entertainment unit effectively

are a it's a tension unit that we spend

a lot of Exile on so obviously was this

enormous need there that we were

probably on aware of in decades past

that people craved in those in-between

moments where you were moving from A to

B or you were static what I would any of

the four stimulus that we were craving

some four stimulus and now the ability

to optimized utility we derive from that

stimulus it has been under to us but how

do we now would you expect that feature

to evolve in a linear trajectory or do

you expect new features being added to

the device that the central device that

we bring with us to allow it to evolve

into another stage that of all is beyond

content because if we don't make many

phone calls anymore that's a small

element of what the phone is used for

but it's the next big I think the phone

I think the the what makes a smart phone

different from any other technologies

but it retains all of those previous

features it's the only is the first good

it is the first ubiquitous multi-purpose

technology most technologies that

succeed do one thing really well a

special-purpose computer that to play

video games on as a console they so much

better than computers because there's

this other focused on one thing a felony

and that's true for most technologies

most ecology will be will finder you

know find their niche or their focus or

their their purpose and double down on

that and that's how they that's how they

grow the smartphone is different because

it has so many complementary uses it's

by the features it's like it's becomes a

camera it becomes a television screen it

becomes anything you wanted to I think

that makes it just things the underlying

intelligence I would separation of the

device itself so I seen the device I

don't see it instead of polarizing in

the sense that in the future everyone

will use it as an entertainment device

exclusively make it because I think it

reaches a certain point certain

threshold and then I might go back I'd

you seen happening now of course you

know faster shorter more immediate


immersive experiences I keep going back

to this is a good example of something

that took many people by surprise and

how many you know really quickly with

all of these associated issues but I

think is a good example of faster

shorter or immediate type of

entertainment but I think at the end of

the day the phone will it's gonna it's

gonna it's gonna keep those

characteristics and add more it would

you think it'll be you think it wouldn't

lead innovation or would it be

innovation led by that I mean a lot of

what we've seen in terms of consumer

based companies and technology over the

last ten years has been led by the

smartphone the smartphone exists and

therefore companies have created new

things to reach people through the phone

do you think they'll moving forward that

the phone will begin to respond to the

innovations that are occurring outside

of it or will it continue to be the

platform that leads on there that needs

external or adjacent innovation I agree

that's been sort of fulcrum of the

record for a deflection point of

concentration where almost seems like

all attention software hardware

miniaturization radio networks

everything's been moving in the

direction of making phones smart you're

cheaper more ubiquitous so there's been

and that push is unlikely to go

so the companies working in this basic

thing don't keep adopting because it's

also what's happened is apples

effectively eaten all the profits in

this market on market so you do have

platform competition but not really

because all the money is on one side of

the equation and all the different and

most device are on the other so there's

their stuff this disconnect which which

I think adds a very particular dynamic

to it because you can't really speak

about smartphones in general you can

talk about what you know what Apple

strategy is what Android seems to be

doing if Google will keep you interested

in Android in the long run or you know

what's gonna happen to us because that's

also fractured fracturing so yeah I

think you have to get specific quickly

but I say that the but the role of the

puzzle the role the roles of the phone

will keep multiplying okay so look if

the rules keep on multiplying and it

becomes more distributed does their does

the phone become a notional object you

know do we end up with a situation where

we're using buy augments and implants

that are all connected through private

infrastructure that were how does public

IOT infrastructure interact with this as

well what what you think the phone

actually looks like does it still look

like something you hold in your heart or

is that just a notional concept that you

know maybe there is a screen unit well I

was to consume technology through sites

but actually maybe a lot of the content

that we consume is it's through a

different media I break down the Android

vision from what I think Apple is doing

and what they seem to be doing is

unifying their platforms in a way that

makes that question irrelevant as an the

phone might go away it might remain here

but what do you have access to is always

there and I think you see it I think the

watch with an e service is a great step

in that direction of the fact that don't

worry they're working on AR is is I

think that's it's a common understanding

now it's a matter of when they release

classes I'd start normalizing the

behavior of having augmented so the

division I think that's a matter of time

so and I think what they're doing on on

the operating system from

bring even the max to their own silicon

this is is such as it's a validation of

that theory about this it's it doesn't

matter what device you're on you're

always you're always having access to

the same things they're their

applications or data or whatever you

call it and I don't want to sing a lot

Apple but I think they're very different

from an advertising model but it's

Google that hasn't tried to diversify

for two decades now that hasn't really

succeeded with some very particular

exceptions like YouTube way though but

but generally speaking they're still an

outcome and I think the likelihood have

seen and I think you need platform

innovation together

to pull this off so the devices will

keep you know the screens will get

bigger they'll get smaller the cameras

will pop out or foldout there's going to

be a lot of that I think on the Android

side but I think what vision for 2030

and having things embedded in you yeah

it's the headphones that you check your


it's the watch that knows your your your

your blood your blood symmetry and your

pulse rate having that having that type

of access I only see one company able to

pull that off where we are right now

yeah you know one interesting thing that

you can see with a lot of the big tech

firms is the desire to create a resource

a kind of a unique competence and that

you can build assets out of so Amazon

you can decide in AWS was the way you

want to go and through a oh but you

asked that gives them this kind of

unlimited potential to create a myriad

new products and solutions and

opportunities and actually they can kind

of be ambivalent to whatever the product

or solution is because he wants to build

this underlying infrastructure I think

with Google it was voice AI it was like

what do we need to do to do voice AI and

the phone was part of that it collect as

much voice data as possible so they can

do leading-edge kind of voice AI I think

the downside of that though is you kind

of understand that they've never really

carried all that much about the phone

thought it was about the data that they

could gather through it that's already

considered whereas Apple are quite

obviously hardware company the carrier

or raison d'etre so I think that that um

that's noticeable you can see that and

III know limitations that out as well

because I don't think Apple are building

the same sort of long-term competencies

that Amazon and Google are when it comes

to respectively AWS and voice AI and

that will create an interesting dynamic

but I do agree with you that in terms of

the actual device infrastructure itself

it's such a it's an extraordinarily

difficult to penetrate like though

obviously it will be at some point but

it's very very difficult to do so you've

also got this kind of nationalistic sort

of defense mechanism which is in the

kind of Western world Apple is

acceptable but the idea of maybe an

Asian competitor is all of a sudden kind

of dangerous what will they do with your

data there are concerns about that and

that goes for Apple as well see you

would be very vocal about this now for

ten years they do not like the idea of

American oil companies owning massive

amounts of European citizen data and

having to sit on the US server so that's

a real problem and I think the EU would

be delighted to see and to facilitate

and the European equivalent of an apple

how but all that to say I agree with you

I think that my view and this is thus

over the next ten years I think we will

see the introduction of kind of what the

first stage of like transhumanism is in

that we will begin to see more

augmentation that were probably hardware

to begin with but it gives us a signal

of what people will begin to do in terms

of bio augmentation over the following

decade that will be everything from coup

sticks to - sighs - whether it's lenses

of truth glasses or ultimately then

contact lenses which are probably if

contact lenses are we've obviously

worked on this recently but they're one

of those technologies that there's a lot

of IP coming through on contact

currencies they're already working demos

I'm not safe an example is of everything

from you've got telescopic contact

lenses that are functional that were

created by EC San Diego very very simple

kind of sea water based contact lenses

that are able with you know

close your eyes twice and you can zoom

on something and then Cosimo's niizuma

you've also got ones that are very

simple ones that are able to give you

directions so you've got a presence that

can give you simple information so they

exist so one would expect in 10 years

time we'll see some evolution for mixed

reality virtual reality augmented

reality our complex complex domains

where III my money right now was much

more on the a rmr side of things or

actuality more generally in the analog

world and it is unvirtuous it seems to

me that that's kind of the the obvious

trajectory that we begin to see the

stratification of digital worlds an

overlay or analog environment that we

can experience to either glasses or

contact lenses that are based on

subscriptions to the first various data

are publicly accessible data that we

have rights to then inform the

environment that we're seeing and

provide data and not just data in terms

of letters and numbers but data in terms

of emphasis color and then a link to you

know acoustic elements that you might

have also in sound so you end up with a

much more interactive and immersive

augmented environment that ultimately

replaces a lot of the dynamics the phone

currently has to allow you to interact

with the world around you in different

ways and the world interact with us I

think this is kind of where this phone

conversation gets positioned because as

we look at the world's emergence in this

new landscape in 2030 and what it's

going to look like and the and the jump

that IOT is going to make over the next

decade and the ability for people to

subscribe to novel data streams it's

such an over the next decade and the

tools to actually leverage them well we

begin to see as a world that interacts

with us rather than us just interacting

with the world around us when the world

interacts with us the purpose of the

phone as we know it now I think changes

orderly it changes totally fundamentally

they do a degree the idea that we we

look at her phone for stimulus may in

part be replaced by the fact that the

stimulus is coming from the buildings

and the windows and the vehicles and

screens around us to Italy so it might

actually be a change that we see

people's vision shift up a layer again

which could be a

same thing to see in the phone itself

then becomes a kind of an operations box

to coordinate a lot of your descriptions

your data your security infrastructure

API access from from third parties or

whatever else that you use it as a and

then I kind of as a last resort sort of

stimulus package of stimulus box for for

a driven content for TV or whatever I

think those the vision for Google glass

I mean as misguided as it was what their

their intention was exactly what you

said about lifting the gates because

they too have been noticing people so

diving into to to smartphones and

realizing not you need an interface that

is higher up and I think it failed for

myriad reasons and I think but I don't

think it's a done technology I think

fairly certain it's going to come back

it's going to be a big Buddhist in the

decade was the rock to be working on it

they are like it's not the first time

we've seen a technology kind of rise and

fall in order to rise again as people

adjusted to it as a concept but I think

for me Google glass was always like I

always refer to it's early-stage

biotechs ultimately like a long term

here what you're looking at is kind of

synthetic eyesight and synthetic

eyeballs and however that works and on a

completely new like we take a step back

and we consider the most formative

technology now we're experiencing now we

will continue to experience over the

next century probably as artificial

intelligence and its various different

forms that it's it's very difficult for

me to imagine an environment or a world

where AI continues to evolve and humans

sit back and allow it what I would

actually introducing the mosaic

components to themselves you know we

will try to augment ourselves as well I

think that feels kind of inevitable

through - we already do what I suppose

but through by augmentation and then the

introduction of AI capacity to our

decision-making process in whatever way

that actually happens but I think from

me that's what Google glass was a signal

to it was this Google and identified and

as Google often do they identify the

need and then totally fail to execute on

the solution but they're very very good

at understanding what the actual need is

and I think what they realized was that

there is this emerging biotech space

where people becoming the compart of

network mesh as the IOT of as IOT

revolves we become very much part of it

and that interactions grow beyond our

five senses to a new range of kind of

digital censorial objectivity that's

facilitated through new augmentation

that gets layered into the body and for

me I think we're going think that's why

they call it I think that's why they

call it a droid as it like I don't think

the name is a coincidence I think like

they they their vision their long-term

vision I never to argue you said earlier

that but Google's but as I became at the

WS and Google is working on police say I

would actually argue that they were

trying to do eight artificial general

intelligence and I think that their

their vision for for computing is is AI

and voice is one of the interfaces and I

think Android the reason it's might even

be called one of the reasons might be

call Android is because they wanted to

be that interface between us and the

data at Google you know the connection

between our reality and their data

stream is the watch you wear the

headphones you have in out of I think

their vision for how to do that don't

with manufacturing wise is proving not

to be ideal they're still trying him

they're still gonna be around in a

decade for sure but I think they're I

think I'd seems as if the companies are

moving in different directions which of

course they have both been very fast and

adopting each other's innovation which i

think is a good is a sign of a healthy

ecosystem but I but I see but and I also

think that AI is it is nowhere near has

the word near the ability and the

roadmap for AI from my perspective the

route the route that we going on for AI

now machine learning and reinforcement

learning doesn't seem to be how you end

up with the artificial general

intelligence you end up with some very

very high-level magic seeming abilities

but it's only but it's reinforcement

right it's reinforcement learning is

decision augmentation

decision augmentation is our good friend

yeah I think it might be that we need

quantum to pull off an artificial

general intelligence I mean we have

quantum is still a black box in terms of

what you can do with it once once you

once we pulled that off

and and I think like it's it's it's

highly highly speculative because

because contras a black box because AI

is another off because we're talking

about consciousness and we have no idea

how conscious even works for us let

alone how to generalize it and simulate

it but but I think well it's an

interesting field to be and that's for

sure no dull days yeah the it's I like

to where you frame that it's got me

thinking but you I think the idea that

um that Google like you know I think the

one thing people often mistake when they

kind of envisions the future because

it's it's typically dumb damn or we we

create these caricatures of what the

future might look like and

retro-futurism it's full of these I mean

it's difficult to give a fully fleshed

out world it's hard to explain that it

goes way beyond the idea of having just

a digital assistant that whispers in

your ear while you've seen hardware

upgrades in the world around you what

for me I think the thing to keep in mind

is that well we look at the human side

of this we're all motivated by this idea

of kind of creating a world of our own

just fine we get up in minds the Bhakra

head were motivated by this idea that

today we're gonna do everything we can

to reduce the friction that we encounter

to create a world of our own design

knowing that it's not it's unachievable

but with the help of this technology it

kind of pushes us closer and closer and

closer to you know the ability to change

aspects of our world and I think what

that's likely to look like is people

begin to totally shift their the

perspective the world that they exist

within and what I mean by that is once

you change the layer of vision that

people see through the frame and that's

editable all of a sudden the world can

be whatever anybody wants it to be you

can use vision you can add in features

you can create the one person will look

up at the sky and you'll see dragons

flowing around because that's what they

want to see we begin to see things like

NFT is allow for the construction of

virtual assets that are unique and

distinctive and can interact with each

other and all of a sudden you begin to

see you know a kind of a appearing or

the strategy

two different layers and that that is a

point of which i think is achievable

within the next 10 years but it totally

then changes the orientation and nature

and use of the phone because if it's

simple stimulation that people are

looking for and they're able to look at

the world around them and tune in to any

of these you know whatever like if it's

imagine a pokemon gold player I think

it's a simple what the evolution of

Pokemon go is and this exists all around

them when they're walking around it

changes the nature of the device when

your vision shifts up like you said

Google I think so yeah I mean my my view

here is that Google are really onto

something in terms of where people will

begin to move or shift into that kind of

transhumanism space and begin to look at

by augmentation more seriously it's

likely to really begin to occur and

earnest over the next decade and kind of

put a layer foundation for the following

decade but it feels like by 20 it will

feel far more normal for people to have

a significant augmentation either

through devisor through implants taking

why some questions I need you so we do

what you think so there's a question

which I don't understand I mean you

think it's what you think of the digital

study you do you think it's better than

all swine study study s T u dy maybe I

think it might be more education so it's

a good place to actually move this now

given that we exist with the environment

it might mean what do we think of the

idea of you've mentioned learning on

YouTube already so I think we're always

learning I think something that's

shifted so something that I can identify

with us having sort of grown up on line

is I'm like to me school was never about

learning learning school was like okay

there here's some basics that I need to

understand but I actually I gathered

either from first night experience or

learning from whatever it was available

online so I sort of grew up with that

regard and everything practical that I

learned how to do I figured out that way

and I think you can generalize that you

can generalize it to the point where

YouTube is probably the

largest educator in the world today in

our education platform in the world and

then you have and I think everyone who's

broadcasting it's what we're doing now

or teach it right over your teaching

whatever we know about these ideas of

the future filler or futurism in general

future studies but at the end of the day

we're I think we're spending a lot more

time learning from each other teaching

each other and I see an increasing

number of companies just moving into

that space like repositioning themselves

as an educational institution because I

realizing what they have is very

valuable we are no exception to that

I noticed that Harvard of announced that

at least for the very I think it's for

the entire year but maybe for the élysée

for the first semester the old classes

will be remote so for all of those

people paying 50 grand and tuition fees

to go to Harvard they're gonna have a

digital experience which you know

fundamentally undermines that the

university but I would I am an advocate

for formal schooling as well because I

think that one of the important things

is that it's important societally that

we all have a systemic grounding in

something common because it improves

communication if we don't understand

each other then all communication breaks

down so what we're really talking about

when we talk about digital education is

adding nuance to perspective and the

Glitter thing yeah the greater the range

of the nuance the more informed of

society is what I think it needs to be

built on a foundation so we teach

everyone fundamental it's like

mathematics and how to speak and how to

communicate to each other and about

history and about geography because

these are the well yeah so history is is

obviously more subjective but a lot of

these things are are they're Friday

sound even your philosophy on helping

people learn how to think once you've

done that to a certain standard and

obviously you're currently schools don't

really do that sufficiently but in

concepts once you've done that to a

certain standard then it allows the

individual to pursue a nuance and

specificity and they're on their own

right and that can be hugely powerful

when it comes to the ability to express

themselves because what we get is far

more unique perspectives in the world

than we would traditionally at heart

that we don't have robots for

getting the exact same rhetoric and the

exact same understanding instead we have

lots of people who unique points of view

and that can only be a positive thing

but for me it's a hybrid it has to be

assembly of both of them you can't I

don't think that digital learning where

our autonomous self led learning will

ever totally replace structured formal

States introduced learning balancing the

challenge really I think much can be

said about self-directed learning and

all your arguments are valid about us

needing some a common baseline

I grew up within a very strong public

school society and system in Sweden I

can I can I can test I can I can vouch

for the importance of having that and

building a sound and rational society

and but I also think that self-directed

learning is inevitable and it's an

increasingly frequent part of how we do

anything and I think so I think learning

how to balance that or even gauging

whether it's something whether whether

are the same whether you're on the same

ground figuratively speaking learning

how to gauge that I think is this

business is important matter because

because we can't close the door to

self-directed learning it's always going

to be there and we kept we can't

algorithmically eliminate fringe

theories they're always going to be

there as well so how do you balance that

I think that's to me that's the

challenge yeah that's a good

conversation to come back to as well how

do you navigate or mitigate some of the

negative externalities of advancement

especially when it's at a pace that's

difficult to consider your legislative

everything else so maybe for another

time but we haven't got much time enough

now so just a quick recap we've we've

kind of identified there were a unique

time in human history we have looked

forward at the future and phone and

identified that the phone itself will

become more decentralized in terms of

its usage and that the world around us

will interact with us more than it does

now and that will change the nature of

the usage that we may see devices that

shift our gaze up again but to conclude

with popular in this future world that

we're considering in 2030 are there

specific technologies that you look at

at the moment and say these are the

technologies that will be fundamental

positively or negatively to the world

that we inhabit in 2030 is there

something you really have your eye on

you said this is really important and we

go back to the pie augmentation that

you've been citing I think that's the

that's a growth area that will look very

different I hope in a decade and I think

it's going to be even I mean I would

going to define knowing more about your

body as one form with augmentation and

and I would go and I would say a decade

from now I think we're still into phase

where you have extremely unobtrusive

ways of knowing what's going on in your

body I think the fit is the counter

example to what I mean that is fun but

it's dumb and it's clunky you know

things thing work here's good it's

gotten better but I think it's a good

it's a good counter example because

that's not what I mean I think what I

mean is for a reason I because they

couldn't really pull off that the

benefit of having were you can we run

for a while you realize actually know

what it's going to tell you by the end

of the day like Africa few days wearing

it wearing it you know what it's going

to tell you it's like if girls jump

after very quickly but the general point

is I think augmentation will take the

form of knowing more about your body in

the shape of unobtrusive devices so it's

the things you're already wearing like

if my phone but I have in my pocket for

X amount of you know X hours a day if

they can tell me a few more things like

my body thought I would you know I would

go for that the watch or the headphones

are more obvious because they're they're

City against your skin I think they will

be the first step towards by

augmentation much more so than say my

two decade show up going to have suit

you know suit the division I think it's

unlikely but I think my glasses will be

pretty to have smart a decade from now

yeah yeah I tend to really think the on

the I was going to mention a different

one but on the the why augmentation

stuff I think the long-term view of by

augmentation is a function of people's

desire to express during dividuals you

know and I think that when

we understand if we look back a stark

you're nobody can be good sure if you're

not always considering the past and

researching the past but what you see

for time immemorial is that people have

fire new ways to express your

individuality it's always been something

humans have being obsessed with and

maybe more now than ever before people

trying to become increasingly self-aware

understand who they are understand their

differences and their nuances and find

new ways to express that and a lot of it

has happened in the last couple of

decades it's very recent I mean now at

the moment we're becoming far more

accepting of people's differences and

how they choose to express themselves

and whether that's something like gender

for instance or whether it's its

sexuality or whether it's philosophy

we're kind of entering a space where

we're becoming more accepting of

people's uniqueness and I think where

that continues to is by augmentation

where people begin and we see lots of

other signals of this in terms of

digital communities and stuff as well

that we begin to see people look at

editing mechanisms and affiliations

based on based on implants and other

forms of bio augmentation which is that

we really fascinating in the longer term

but I think like with google amazon

that's gonna steer a lot of the

innovation that we see that's the way

it's going to lead us people's ability

to you mentioned the first part of it is

ability to assess themselves become more

self-aware to a degree understand their

body more and then as a health mechanism

it ends up being a very effective health

mechanism or preventer of disease but

ultimately I think the other side of

that coin the ability to express

ourselves is going to where the real

innovation in this space happens the one

that I've really been looking at I'm

really kind of fascinated by is

materials so material science

advancements and materials I think at

the moment over the next ten years we're

going to see a significant advancements

and materials a lot of a driven by the

need for solutions to climate and

pollution that we're going to see

significant advancements in material

science and that's going to be


changed the way we the world works

around us at the very you know the


or so past ten years the nature of the

the infrastructure that we experience

will be different because of

advancements in material science and

well this has always been the case new

materials change the world fundamentally

your people learn to harness wood and in

ceramics and then iron and bronze and

steel and aluminum and etc etc such over

a lot of concrete concrete like material

science changes the world in such a

fundamental way you know we've been

talking about graphene for a long time

now but that's just the gateway drug I

think in terms of material science to a

whole range of new materials are being

developed which I think will totally

change the way we obviously it it

comprehensively reorient eighths and

restrictions the way we interact with

devices like some way you know very very

semiconductors and I've done before so I

think that's the area for me that I

think will have the most comprehensive

impact over the next couple of decades

but yeah I'm particularly expected yeah

I think the sky's the limit of materials

and I think it's a lot has to do with

how you might have not sure it and how

affordably you can make it because most

materials most cutting-edge materials

already exist about their - they're too

expensive to produce and scales and it

has lots of manufacturing as well with

the label industry 4.0 covers how you

automate and make things that scale is

usually the the underlying challenge I

agree with your point about identity at

the back of my mind I kept thinking hair

dye as Salo technology that changed the

personality of a generation

I mean the only particular ways of dying

there but I think artificial hair dye

I've never looked into it but it's one

of those things I think is excelent to

change our ability to identify or to to

to expose our identity in a visual way I

think all the tropes that are

traditionally about blondes and

brunettes or redheads or whatever it is

we've got these kind of caricatures of

people with different hair color and the

ability to be able to

identity through changing your hair

color from one to another is it like

that's such an elegance it's really

elegant example of that the underlying

desire for people to be able to express

themselves differently at different

points in time like humans all want to

be chameleons

what I required characteristics to do so

we want to be able to express yourselves

differently based on that circumstances

we find ourselves in unfortunately we

can't typically do that but for a lot of

people the ability to change shape and

various different ways is super

attractive yeah I think it's it's also

very telling as to how how we categorize

people they because because we're

because we do it instinctively I mean we

we were always categorizing grouping the

moment you walked past one on the street

you assess whether they're a danger to

you or not we're always doing that

intelligence activity and like charisma

all of these characteristics that are

inherently associated to the way we look

and yet to what degree you can affect

that because everyone does everyone is

always tweaking their appearance one way

or another in order to conform to how

they think people want to proceed them

which is very weird there's also an

expression of the way we see ourselves

but I think technology plays a play

plays a significant role in that and I

don't see a lot of research into

technologies for identity particularly

for a definite for expressing your

identity but even gender areas like

gender reassignment surgery is it is an

example of that there are a lot of

technological developments that are

making that possible and what yeah and

whether whether that potential lies was

something that was always there and now

is more plausible or well there's a

chicken or the egg I think it's

impossible to answer but the fact this

is changing our expectations of the

world it's it's it's a complicated area

but like that's that's effectively by

augmentation that is somebody who feels

like they can express themselves more

effectively in a different body and

they're doing what they can to achieve

that and that's like that's such a human

that's such a human thing like everybody

has felt at some point constrained or

claustrophobic in a certain environment

and and the ability to

that environment especially is always

been natural now that environment

sometimes is actually the body that we

inhabit so I think over time there's

also there there's the there's the cost

of phobia sorry to correct the problem

but then there's also the opportunity

side like most people I think would

change something about themselves and

we've seen this massive evidence about

cosmetic surgery how people want to buy

a home it's in a different way to

correct something about themselves

there's this massive signal that tells

us there's a huge industry behind bio

augmentation so you've mentioned things

like you know so hair color but there's

also things like people who have

treatment for skin grafts and I've heard

for bonus and for there are people who

get cosmetic surgery for Murray a

different thing so we see this a normal

signal that technology is constantly

utilized by people to change the way

they feel about themselves are the way

they appear to feel more comfortable or

happier it seems to me that over time

that's only going to become more

significance and it could become more

temporary as well so you might be the

change and change back and then we begin

to experiment feel like things like

obviously cloning technology already

exists I saw a story this morning about

scientists who are trying to comb a 16

thousand year old horse and I'm trying

kind of introduces new stock and like

that is a whole obviously there's ethics

law of not that we discuss change the

nature of who we are as humanity is this

fascinating concept which will likely

not come to fruition in the next decade

it but what's important to remember

about it is that these objectives are

actually what drive the next decade

these are these big ideas that people

are driving towards are what shaped a

decade in front of us because they know

what's achievable and it's possible

within their lifetime so we are my

favorite pieces of science fiction and

transmitter Politan so it covers that

and it's set in this chaotic very

impressive futures it's key like in the

same way that you're describing but

there are no more average days

I think trans meant sort of anticipated

that and what they in one of the

characteristic was you have you have my

augmentation to the

I'm creating new leaks or groups or

classes of people who are there's a

grace they look like alien sites and

it's all by augmentin I think it stems

from by underlying desires like yes

people will use the heck out of

technology to change into how they want

to be perceived tattooing and yeah nose

rings all of that is an example is an

expression of an underlying desire

I think check especially biotech might

open the floodgates for that yeah I

think that's gonna be that that notion

of transhumanism has always existed it

the technology is catching up with the

will at this point that's going to

fundamentally change everything and one

of the interesting things about it would

be that all the sudden people will

become less common our people become

less common their needs for different

products devices solutions also

fractures and that's gonna be a

fascinating kind of environment to

experience conscious that we've got over

time Michelle's so I like to decipher a

recommendation that's a question I'm

going to ask now on 4s Wi-Fi

recommendation I do that but everyone we

interview actually it's one of Morris

their staple questions while hiring and

envisioning is like what's your favorite

signs very telling there is no little

window into but transom ed I can highly

recommend I mean the anticipated logs to

to some degree Trump is in there as well

and not of The Simpsons way a sense of

like of having that particular scene

like the character and the way politics

is treated as entertainment I think was

very it was very insightful yeah

probably 20 plus years ago but this was

an awesome conversation thank you very

much for your time as always very

stimulating thank you grace look I

always appreciate your time

always a pleasure chatting to you thank

you very very much thank you for

everybody who's watching as well or will

watch in the future this is the first in

this series of conversations that I'm

gonna do with people like Michelle who

are extremely well informed about what

the future might look like um hoping a

name for this year you so hopefully by

the time we post recording of this and

YouTube we've got a main story but time

for here and I thank you very much

Michelle tweet your suggestions

suggestions yes what we should call it

boaty mcboatface

thanks a lot never that's never

backfired the history of the Internet

yeah exactly

oh it's a great way to do is cheers

Michelle thank you very much so much ah

good evening