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Chat Wrap: AFP 2018 Speaker Nancy Giordano’s AMA

  • By Staff Writers
  • Published: 9/10/2018

A chat wrap with AFP 2018 speaker Nancy Giordano. A futurist who helps organizations strategically address technological shifts, Giordano will speak about reinventing leadership for the age of machine intelligence at AFP 2018.

AFP recently hosted an “Ask me anything” chat with AFP 2018 featured speaker Nancy Giordano. A futurist who helps organizations strategically address technological shifts, Giordano will speak about reinventing leadership for the age of machine intelligence at AFP 2018.

Giordano’s AMA, lightly edited for clarity, is excerpted below. Read the entire AMA here.

Anonymous: Thanks for doing this! What is the best way to keep my skills applicable in the changing technological environment?

Nancy Giordano: For years I have preached there are four skills (at minimum) we should nurture in children to help them better prepare for the future; seems they apply to us as well: Curiosity, Empathy, Agency and Grit (Compassion).

Curiosity is a necessary skill we need to both support and better incentivize. How many times have we wanted time or financial help to take a class, go to a cool conference or simply spend time learning more about another department… often to be told that isn’t relevant? In contrast, Brian Glazer, a very successful Hollywood producer has taken a different person outside of his industry to lunch every two weeks… for 22 years!! And just this month, the cover story on the Harvard Business Review is The Business Case for Curiosity. J 

Empathy takes many forms, but it is the root of Human Centered Design and Design Thinking. It’s also what makes us not ask an employee to “close”  by closing a retail location at midnight and open it again at 5 am. We need to pay more attention to how we hold folks in the systems we create.

Agency means having confidence that we can take action. For kids that means giving them room to take on more responsibility and decision making. For adults, I would say it means building capacities to develop new skills AND  giving room to learn (aka “fail”) ,while constraining risk.

And Grit is hopefully something adults understand better than most kids do, so perhaps for us we reframe it as Compassion. We need to be kinder to ourselves and others as we all face a very fast changing landscape and trust we are each doing the best we can.  (This, btw, is also what is driving the rise in Mindfulness and meditative practices. But that is a whole ’nother topic!).

Anonymous: Who will suffer the greatest loss in the new technological future?

Nancy Giordano: There is a great deal of debate around this … and whether there will be net more or less jobs, access, privacy, etc. in the future?  I personally believe the structure of work, economic exchange (i.e., sharing economy, cryptocurrencies, etc.)  and society will shift dramatically in the decade ahead.

This will cause dislocation and confusion for some (as we are already seeing) and huge opportunities for others (ditto!), but we can minimize the “loss” by embracing the upsides these create for both our collective and individual well-being.

Hanging out with so many visionaries who are building the future, I am very optimistic. My worry lies more in our ability to let go of what is no longer serving us AND the dire need to restructure short-term incentive frameworks that benefit a small group and the expense of a much larger one.

We will be able to solve huge problems and create what we see as a thriving and regenerative society, but we need to be careful not to create even bigger issues along the way. How we use emerging tech to serve (vs stalk) and what new models for economic distribution need to be considered are two of the areas I spend a lot of time thinking about.

Anonymous: What are your top 3 coolest AI driven solutions put to practice? What readings would you propose a must on the topic? Thanks!

Nancy Giordano: “What readings would you propose a must on the topic?”  Well it depends on which topic, but readings that have impacted my thinking recently include:

The Shift Commission study on the Future of Work: They pulled together 100 forward thinking experts, who, armed with a range of research and insight, identified a long list of variables that will impact the how we will work. They eventually narrowed it to two: will be have more work or less and will that work be gig/project assigned or formally hired… and from this they created four very thoughtful scenarios with implications for each. The reality is that no one know definitively how things will shift, and so we need to be building scaffolding in many directions.

The Shift Commission study on the Future of Work: They pulled together 100 forward thinking experts, who, armed with a range of research and insight, identified a long list of variables that will impact the how we will work. They eventually narrowed it to two: will be have more work or less and will that work be gig/project assigned or formally hired… and from this they created four very thoughtful scenarios with implications for each. The reality is that no one know definitively how things will shift, and so we need to be building scaffolding in many directions.

Bryon Reese, a tech pioneer, entrepreneur and close friend, recently wrote The Fourth Age to help us all get a better handle on our expectations for AI. He also helps explain why thought leaders like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg can have such opposed views and fears of how AI will impact our lives and offers many helpful frameworks for us each to develop our own POVs.

Bryon Reese, a tech pioneer, entrepreneur and close friend, recently wrote The Fourth Age to help us all get a better handle on our expectations for AI. He also helps explain why thought leaders like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg can have such opposed views and fears of how AI will impact our lives and offers many helpful frameworks for us each to develop our own POVs.

Author Douglas Rushkoff’s recent article on Survival of the Richest really makes you think! And reinforces that our work here is not to simply protect what we own, but rather to use the resources we all must impact and build a better, safer future for all.

Author Douglas Rushkoff’s recent article on Survival of the Richest really makes you think! And reinforces that our work here is not to simply protect what we own, but rather to use the resources we all must impact and build a better, safer future for all.

And I’ll throw in two bonus articles I loved:

On how the Pentagon is Building a Dream Team of Tech Savvy Soldiers because it showed how have come to appreciate and better support the talent within the organization: “The military thought the problems they were facing were because of a lack of talent,” Bereknyei says. He thinks Jyn Erso’s work has proven that theory wrong. “We changed their environment. We changed their support and gave them designers to work with,” he says. “It made all the difference in the world.”

And if you want to really look around the corner, read The future of Cloud Computing – it introduces you to Holo + Holochaing, projects I’m helping champion.

“What are your top 3 coolest AI driven solutions put to practice?”

Off the top of my head, I am really intrigued by these because of the uses and ways they are employing AI in very traditional, fundamental fields:

Lemonade insurance – they combine AI with behavioral econ insight to create entry-level products that meet customer needs in completely new ways… and show what is possible.

Plenty + AERO – pioneers in vertical farming. This entire industry is harnessing the power of emerging AI, robotics and many other advances in data and science to address growing problems in food security, affordability and access. And this, in turn is helping fuel and giant industry shift to plant-based proteins and whole new categories of food. I am very excited about what is possible here!!

Amazon’s Go stores – heading to a cashier-less future.

I would however, also look to the cautionary uses like China’s growing use of a Social Value.

Check out Nancy in the MindShift Keynote at AFP 2018 this November in Chicago. Register by September 28 to save $250.

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