Creating Generational Legacies

Friday, March 23, 2018

Rich Arnold on Crypto Currencies

Crypto currencies:

Enough friends have asked for my thoughts that I finally wrote them down in as brief a form as I was able:

Crypto currency is still a tulip bulb bubble at present as the prices are all based on the greater fool theory.

Blockchain is a great technology and will be here for a very long time with a major impact on how business is done, but the value is in the network, not in the currencies which only have momentary value as they facilitate transactions.

We will definitely have “virtual currencies” in the sense that I may one day own (say) an electronic token (ie a crypto currency) that represents a certain percentage interest in a building, or a seat right in the Warriors’ new stadium, or a bottle of wine in storage somewhere, or a given number of kilowatt hours of electric energy. 

But currencies that are not representative of real value, only coinage, can be created infinitely. Bitcoin alone has a constrained total circulation, but there are already over 1,500 different ones of those currencies, so in buying one of those currencies as an investment asset one is betting on which will be a major facilitator of commerce and that is a very high risk bet. 

Bitcoin, for example, has two primary disadvantages—(1) the underlying technology requires too many computer transactions per trade so there is both a “latency” problem (ie a speed of completion problem) and a “bandwidth” problem (ie a quite low theoretical limit on the number of simultaneous trades the global network can accommodate), and (2) the total amount of power consumed for all those computer processes creates an unsustainably high global cost that is so far being ignored since it is made up of millions of tiny bits of cost shared by all network participants.

Two currencies that I think have “legs” for very different reasons are Ripple and Unikoin. Ripple is getting good traction as the liquidity currency on global inter-bank networks and has good underlying technology. Unikoin is a small currency dedicated to being used on the global betting platform for e-sports.

End of rant!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

AI will outperform humans in all tasks in 45 years time!

Fyi:  A short video from World Economic Forum forecasting when Robots will overtake Humans in their ability to perform a range of tasks and jobs.  Spoiler alert: Forecasts a 50% chance AI will outperform humans in all tasks in 45 years time!

Tx for the heads up Kimberly King) 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

How the Banks are handling Job Disruption

There was an Australian Senate Inquiry on what we are doing as a nation to secure our jobs - as we face massive disruption from automation , ai , machines and Business Process Outsourcing.

Labor's Ed Husic said 3.5 million workers are under threat of having their jobs disrupted by technology.

The banking sector is in the running for massive disruption and Paul Smith from the AFR (fin review ) spoke to the CEOs of ANZ, Westpac and NAB to see what they were doing to prepare! 

Banks are already using robot technology on a large scale in its processing centres and this trend will continue.  

The banks need to plan for this change effectively, onboard skilled personnel (or upskill existing) and communicate with their employees, what this means and better explain how this benefits our customers.

NAB CEO Andrew Thorburn  announced its plans for the first 1000 of 6000 jobs it will make redundant over three years, and at the same time as it is looking to bolster its workforce with 2000 technology specialists.  These Specialists will probably need to be “imported in” - not sure what will happen to the 1000!

Thorburn said that NAB needs to ensure that they have the right people with the right skills and capabilities as the world continues to change. “We are committed to up-skilling people where it suits their aspirations and business needs, but there are limits," he said 

Westpac’s CIO Dave Curran warned that 

workers aged over 35 risked being left in the blocks by the wave of automation and new technologies, unless management philosophy in large organisations adjusts to adapt to the changing world. We recognise that the bank has a responsibility to work with its staff to ensure they enhanced their employability.

They need to be upskilled in jobs that are not repetitive and done by machines in a fraction of the time! 

Westpac’s CEO Brian Hartzer said they were doing this in a number of ways, including partnering with industry experts and tertiary institutions to design development programs to deliver recognisable credentials to employees.

"Automation and AI have well and truly arrived and there's no point pretending that technology isn't going to affect jobs, but it can be a net positive for the economy if we embrace it," Mr Hartzer said.

"We need to re-skill people and grow new jobs off the back of what technology can do so people can find new jobs." Said ANZ CEO Shayne Elliott. “Automation is not new to banking - the  introduction of automatic teller machines is a case in point, where  the industry embraced a more efficient way of operating, and now the rapid adoption of mobile banking as a more recent example of how institutions need to recalibrate to match customer demand.

To say nothing of blockchain and Fintech! 

Here’s the real question - will banks survive in its current form?

Read more: 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

What if your daughter were 1000 x more intelligent than you ?

Let’s take a child, your child perhaps. Let’s imagine that she is growing in intelligence in front of your eyes and that her intellectual growth is following Moore’s law. 

By sixteen she is at your level and everything looks pretty good. However, by the age of thirty-two, her memory and knowledge would be approximately one thousand time yours and she would also think one thousand times faster. 

What does it mean and what would the impact be on you and society? 

The rise of intelligent machines

It is difficult to grasp fully the speed, depth, and overall impact of the digital and fourth industrial revolutions with, as a major component, the rise of intelligent machines. 

The challenges and opportunities are unprecedented, and organisations and employee lives are at the frontline. How to start thinking about speed of change and impact on management and people in this emerging future (futuristic?) environment?

Exponential growth – what if your daughter were 1000 times more intelligent than you?

We are all familiar with the words: intelligent machines, robotics, global connectivity, sensors everywhere, virtual reality, augmented reality.

 We are also familiar with the early applications of these technologies: personal agents, analytics, robots, autonomous vehicles to name but a few. 

We can also read in the press the impact of these technologies on jobs and organisations. What is more difficult to grasp is what the future has in store in the medium to long term. A simple extrapolation won’t do. 

The reason is that the human mind tends to extrapolate linearly (see references); it has difficulty with a fundamental aspect of all these technologies: exponential growth. In a sense we are used to it, with Moore’s law being well known.

 Moore’s law is used to describe the doubling of transistors on a computer chip every eighteen months and the growth in bandwidth of communication networks. 

Computing power, memory and connectivity are increasing exponentially and their cost is also reducing exponentially. Up until recently, the benefits could be described as benign from a human perspective; that is, mostly beneficial with few apparent disadvantages. 

Who would object to cheaper laptops, cheaper smart phones, cheaper phone plans, video streaming, etc. Exponential growth seems to bring convenience and material advantages that are easy to grasp.

It is a different matter when we start to think of intelligence. Let’s take a child, your child perhaps. Let’s imagine that she is growing in intelligence in front of your eyes. Initially, as you would expect the child will grow and it is rewarding, and you’re pleased. But then, as she reaches her teenage years her intellectual capacity keeps doubling every eighteen months, in speed of thinking, breadth and depth of knowledge, and sophistication of analysis. By sixteen, say, she is at your level. By the age of thirty-two, her memory and knowledge would be approximately one thousand time yours and she would also think one thousand times faster. 

What does it mean and what would the impact be on you and society? And what if all children were to become like your daughter? We think it is safe to say that we have no idea about the implication on us and our society. You might say that artificial intelligence is not like human intelligence or that it may not grow quite as fast. True, but it does not change the outcome, we still have no idea. We have trouble understanding exponential growth and its implications. 

What we can say, is that we are entering the age of turbulence. This means that unpredictable, rapid change in and from multiple directions will challenge us at every turn.

These changes will produce huge waves that will collide and create massive upheavals. There will be disruptions, in technology, the economy and society. Change will happen to us and we will have to transform and adapt. There are great opportunities but there are also great risks. We are entering the ‘age of disruptions’. 

Impact on management thinking

Most of our current management thinking was developed in pre-Internet time, and most definitely pre-AI. Let’s call this ‘legacy management’. The question is: what type of management will be needed to cope with the ‘age of disruptions’? What will be the role of the individual, the team, the organisation, the business leaders and society? We will endeavour to address these questions in future blogs. 

We’ll do it in two ways: by taking a high-level view and also by considering practical aspects and solutions that could be applied now. We want to enlarge thinking if we can but we also want to be and stay relevant and practical today. Stay tuned!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Mike Cannon-Brookes - Australia needs to make some important decisions

Mike Cannon-Brookes met with a senate committee  suggesting that we need to adjust our immigration policies to attract the best and brightest technologists from around the world. 

These skills will not be filled by people losing their jobs from technology disruption (drivers being a case in point - who he says will be the blacksmiths of the future )

"Displacing of jobs will cause social problems in society, it's going to come and its going to be very painful if we don't plan for it."

Technology is where we should be focussing our energy as a Nation, he says. “It is already the biggest industry in the world, well past finance and pulling away,

 We need to make some important decisions - do we want a seat on that rocketship or not. Do we want to be a primary manufacturer of technology or not? 

If we do - we need to plan for it and act accordingly.A ack of technology talent is an issue for Australia, and changes to living-away-from-home allowances and recent 457 visa changes are hurting Australia's tech industry.

While Australian technology graduates are highly sought after, Mr Cannon Brookes said "our best ship off overseas."

Artificial intelligence and automation are coming, so what will we all do for work?



What does the worldwide head of research at Google tell his kids about how to prepare for the future of work with artificial intelligence?

"I tell them … wherever they will be working in 20 years probably doesn't exist now," Peter Norvig says. "No sense training for it today."

Be flexible, he says, "and have an ability to learn new things".

Future of work experts (yes, it's a thing now) and AI scientists who spoke to Lateline variously described a future in which there were fewer full-time, traditional jobs requiring one skill set; fewer routine administrative tasks; fewer repetitive manual tasks; and more jobs working for and with "thinking" machines.

From chief executives to cleaners, "everyone will do their job differently working with machines over the next 20 years," Andrew Charlton, economist and director of AlphaBeta, says.

But experts are split on whether this technological transformation will create more jobs than it destroys, which has been the case historically.

"Copying [AI computer] code takes almost no time and cost. Anyone who says they know that more jobs will be created than destroyed is fooling themselves and fooling us. Nobody knows that," says University of New South Wales professor of AI Toby Walsh.

"The one thing we do know is the jobs that will be created will require different skills than the jobs that will be destroyed. And it will require us to constantly be educating ourselves to keep ahead of the machines."

Should we all learn to code?

Yes, says Hamilton Calder, acting chief executive of the Committee for Economic Development Australia (CEDA). "Coding will need to be ubiquitous within the workforce and taught at all levels of the education system."

No, says Mr Charlton. "I think the big misconception here is that in order to be successful in the future economy you need to be competing with machines [and] become a coder, a software engineer. That's quite wrong."

Not everyone needs to code because ultimately AI programs will likely be better coders than humans, says Professor Walsh. But "if you're a geek like myself, there is a good future in inventing the future".

A "broad, basic education with a strong STEM focus (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) will provide the core skills and flexibility that people will need," says PWC chief economist Jeremy Thorpe, "given they will likely change jobs or careers much more than previously".

Say goodbye to that 'dream' job

Seventeen jobs and five careers — it is exhausting just thinking about it. But that is the prediction for school-leavers, according to research done for the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA).

"We should stop encouraging young people to think about a 'dream' job," Jan Owen, CEO of FYA, says. 

"It's important not to focus on individual jobs … rather they should aim to develop a skill set that is transferrable [including] financial and digital literacy, collaboration, project management and the ability to critically asses and analyse information."

Say hello to your robot partner

Future work will fall into one of three categories, says Robert Hillard, managing partner, Deloitte Consulting.

"Firstly, people who work for machines such as drivers, online store pickers and some health professionals who are working to a schedule," Mr Hillard says. 

"Secondly, people who work with machines such as surgeons using machines to help with diagnosis, and thirdly, people who work on the machines, such as programmers and designers."

Human-machine teams will combine the lightning-fast speed and accuracy of AI algorithms with instinctive human skills such as intuition, judgment and emotional intelligence, according to a report by the US based Institute for the Future.

Mr Hillard says AI's ability "is to answer a unique question by synthesizing the answers to thousands or millions of related but different questions".

"What AI can't do is design new questions and that's the skill that will make people most competitive: helping their customer or employer find the right question to ask."

While he expects the number of jobs to increase, the danger is they may not be better jobs. Those working for machines will experience the most disruption.

Media player: "Space" to play, "M" to mute, "left" and "right" to seek.


Interview: Professor Rob Sparrow and Professor Ron Arkin


Being human is now a skill

There is one skill we already have that can increasingly be leveraged for income: being human.

"We don't make computers that have a lot of emotional intelligence," Professor Walsh says. "[But] we like interacting with people.

"We are social people, so the jobs that require lots of emotional intelligence — being a nurse, marketing jobs, being a psychologist, any job that involves interacting with people — those will be the safe jobs. We want to interact with people, not robots."

Futurist Ross Dawson gives an example of how this could be turned into a new kind of job.

"Perhaps it is a productive role in society to interact, to have conversations [with other people] and then we can remunerate that and make it a part of people's lives," he says.

Mr Charlton says: "Most of the opportunities are to do things that machines can't do, things that humans do well in the caring economy — to be empathetic, to work in a range of occupations which require interpersonal skills."

China's most successful tech venture capitalist and former Google and Microsoft executive Kai-Fu Lee recently wrote in The New York Times that traditionally unpaid volunteering roles could become future "service jobs of love".

"Examples include accompanying an older person to visit a doctor, mentoring at an orphanage, serving as a sponsor at Alcoholics Anonymous — or, potentially soon, Virtual Reality Anonymous."

Jobs growth is already strong in the caring economy with unmet demand in child care, aged care, health care and education — although many of those jobs are poorly paid.

"The challenge is to recognize that those jobs should be paid well. It's a choice for us as a society, community and government to value those types of human jobs well," Mr Charlton says.

Find your inner artist

Computers are not imaginative or very creative. 

"We have one of the most creative brains out there," Professor Walsh says. 

So, ironically, "one of the oldest jobs on the planet, being a carpenter or an artisan, we will value most because we will like to see an object carved or touched by the human hand, not a machine".

But humans have always created imaginative new economic opportunities as well. 

Find out for yourself

With current education and training currently struggling to meet some of the challenges for the future workforce, Mr Dawson says we should "plan for [ourselves], look at the change and create a path and see what skills need to be developed".

"This is about organisational, social and personal responsibility. For all ages and people, we can learn and develop ourselves."

UTS professor of social robotics Mary-Anne Williams says there is only one strategy.

"Embrace the technology and understand as far as possible what kind of impact it has on your job and goals," she says. 

"You need to pay attention and look around and think about the impact."

Adapt or Lose your Job - Training is key

The Bob Pritchard column 

Seventy seven percent (77%) of US workers say they have heard the term automation, but only 30% say they know what it means. The more job seekers know about this growing trend, the more likely they are to seek more secure jobs. This is according to ZipRecruiters's State of the American Job Seeker report.
Sixty percent (60%) of job seekers believe that fears around robots taking away jobs are over-hyped, but nearly 2 in 3 job seekers (64%) believe workers in most industries will be replaced with computers or robots in their lifetime.  Also, the   more job seekers know about automation, the more it worries them. Of those looking for a job who heard of automation, 70% say they are looking for jobs that are less likely to be automated.
Automation is changing the way we work, and emerging artificial intelligence technologies will in some way affect the careers of workers in almost every industry.  Change, however, does not mean that there won't be jobs, however, they are likely to be different jobs. Forecasts of the impact vary widely with some analysts predicting massive decreases in available jobs in some industries and others suggesting that technology has historically changed the job market, not eliminated the need for workers.
What's very clear, according to the ZipRecruiter report, as well as the related studies it cites, is that the skills needed to get a job are changing and will continue to change.
Technological job displacement has already begun, and it is essential that the workforce is prepared to adapt. 

In the report, they found that cost was the top reason for not being able to acquire STEM skills or soft skills -- the two sets of skills currently considered safest from automation.
Change has already come and more is coming. Cost is a challenge for job seekers, especially those already saddled with college debt. The second most-cited reason for people not learning STEM or soft skills -- individuals not believing they need them – may be easier to solve.
To stay employed, or get a job in the first place, workers are going to have to adapt as the market's needs change. 

For many, that will mean more training, being open to doing different kinds of work, and adapting before change comes in order to not be swept aside by it.