Digital Squared

Adapting Our Humanity Through Technology

January 03, 2024 Tom Andriola Season 2 Episode 5
Adapting Our Humanity Through Technology
Digital Squared
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Digital Squared
Adapting Our Humanity Through Technology
Jan 03, 2024 Season 2 Episode 5
Tom Andriola

On this episode, Tom talks with Dr. Jonathan Reichental, founder of Human Future. Human Future is a global business and technology advisory, investment, and education firm. Together they discuss building smart cities through urban innovation, the importance of creating balance in hybrid learning, and the fourth industrial revolution’s effect on humanity.

Show Notes Transcript

On this episode, Tom talks with Dr. Jonathan Reichental, founder of Human Future. Human Future is a global business and technology advisory, investment, and education firm. Together they discuss building smart cities through urban innovation, the importance of creating balance in hybrid learning, and the fourth industrial revolution’s effect on humanity.

Welcome to Digital squared, a podcast that explores the implications of living in an increasingly digital world. We're on a mission to inspire our listeners to use technology and data for good. Your host Tom Andriola is the Vice Chancellor for Information Technology and data and Chief Digital Officer at the University of California at Irvine. Join us as Tom and fellow leaders discussed the technological, cultural and societal trends that are shaping our world.

On this episode of digital squared, I talk with my longtime colleague, Dr. Jonathan Reichental, founder of human future. Human future is a Global Business and Technology Advisory investment and education firm. Jonathan has been recognized as one of the top 25 doers dreamers and drivers in government, and one of the top 100 CIOs in the world. Together, we discuss building smart cities through urban innovation, the importance of creating balance in hybrid learning, and the fourth industrial revolution's effect on humanity.

I hope you enjoy our discussion. Welcome, Dr. Reichental. Jonathan, thanks for joining us on the podcast. 

Hey, Tom, it's great to see you. 

I always talk to people in my career about, I didn't climb a ladder, I was more of a rock climber swinging from ledge to ledge. And when I look at your career, you are a more accomplished rock climber than I am. Take us through your career journey.

I'm happy to but I gotta tell you, I wouldn't ever rock climb that's scares the heck out of me. If you just look at my career, it doesn't seem like it's that much of a straight line. But there is a lot of connective tissue as you work your way through it. And as I look at it myself, I've tried to figure out recently, what is the theme? Who am I? What do I bring? And I think fundamentally, I'm an educator. And so if I go back right to the beginning, being a consultant and a small technology consulting firm, coming to the United States, working for a big professional services firm actually PricewaterhouseCoopers, leading the technology innovation group coming over to O'Reilly Media, working for Tim O'Reilly over in the west coast here. And then working for government. Yeah, look, there's a lot of technology there. When I worked for the City of Palo Alto, I was the head of technology and kind of the head of innovation, although that wasn't a formal title. But if I think about what I was doing, I was helping others be successful. I was conveying my own experiences, learning a lot myself, of course, along the way, after O'Reilly Media, and after the city, then I decided just few years ago, to start my own thing, it is Silicon Valley, after all. And I thought I should probably have a startup at least once in my life. And there's an obligation if you live here in the center of the Silicon Valley action. So I started a small education based company called Human Future, where I help all sorts of businesses and governments around the world, understand technology, put together strategy, and a lot of things we're going to talk about today. And along the way, I write a lot about this. I've written several books, and I will talk probably about that. One of the things I'm so proud of is my catalog on LinkedIn learning. This is something that not everybody knows about me, but it started off as a side hustle. And today, it's a big part of my life where I've got this catalog of videos, training that is about everything from digital twins to quantum computing, quantum cryptography have a ton of stuff on blockchain, crypto and digital transformation. And I got some new courses coming up that are related to data science. So they do very well, you might be surprised to hear that. Over 2 million students, 2 million learners have taken my courses, which I'm very proud of. So that's yeah, that's a little bit about me and my journey. And so it's technology and education, I think is that sort of line that that path have taken.

2 million learners is nothing to sneeze at. That's actually amazing number I wasn't aware of that number. Now, you and I first met many years ago, we will tell our audience how many years ago, you were actually at Palo Alto. And I remember this because first of all, you got tremendous energy to the conversation we had that day. But you were the first kind of city like public sector CIO I ever met, who didn't complain about their budget, you actually had a positive outlook on what could be done in the public sector. That's why you've always stuck in my head and says, like, I need to get this person like into a conversation with me. You've moved on obviously doing exciting things now.  One of the areas I want to explore with you is the future of work. We're really exciting and tumultuous. and maybe for some people, anxious time about what's going on with technology and the way we work and who will do the work etc. You've been exploring this both with your speaking and your writing. Tell us a little bit about how you see the potential impact on jobs, roles, reskilling and also the future of innovation through everything that's available to us today.

You don't ask the small questions I have to say that

I have to give my listeners what they're Looking for Jonathan, that's why you're here. 

I love being a futurist. Because if I'm right, it's amazing. And people think, wow, he's a genius. But if I'm wrong, I'm never held accountable. It's like a futurist. I never accountable for their predictions. And I think they should be, by the way, I do think years ago, I used to write a, when I was writing a blog for O'Reilly, I used to make these annual predictions. And I said, in a few months are at the end of this year, I should say, I will reflect on my predictions and see how close I got them. I felt there was a need to be accountable. So one of the ways I approached this topic of what's the future of work, or any number of technology topics is to look a little bit into the past, I think history helps us understand the present. And it also informs the future. Anyone who knows my work knows that I'm a little bit of a technology historian just a tiny bit. And what I use often as the lens through which change can be understood, is to really have a good understanding of the industrial revolutions. Because the society as we know it today really is a product of the industrial revolutions. The world was very different before the 1700s. And once you hit the 1700s, everything changes. So you get to manufacturing, at scale, you have to start a really big cities, conductivity, transportation, new forms of energy and new products brought to market. And then you get finally to electricity, which gives us the information technology revolution, etc. So all of that informs sort of a path through history and to where we are today. So we can follow that up, push it out and see where things are headed. The only thing I would say is, it does seem like even though there are some there was some sort of reasonable predictability to the industrial revolutions as they unfolded, this fourth industrial revolution, this new period we're in, the era of digital change, and transformation, is turning out to be quite unpredictable, right when compared to previous revolutions. And that's what makes this particularly hard. Just when you think you know, where where things are headed, you have an announcement, like in November of 2022, when open AI says, hey, everybody can access chat GPT. And almost overnight, well, you know that within 60 to 90 days, 100 million people were using a product that a few days earlier they'd never heard of or didn't know as possible. So change can happen very quickly now.  It's a big topic, but I'll try to be brief though, because we want to talk about a lot of different things. There is some work that isn't changing that much. There's still a lot of work that is manual, but it is complemented by mechanics, anything to do with the agricultural space. And let's not forget that the agricultural industry is a massive industry in most countries around the planet, right. So while digitalization and automation and mechanics all help and have actually helped us have more bountiful harvests, and we can feed more people, and everything that goes with that, there's still a lot that will continue to remain the same. Office workers or information workers, their lives are being disrupted, I think that a completely different rate. And that is becoming significantly a challenge. We saw, for example, changes in where we work in, and that happened suddenly to, right, we had this very kind of gradual appetite for people being able to work a little bit more from home or had to have more flexibility. And then suddenly, March of 2020, we have a global pandemic, everything changes. And suddenly, whoa, wait a minute, we can actually function remotely, we can actually, these big organizations, were able to, after a few bumps run fairly well in a virtual sense. So that now the question is, okay, we can run our businesses, we don't have to drive to a central location and have people together, we can work from anywhere. That means companies can employ people anywhere. And so you're seeing that shift, right. Work used to be so connected with location, and I think that is being massively disrupted. I think maybe part of your question, though, has to do with artificial intelligence. And maybe that's the one of the largest impacts here. There are two very different futures here. There's one where automation and AI eliminates hundreds of millions of jobs. One prediction is 700 million jobs eliminated by 2030, like seven years from now, a big proportion of the global workforce. Right. The other projection is we evolve. In fact, we continue to have increasing needs and diverse needs. And perhaps those needs are more skilled needs, right? So we don't actually, this is going back to the core point of in future is if we make some bets, and we don't know which way things are going to head We could go either way. Perhaps what happens is we're somewhere in the middle, we're gonna see a large volume of existing work go away. And we're gonna see a lot of new work emerge. When I think of AI, and I'm deep in this topic these days, as so many of us are. We talk about artificial intelligence. I almost like to think of it as augmented intelligence, and that your competition Isn't between you necessarily in a computer or machine, but it's between you and a person who uses artificial intelligence, or uses automation. So you're competing against a person who has the skills to leverage some of this new tech. And if we look at the positive that the World Economic Forum, they project, almost 100 million new jobs that are AI related by 2025. So that's two years from now, lots of uncertainty, the only thing I would say, when it comes to individuals thinking about their future, it's no longer a time when you can just say, well, you've left college, you got a job, that's the job and the work and the career I'm going to stay in for the rest of my career, it's evident that you may have to reinvent yourself more than once throughout your life. And that now is the answer the sort of third and soon the fourth decade of the 21st century, each of us to our responsibilities to make sure that we're offering some value to the world. And it may mean that the path we thought we were going to be on no longer is that valuable, or we can acquire new skills. But there's never been a time when continuous learning has been absolutely essential. And even someone like myself who I could be thinking about soon, winding down my my work in many ways and wrapping it up, is I'm constantly changing what I'm doing, because I'm reacting to a changing world, and changing demands and needs of my potential clients. So reinvention, I think is a core part of being successful in a world where there's a lot of unpredictability about the future of work.

Yeah, no, I agree with you. I like the reframing of augmented intelligence, right, I think that totally fits and in what's really going on, and the soundbite that someone shared with me is, 'you're not going to lose your job to AI, you can lose your job to somebody who knows how to use AI', because they're gonna dig in and be better at the job, they're gonna be quicker to be able to pivot and and see things that you can't see, because you're not using the latest tool. And I think one of the things that's interesting, Jonathan, you and I have spent our careers in and around the technology domain. And by definition, because technology continues to evolve, we've had to reinvent ourselves. Even if you haven't really changed what you've done. If you're an application developer, you've moved on to a better set of tools, a new language, a new platform, etc. What I find myself doing a lot today, in the role that I have with my organization is talking to non technology professionals that their world is becoming a lot more like ours has been over the last 25 years where we have to completely reinvent ourselves, replatform ourselves. This idea that I've got 15 years of experience doing the same job and roughly relatively the same way, that's gone. From my perspective, right? The these tools are evolving, and they're becoming more user friendly, the new coding language is English, because all you have to be able to do is write a prompt and now you can potentially get code right out of one of these generative AI tools. The other part, how does the rest of the workforce going to react to what I think you and I have become comfortable with having to reinvent ourselves? Let me pivot to the other side of this equation, which I know you also have been able to speak to, which is with all of this technology, and fusion and automation, and we're seeing this combination of the workforce coming back and being able to operate the company with remote workers, but losing some of that cohesion in that culture of not having the human contact. With all of this technology able to do so much, how do we not lose the human element of what we do with respect to business relationships, interactions? How do you talk to people about that?

Yeah, yeah, technology doesn't just change what we do, in many ways, technology changes who we are, IT technology is changing our destiny by the things that enable us to do, it's always been that way. I tell my students, sometimes the story of like, in a time when there wasn't really any type of long distance transportation, it was likely that you would marry a person that you knew from childhood and it would be somebody in your village, right? Because you didn't know anybody else. Now, when trains started to emerge, you started to discover new people you knew married people further away, people you didn't know transportation changed marriage, right? We have to understand there's this incredible pinball effect of technology's changes changes the way we behave as humans. And that's happening all the time. And in many ways, in an accelerated way, the question of us connecting as humans is fascinating today, because the nature of my work, probably so many people, including yourself and your listeners, you're working with people around the world. And so much of my work now is with in the non US context. I work with people in the Middle East and South America and New Zealand a lot and in Europe, and India, and someone texts me, sends me a WhatsApp and they're like, can you get on a video right now again on a video It's perfectly good like it is right now for what we're using for this podcast. And we're into the conversation and we'll just hang up. I don't take it for granted. I think we also need to recognize, whilst we have a lot to say about how technology is dividing us, so it comes out. And second, I also want to recognize how remarkable it is right? That the wonder and beauty of being able to connect with any human on the planet basically, now, not just by voice, but by video too. Technology is transforming the planet, it's transforming what we can do and what it means to be human. And the planet has never been smaller. And the opportunity for collaboration, and innovation together and teamwork and doing great things on a global basis has never been better. So there really is a good news story to tell, I think there too, but let's be real, what social media in particular has done is given a platform to every type of voice and it's organic, it's trended towards a more divisive place, often amplifying our differences, rather than amplifying what we have in common. And I'd love us to think more about that. Fundamentally humans, I think, are kind and they are they want to have a good life and to have a good life for their families. But we seem to have amplify the wrong things. There's no quick solution to that. Nor do I think that I know the solution to that. I do see though a growing movement of people who understand that there is a time when being disconnected is valuable. To be with your family, to turn off your phone when you're with your family or to go to a park or go to the beach and be disconnected. I think we're more aware of the value of that now, in terms of our own mental health, to be able to have time just in our mind, as opposed to being completely responding to every ping and email and sound from your devices. So that I think that's a there's a growing movement of people. And it's certainly coming from the healthcare establishment to the value, the value of that. I think as we become more digital in our world, as we are more augmented by computing, the companies that are doing that I want to continue to be successful, need to increase their emphasis on the human experience and the human elements. We are we're early in the technology era, I think we'll come to that soon. We think like we're are 40-50 years into this, maybe 70 years is more appropriate. So I'd say we're seven years I think it's still 70 years, and the arc of human history is tiny, right? We're just at the beginning of this. And we're, we're monkeys with lasers is that's how I like to think of it, we haven't come to terms with the fact that we have a digitally hyper connected world and we have this incredible technology at our fingertips. As time passes, I think the emphasis will be a little bit more on the human connection. And the companies that have said, or thought about we have a cool thing, we think people want to buy it, people are buying it, or they're buying into it, and we're going to sell as much as possible give as much money to our shareholders as possible. I think there comes a point where okay, we're doing that we're doing that quite well. Now let's bring back, let's focus a little bit on the human element of it all I have to say I'm more of an optimist on this topic than most people are. And I would just caution people to not lose faith because it seems so broken right now. I just think we have some ways to go. We're gonna get there. Because we always do with humans. That's our default. 

yep. That's great. I want to pivot to something I know that you're very passionate about, which is sustainable cities. And I can imagine your time in Palo Alto, really put a put a print on your feelings about this. When you put your futures hat on, how will technology contribute to sustainability efficiency and something you just mentioned citizen wellbeing. 

I'm only laughing because every one of these questions we could speak for hours about I know and these if we

only had wine to drink earlier,

we'd be drinking wine and token tech.

For the for our listeners that you start with Jonathan's podcast for five years, he had a podcast called drinking wine and talking tech and I guess I just didn't bring the wine this time.

And if those if people are curious, the podcast is still on Spotify and iTunes, you can still like we still get listeners. I did it with a co host. It was a lot of fun. Oh my goodness. What a big topic. Yeah, I've spent last decade of my life immersed in the kind of urban movement. I'm so glad that we met at the city and you knew me then a little bit and could see my passion for it. My passion hasn't gone away. And it's certainly probably I would say argue is increased because I went from really super focusing on one important California city to now trying to help cities all over the world. That was my pivot from the city to starting my own company. And my story in this area is, it was fascinating to me, nevermind other people is that when I joined the city back in Approximately, I think was 2010. So it's 13 years ago. And for me, it was going to be another job, I was going to be chief information officer of a high profile city, some really good projects, it was a good platform to, to experiment to do interesting things. And I thought we'll do that I'll hire the right people, I will work with my existing team. And to a large degree, together, we helped to change the city, some aspects of it in a positive way. And but that's not the real story. The real story is, it wasn't that I changed the city, it was that the city changed me. And I ended up completely seeing the world through a new lens, through the lens of urbanization, that our destinies humanity was going to be in cities. And so it's the start, it was about, okay, humans are going to live in cities by the middle of the century, 70-75% of all humans by the end of the century, close to 80%. So we're basically going to be on our radiant urban species, there's no precedent for this, this has never been the case. So we're now this urban species. And how do we prepare for that? Do we have enough homes? How are we going to move people and products around the place? Do we have enough energy? What about climate change, and public safety and you got to go through this, this becomes a very long list. And I was working with my colleague who was the chief sustainability officer, great guys to still talk and work with him a little bit Gil Friend. And he would talk about the sustainability movement and the need to reduce our carbon emissions and to have more green space and to be able to mitigate and defend against sea level rise. And, and we would talk a lot and we would even attend meetings together because a lot of what he started to talk about how the technological element to it. And a lot of the things, I started to talk about a lot of climate and sustainability elements. And suddenly, I realized, Oh, my goodness, these topics are overlapping. By it's the most incredible Venn diagram where they're almost entirely the two circles, the two areas are overlapping. So I suddenly realized and had to be very active in the sustainability space. Now, it's a massive topic, and no one individual organization can take it on which you can work on and help others understand various aspects of it. One of the biggest areas that cities can make a big difference here is in the transportation space. Transportation, it's it is the transportation globally, has the greatest dependence on carbon, of any thing that we have in the world. It also contributes almost 40% of all carbon emissions. Okay, so that's what we're trying to tackle, we have to see a transformation in our transportation, where does it happen? It happens in our cities. That's where the bulk of our major transportation happens, our cars or trucks, or buses. A great example of transformation in this area is the city of Shenzhen, in China, of all places, Shenzhen, major Chinese city. A few years ago, they actually feel it in terms of the quality of air, they see it in terms of how things look, and when you have these intense emissions. And they also have the product of it, which is bad health, including up to and including people dying from bad air quality. So they said we got to fix this, that the easiest target straightaway is to address our transportation issues. And and what can the government really control quickly is government transportation, 16,000 buses, and 20,000 taxis over a short period went from gas based to electric. Right. And that's 36,000 vehicles moving quickly to electric. They did it. And the results were immediate. In terms of cleaner air, the air was cleaner than it had been in any period for over 15 years. At the point where they did this. And health issues went down, the air quality overall was improved, and of course, much less carbon emissions. And this is an example of the city doing the right thing. There are every day hundreds and hundreds of great examples happening, where cities are making bold choices to change the game. Of course, I talked about transportation, but the energy revolution that we're undergoing right now from carbon based oil, gas, and coal to solar wind, nuclear geo mass that is happening at a increasingly faster rate, it's accelerating. That's a very big deal. And it has to happen in cities because that's where the biggest impact is to the climate. So just a little bit of a kind of a tease into the topic there. Happy to go deeper if you want or take it wherever you'd like to go. Yeah,

I like to pivot one step. One of the things that I love here being at UC Irvine is there has been a strong commitment to sustainability for quite a long time. The universities, especially ones that have medical centers were like small cities, right. So we will talk about ourselves as being a city of 50,000 inhabitants between Students, faculty, healthcare workers, etc. Our sustainability initiative we've always been nationally ranked, we have students who come here because of our commitment and and what they can study while they're here. But we also talk about within our sustainability initiative, livable communities. So the example of: Sure, we want to be very good to the environment,  but we also want to create an environment that's very inclusive and environmentally friendly for the people that inhabit it. Where have you seen some of the best practices around incorporating that element of it, in addition to the just the efficiency and carbon reduction? 

Yeah, that's great. And I love the idea that the university as a small city, that's such an important way of thinking about that. And then it becomes a fantastic platform for experimentation that we can see results from quickly and try to adopt. The way I want to think about this, I want to stick on the transportation topic, and for no other reason other than people can relate to it, it's immediately relatable. Because we all drive every day, or we own cars, or we go on buses or planes, we know the topic, some of the other stuff is gets very abstract very quickly, and people can't relate. And so when you look at cities today, we have to recognize certainly cities, what we did through the 20th century was we either built cities for cars, or we took older cities and made them so they could accommodate cars and other types of vehicles. I've said the 20th century was a pretty good time for industrialization. But in the 21st century, we have one heck of a hangover. Because we made a lot of bad choices. It was like somehow we thought everything was abundant and we could just do whatever we liked with no consequences. And here we are, third decade of the 21st century. And they there are significant consequences, like real consequences to our health and the way things look and the health of the planet and health of us, right. So we built our cities for cars. And that meant that when you're building parking lots and parking spaces and lots of roads and stuff, you're not really building for people, not building for people in the sense that you've got to move people away from the vehicles. And what I've said is, in order to get us back to this path to greater community, more livable places, we have to give our cities back to people and take them away from cars. Now, I'm not an anti car person, let me be clear, I don't want to get hate mail or anything. Anyone who knows me knows I love the cars and autonomous vehicles and the future of vehicles, that's another part of my passion. But I also understand that we have to strike a balance between the 60% of our cities that are built just to support cars, and everything we've taken away from each of us as humans. And there's lots of these wonderful examples, I'm gonna give you a couple in a second, where we're rerouting vehicles, we're repurposing streets and we're giving the cities back to people. This more livable communities. So I want to give you two really easy examples. The first one is Times Square in New York City, like not the first place that comes to mind, but back in 2008, there was quite a lot of accidents happening, they just happened to be a kind of this increase in numbers. And the mayor was made aware of this New York Mayor Bloomberg at the time. So he said to see what can we do to reduce the number of incidents that are happening with people get people getting hit, hurt, even killed by car accidents. So they looked at a lot of ideas, but one person or perhaps a little team came up with the idea of let's stop cars in Times Square, let's pedestrianized it. If there's no cars, then we won't have car accidents. But you can imagine not an idea that necessarily is the first one to come to mind, nor one that would be readily accepted very quickly by taxi drivers and older truck drivers and all but they tried to for a few months, they finally found a way to say we'll try this for some period of months. And if it's a disaster, cars can come back if it's good, we'll continue we'll expand it perhaps. And the rest is history. After a few months, the accidents dropped by over 30%. Closer to 40%. Not everywhere was pedestrianized entirely, but that's a huge difference. And the truck drivers and the bus drivers found actually that the rerouting actually improved the movement of vehicles through the center of New York City. So it was unintuitive. Now if you go to New York City today, if you go to Times Square, it is permanently pedestrianized. They've made it permanent. And so what do we see there? First of all, we see people hanging out, they're sitting at tables, they're having coffee, they're meeting friends, like so many cities in Europe, you sit in a cafe and you do you people watch right, people watching. But the air is better. It's quieter. It's more beautiful. There's more plants and things. Okay, that's a way in which you make the bold decision sometimes with great opposition, and you build community give the city back to the people. The second example I'll give you a wrap on this topic is the city of Paris. Okay, City of Lights. Another place that a wonderful place if you've if you if you haven't been if you have been it's hopefully you've enjoyed it too. The Champs-Elysees the central artery of Paris. It's very popular It's popular for traffic, it's a popular thoroughfare. It's popular for tourists, not so popular for prisons, prisons don't like to go there, why? It's dangerous, it's noisy, it's dirty, the old faceva facades are messed up because of their pollution and all and over the last few years a campaign started and through the mayor's office to look at what would it take to transform the Champs-Elysees back to what it was like in its heyday where it was, as you say, a livable a meeting spot a place for people to go and to enjoy being together and to beat together humans not as trying to avoid motorcycles and hope you don't get hit when you're crossing the road. And so they they proposed and they got approved this idea of the turning sort of Champs-Elysees into the, into a garden city garden. And over time, they'll expand that to many more streets. And that's going to take a few years to do it if to do gratulate too big to big deal. But what does that mean? It means not ruining the roads, prioritizing people, but it means planting more trees and the kind of areas where people can grow vegetables and fruits and stuff. It's funny on a main commercial street, and they'll expand the cafes and the size of the sidewalks. So these are just examples of big cities doing both things and changing the game. So we that's the way we're going to do it. And that's so important because the you get the major goals achieved. But you also get all these other things that come with it, too.

Yeah, it's so interesting that your examples are two major global cities, right. And, you know, sometimes we think only the small innovative cities like the Palo Alto'a can do things. But things that at scale, just have a disparate, disproportionate amount of impact. And I think those are fantastic examples. Thank you for sharing. So, early in a conversation you described yourself as an educator, I know you've become a prolific writer, as you've gone throughout your career. Education is one of these sectors that are going to have a lot of change associated with these new technologies and tools that are coming out. What do you see for the future of education, especially in an era where retooling every few years is just going to become the norm? What is your futuristic hat say about that?

Thank you for the question. And this is a topic where much like the city topic where I've like deep personal experience, I'm a professor right now. So I can talk about my own personal experiences here as we go through great change. And just the idea that November 22, November 2022, the chat GPT is made available, that we're recording this in the summer of 2023, so that's, we're like seven months since ChatGPT came out. And professors in every college and university in the world, and every high school is challenged by this change, right? Students just doing their assignments by typing in the questions or the essay descriptions and submitting chap GPT work, or generative AI work? Yeah, they are actually a lot art. And I wanted to, I needed to understand well, what's going to be my response to that. Because let's be honest, telling a student not to do it is not going to have ultimately stop everybody from doing it their wish life was that easy. Right? What we need to do is change the way we teach and the way we test and the way people learn things. So what I've seen in my own classrooms, and what I've done is moved a little bit away from just entirely relying on essays and exams in the way that was historically and now testing people in person because you can't, if I if you got your laptop up and I if the turn your put your laptop down or your phone down and answer the question or get up on the whiteboard and work through the problem, AI is not going to be readily available for you, you have to know this stuff. So that's an example of testing in different ways as a result of the emergence of technology. But that said, when students go off, and they have to do a typical sort of research and maybe do a presentation on their research, even a paper whatever the degree to which they can augment that, they've been doing this for years with Google and Bing and other search engines, and databases, they're going to use ChatGPT for that to, to augment so we see it now as a tool that helps so we have to teach the skills to be able to help our students. What we do know is that and I know this personally now going on the student side, I must have been very patient when I went through school because I would sit through very long lectures. But these days I can't sit through very long lectures. Part of it is I there's an urgency and I have some level of patience in my life. You go back not so long ago and this is done today. Of course, you've got your typical sort of lecture hall and the university students come in for an hour or two hours, whatever sit in the professor talks, that's not going to be as popular and what students want is more modalities. They want more use of a variety of videos and even immersive technologies where they can actually experience things. If you're going to have a history lesson and talk about ancient Rome, let's go there. Let's go to ancient Rome, let's put on headsets or use a device that allows us to engage and talk with people in Rome 1000s of years ago. That's an incredible learning experience, I do see these tools, enabling remarkable new experiences that teach in a way that just wasn't possible in the past. One of the thing I would say, on this big topic is, anyone who's been who's teaching through COVID has taught online. And we learned a lot about that we learned what works well, what doesn't work so well. A lot of students were very happy when we went back to the classroom. Some weren't, some people like the virtual experience. And if you're a good professor, and you can use these zoom tools and other tools to make a great for students, and engaging, it can be good, though. But there's an awful lot of people who want to be in the classroom, and have the interactivity and engagement with the instructor, the professor. I'll give you one just personal example on this topic. I happen to be teaching quite a lot to executives in Saudi Arabia during COVID, it just came about the I got this wonderful opportunity to teach executives at a very large energy company. For me, when I was teaching, it was late at night for them, it was going to be the morning, I want to paint the picture for you. Right, I'm in in my home office, it's like midnight, somewhere between midnight 1am. I going to teach for two hours. So it's pitch dark and silent in my house. And I'm on Zoom. And initially, by the way, so let's say there's 30 students, one of them would have the cameras or whatever, but within a few minutes, they turn the cameras off. It's 1am. In San Francisco, I'm teaching to Saudi Arabia to a black screen for two hours. So really bad for me, just as a professor, this is a horrible, not a great experience, I've got the same level of passion, I'm doing it, I'm going to deliver. But it's just not a good experience. On their side. I don't even know if they're there. And and frankly, they're not a lot of them are doing other stuff. They've left their offices, whatever. And when I talk to the learning organization later on, they recognize this, they know this, and they said the minute COVID allows it, we want you to come here and be in person, we need that, we absolutely have to have that. So I just wanted to paint the picture of the balance between electronic delivery and the need to remain and do classroom type activities too. I guess I didn't get my answer really get to the heart of should people still get degrees? I know that topic. 

I think this is really good, right? Because I think you and I've seen this through multiple generations of technology coming to the world, right? It comes, we invest into it, we figure out how to do our own kind of ingestion of it productivity hacks, and then we start to play with it for other things. And we combine it with other technologies that have been around and we just create new experiences. And it's the creation of the new experiences is where value gets created. That's where funding flows. And that's where new companies come from. That's what's so exciting about this period. For me, it reminds me a lot of 1994-95 when Netscape gave us this, I can now understand what the internet is. And all of a sudden, there were these new possibilities. The library became a global library, right? That's the first thing, but then we started to figure out how to transform businesses and experiences and I feel like we're going to do that today in every industry and education is one that moves a little slower. Right, traditionally, but I think we're gonna we're gonna see that same thing. Okay, I got my last question for you. Okay, we mentioned earlier you had that you used to have your own podcast called drinking wine, talking tech. Yes, you ended in 2021. We're in mid 2023. Right now, if you were to start your new podcast today, what would you focus that podcast on? 

Wow, sure. No, oh, my goodness, there's so many amazing things that are happening in the core of tech, but also across across industries. Digital transformation, we're just at the beginning that the extent to which it's helping us rethink what we do and how we do it, what we deliver. We're democratizing participation. I didn't mention earlier when we talked about the, the need for or the basically the impact of tech on society, and jobs and the future of work, but specifically, that there's never been a better time actually to be a creator or to build something or to deliver a product, right? That's what I mean by democratization, like if, if I know this is maybe a little bit old already this idea but if you come up with idea today, it's like Monday right now, you can basically have a global presence by Tuesday selling a service or products. You're gonna have a third party shipping products on your behalf anywhere in the world. If you want to create a music or even a movie now all the tools are available really low cost, some of them free where you can do that. So, in a way, you certainly can't have the argument that there's no opportunity and create opportunity, there's so much opportunity. So digital transformation, and its associated democratization will be something we'll be talking about a lot. I'd be talking about the Internet of Things. Connecting this acceleration of a hyper connected world, if we can connect it, we're going to connect it. That's completely redefining agriculture. It's medicine, the internet of medical things. So the industrial internet of things, creating smart factories, and smart cities, of course, our smart home. The fact that we can connect everything and then be able to instrumentize all the things in our lives, it opens up a remarkable amount of new opportunities. Of course, I would be certainly talking about artificial intelligence, itself an obvious topic, and where it is right now, where it's going, and how fast it's going, where it can be applied. But I want it to be a little bit more cutting edge in my answer to this question. I'd also be ready talking about quantum computing. If your listeners aren't following this topic, I just want to give a real quick overview of it. We've done amazing over the last 50 years, putting more and more transistors on a smaller and smaller microchips. And today, Apple's fastest microchips have four bit two to 4 billion little switches on them. It's a phenomenal engineering miracle, to be honest with you. But what we know is we're getting better, putting smallest more things into smaller, smaller space. That's why we have better phones and better laptops, better data centers. But there's a physical limit to that, you know, this is just fact, right? If we are to acknowledge the physical dimensions of the world, we can only put so much at some point that we can't do any more, we're going to do cool things with software, we're going to do amazing stuff with tethering systems. But that sort of like that Moore's Law of doubling speed every 24 months, is going to slow down, eventually. And the point is, we are never going to be satisfied with slower ,not being able to move fast and will want more. And we already want faster computers, because of the needs of AI, for example. Luckily, maybe just by coincidence, we've been researching alternative computing platform that actually relies on really small things, right? The science of the small quantum physics, right. And so classical physics tells us, you can only get to a certain point and at that kind of tiny level of science, matter and physics starts to behave in different ways. That limits our ability to manipulate electricity and do our current classical computing. But if we actually can bypass, if we can start past that, classic computing into the realm of quantum technology, quantum computing, or I should say quantum physics, sorry, then we can and use that for information theory. That's not like a, that's like a gift. Thank goodness. Now, if we can start to get really good at this, manipulating particles and photons, if we can really get good at that. We enter a new day for humanity. I mean it, like if people are excited by AI and what it's going to do, they're going to be blown away by quantum computing. Right? So let's let me give you an example. When a new computer comes out later this year, a new smartphone. It's faster. I don't know, maybe twice as fast perhaps. What do you notice? When a new when quantum computing gets introduced, and over a period of time, we will see speeds 100 times faster, 1000 times and eventually a million times faster. So we certainly will look back on 2023 and say, but in a decade or so from now and say, wow, everything was so slow. Because when you get to the realm of like processing at a million times faster than what we're doing today, it's a whole new day. It's a game changer. But I'm not finished, my point here, it gets a little further which is okay, I would be talking about that and all that can do and oldest sort of downside of that is the downside. There's a big upside. But what happens when you intersect artificial intelligence and quantum computing? We think we'll get something called QA Quantum Artificial Intelligence, or maybe Quantum Artificial General Intelligence Q AGI, right. But then it's all bets are off. Now we are talking about a really the 21st century in that humanity is shifted into a completely new day. So I think that intersection that an AI in the broadest sense, everything that it makes makes up the consumption of data, the manipulation of data, plus the ability for quantum to not only create a new quantum internet to move data around the place, but also to do this at speeds that are right now very hard for us to process. That's what I will be talking about. I think.

Awesome, awesome. Well We're gonna leave it there. Jonathan, futurist, writer, educator, thank you so much for joining us on the podcast and sharing about your experiences and your perspectives. It's been a pleasure, Jonathan, thank you.

Thank you, Tom so much. It's really been my honor to finally get to spend time with you. And if people want to learn more, go to Just my last name Tons of my videos and books and articles and everything you ever wanted to know is there and I add to it all the time. So please enjoy that. A lot of it is free so just please enjoy.