An advanced copy of The Future Is Faster Than You Think has been provided to me as a professional reader by the publisher, Simon & Schuster (much appreciated).
The Future Is Faster Than You Think Notes page is for my thoughts as I progress through the book… You can check out the Review page here, which is about grading the book as fairly as possible according to The Rubric.
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The Future Is Faster Than You Think – Chapter 7: The Future of Entertainment
February 7, 2020
And, we’re back to the fun stuff.
I think a bit too much attention was focused on describing the changes we’ve seen to date, but perhaps the authors were right to include it to help put the future of entertainment into perspective.
Still, it’s hard to imagine going to a movie only to see something different than your date because your brains are inherently different and then also in different states.
The Future Is Faster Than You Think Chapter 8 Quotation
Custom-built to be watched while wearing a relatively cheap ($100) EEG headset, the contents of the film – the scenes, music, and animation – change every time you watch it, based entirely on what’s going on in your head.Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler, The Future Is Faster Than You Think, Chapter 8 Page 165
I was glad to see the redundancy from the last chapter to this chapter; custom experiences for everyone challenging our experience of reality from the brain out.
In the last chapter, the authors said “For all of human history, the experience of looking at the world was roughly the same for everyone.”
I wanted to think they had just poorly worded what they meant, but then they doubled down and wrote that “reality was a shared constant…”
It is precisely because the experience of looking at the world is different for everyone, and always has been, that we have varying points of view (literally and figuratively).
That said, I think the point the authors were getting at is that we were all operating from the same material world, regardless of our perspectives and experiences.
But with the development exponential technologies like virtual and augmented reality, we’re about to shift our would-be shared foundation from external material to extra- and intra-material.
What I think is most interesting about this isn’t the shift from agreement to a lack of agreement; it’s that we can’t even agree on material reality as it is, even with a (supposedly) shared material foundation…
How on earth (or elsewhere) are we supposed to agree when we don’t even have that?
Or perhaps we’ll finally realize agreement doesn’t matter because matter doesn’t matter…
Three fictional works come to mind when thinking about this chapter and the future of entertainment.
The Good Place, The Truman Show, and A Brave New World.
Sensing a theme?
Well, the one I get is the ethical implications and dilemmas presented by purposely interfering with the “reality” of others. Or even your own.
Diamandis and Kotler are thus far glossing over the plethora of questions all of these exponential technologies and their applications raise.
I hope they get around to going into them… Or perhaps that’s not the aim of the book. We’ll see.
My takeaway is to go and enjoy movies the way they are now while we have them!
Feeling a bit curmudgeonly at the moment.
The Future Is Faster Than You Think – Chapter 6: The Future of Advertising
February 4, 2020
This chapter was a bit redundant. I understand the organizational choice of separating out various industries per chapter, but shopping and advertising are so intertwined, I think they could have – should have – been put together.
Also, the failure of the authors to entertain the counterarguments/predictions is starting to make it hard to take them too seriously.
Okay, let’s just get to it.
The Future Is Faster Than You Think Chapter 6 Quotation
It’s a new form of advertising, either an extension of frictionless shopping, or a novel type of spam, depending on your perspective.Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler, The Future Is Faster Than You Think, Chapter 6 page 140
This quotation is regarding the lenses we will all be using in the future, that will break down our surroundings according to Wikipedia-like explanations and Amazon-like purchasing power.
I’ve been wondering about this since I learned about the Internet of Things back in 2014/2015.
For instance, with Amazon’s Virtual Dash Buttons, ordering laundry detergent when you’re running low is literally a single press of a button. I mean, keep those buttons away from your kids, but still…
If you just press a button to receive an item at your doorstep later today or tomorrow, without ever shopping, how are other brands going to compete?
It’s not on the shelves at the grocery.
It’s not even with coupons.
The authors seemed to approach the problem thinking that advertisers will get creepier and creepier with personal information meant to influence the buying public’s choices.
Using the President or your own mother’s likeness to persuade you that you need their product…
And then the authors say that, well, you know, advertising is just going to go away.
Okay, they said “might” go away. But this is one of those sentences in the book that just don’t seem warranted.
It’s a jump too far. This one is about a prediction; so I suppose we’ll have to wait and see.
But as I see it…
The trend in marketing/advertising isn’t to use personal information and hyper-personalization to create creepy marketing. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
The trend in marketing (and advertising) is the same trend they picked out in the previous chapter (another reason I think the two chapters belong together as one)…
The experience economy.
When shoppers no longer shop, what will they fill their time with?
If you want to reach the masses, you’re going to have to sing and dance for them. Perhaps literally.
And, I’d like to point out that this won’t be novel spam. At least not totally novel as the authors would have you believe.
The delivery channels might have changed, and the exponential technologies to get us there might have finally arrived.
But ultimately, advertising has always been a trade of attention at the intersection of time and place.
Allow me to introduce you to Justin Brooke.
Just yesterday, I read a Facebook post by Justin talking about getting your well-timed ads in front of your potential buyer while they’re watching…
Wait for it…
Of course Diamandis and Kotler are right – the advertisements are going to move into the entertainment. But we’re not unfamiliar with product placement, right?
The exponential technologies are converging to make product placement ubiquitous.
And, yes, hyper-personalization is going to be happening. Even at the micro-levels of facial expressions and lingering gazes… I can’t wait.
But the creepy factor?
Yes, for us older folks we’ll remember a time that we could think of something and not have it pop up on our social feeds a few hours later.
But my kid doesn’t know a world without iPhones.
She doesn’t even know a world without pixel tracking.
I still think the authors haven’t weighed in enough on the resistance to all of these changes…
And might I point out that the Wired article I linked to in my last entry predicted the end of the web browser. Twenty-three years later, and I’m typing this up on my Chrome browser.
But what they’re calling creepy will go the way of emails selling Viagra – it’s not novel spam, it’s just spam, and we’ll quickly learn to filter it out.
Everything else will be “seamless” advertising that works, because it’s what we want.
What’s interesting about all of this to me is the information. The massive amounts of information and data…
What’s this got to do with the Future of Advertising?
The takeaway question is what kind of information do you want to know when you spend advertising dollars?
Because the sky is the limit in the future Diamandis and Kotler are talking about.
And don’t fear the creepy. Because we’ve already seen the masses ditch olden days’ common sense for convenience, over and over again.
If you’re going to worry, worry about compliance. Because it’s platform and legal compliance that will slow you down – not the creep factor.
The Future Is Faster Than You Think – Chapter 5: The Future of Shopping
February 2, 2020
I did it! I published the Entreprising’s Guide to Crucial Conversations: A summary of arguments on Amazon a few days ago.
Take a peak (it’s free with Kindle Unlimited, or just $2.99 to buy). I’d love to hear your thoughts, either email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or consider joining the Entreprising Facebook Group where we can debate all things business books.
Back to the book at hand…
Finally! The audio book has arrived, and I’m getting back into the groove of things.
Let’s just talk the future of shopping.
The Future Is Faster Than You Think Chapter 5 Quotation
It’s an AI-to-AI negotiation, no human required.Diamandis and Kotler, The Future Is Faster Than You Think: Chapter 5, page 123
Diamandis and Kotler are imagining a world where the pesky tasks that irritate us are handed off to AI, including negotiating the purchase or lease of a new car (I mean, that’s assuming we still own cars, right? I’ve already given up my car for Uber…)
But this quotation is regarding the idea that in the very near future, we won’t negotiate our own car purchases. AI will discuss with AI and arrive at the conclusion. Much like a lot of our life, according to the authors.
And we should expect it to be easier and cheaper.
In fact, at one point they address the millennial’s expectations. Why isn’t this technology here already?
I’m a little older than a millennial, but I often feel this way.
In 1997, the year before I graduated high school, Wired Magazine published an article on “push technology.”
I remember this article some 23 years later. The promise that my life was going to be made easier with exponential technologies. Hell, they even mention “convergence” as a factor in the nearly quarter-century-old article.
My life is better because of technology.
I am now on my … seventh iPhone?
And I sit here, working on my $189 Chromebook I bought on Amazon over three years ago. It only took them two days to deliver it to my door at the end of 2016.
I’ve already ditched as much shopping as technology has allowed me to.
Letting AI take over the part where I have to do the bargain hunting or the most stressful part, the decision making?
Sign. Me. Up.
You want to deliver my pizza by robot, so I don’t have to tip a driver but still don’t ever have to leave my house? I’m feeling religious about this upcoming experience, I have to tell you. Domino’s is already on it, and I’m digging it. I can’t imagine Uber Eats isn’t already on top of it, too.
I’m ready, but I still have my doubts.
Maybe I just haven’t invested enough in exponential technologies, yet…
But my push technology experience hasn’t met my expectations thus far.
So many notifications. So much noise.
And my AI experience? Well, let’s just say that Siri and I have a strained relationship. I often give up on her.
I still look up the weather (albeit on my phone), and I still have to ask where shops and stores are, and I still have to wait at least a few hours for Amazon deliveries.
In the Wired article, they talk about technology anticipating my needs.
I get this from a marketing/advertising perspective – I hang out on Facebook and I feel known.
But in the moment? When I’m 1.5 miles from home on a walk and it starts raining, I don’t feel like my tech knows what to do with that information.
All these exponential technologies seem to make me hungry for more exponential technologies.
This chapter was about exploring exponential technologies converging on the retail experience, or shopping.
Specifically, the authors take a look at:
- AI and retail.
- Robots and retail.
- 3D printing and retail.
The only “hope” for the brick and mortar shopping trends is the emerging “experience” economy.
For this part of the book, at least, I’m down. I hope they’re not too far off.
The Future Is Faster Than You Think – Chapter 4: The Acceleration of Acceleration
I have to admit, it’s taking me a bit longer to get through this book than I would like.
Mostly because I haven’t been able to fit this book into my process.
Because it’s an advanced copy I’m working from until the 28th when the book is finally released, the only devices I can read it on are my Kindle and my phone.
Neither of which are my preference.
Also, I’ve become so used to listening to the audio of the chapter before I read it, and I don’t have an advanced version of the audio, either.
For this reason, I think I might refrain from reviewing advanced copies of books in the future. It doesn’t save me money – I’m going to buy the books anyway – and it just ends up costing me precious time.
But … I have made it through another chapter of this book, so let’s get to it.
The Future Is Faster Than You Think Chapter 4 Quotation
Still holding true to my word; I’ll refrain from quoting the book until it’s finally published next week.
In this chapter, Diamandis and Kotler are pointing out the reasons why the acceleration of change is accelerating. They discuss seven forces.
And they make some darn good points.
On Time Saved
For instance, the first force is the time that we save with new technology.
The time we save makes it possible for us to focus on inventing and creating new technology faster, which creates a self-perpetuating cycle, right? I get their meaning.
On The Availability of Capital
Then they talk about the second force, or how easy it is to get funding to create new technology.
In this section, I saw the rose-colored picture they were painting. What I didn’t see was any treatment of the topics of bubbles, booms, and busts – and how that might affect the speed with which we realize some of the advancements they’re predicting will come so fast.
In fact, in the enthusiasm with which they present all of this advancement, the notion is that all that money being invested in new technology is warranted.
And if it was all being invested in the trial and error of developing new technology, that might be the case – even if the money were to be lost to failed attempts, we learn from our mistakes as we continue to build, right?
But to suggest that investors are only after innovation is silly. Not that they said that; just that they didn’t specifically say that it isn’t so.
They paint SoftBank’s CEO, Masayoshi Son, as a patron of technological advancement with his Vision Fund, the initial existing one, and the future subsequent funds he’s planning to create.
Even if his intentions are good around technology, his purpose is to make more money.
And an expanding bubble of tech investments doesn’t bode well for tech advancement. When the bubble bursts, the investments dry up, and it takes time to recover.
Just as practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect – investments don’t make new technology; perfect investments make new technology.
Take for instance the mistake Masayoshi made with WeWork. In the race to invest as much as possible in technology, he seems to have been fooled into investing in a smoke and mirrors shitshow.
The fact that Diamandis and Kotler talk about the availability of capital as if it is a given indefinitely, without addressing some clear concerns for mistakes that will slow the investors’ roll and the overall global economy is at the very least myopic, if not downright troublesome.
Would you like to buy a tulip bulb for $100k, anyone?
On More Genius
In other associations, when they got down to the fourth force, more genius being added to the collective mix, I was reminded of the field of neuroethics.
The idea is that we will all have brain implants to improve our memory and other brain functions, and that our improved cognitive functions will accelerate our ability to advance technology, etc.
Diamandis and Kotler don’t seem to be balanced in their investigation as to how fast the future will be upon us, though.
They seem to assume that just because the technology will exist, we will all adopt it.
And perhaps the Max Planck quotation works here:
A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.Max Planck
But the idea that there is a right and wrong – and therefore codes of ethics around what we should and shouldn’t do – begs the question: How have we handled advancements in artificial human capability in the past?
Hint: We’re still working on it.
In sports, we call it cheating.
Or, the athletes divide into further categories.
For instance, doping in baseball and cycling. If you use performance-enhancing drugs, we call you a cheater and take away your trophies.
In the case of the disadvantaged realizing an advantage – for instance, an amputee who, with the proper prosthetic, can now outrun/outperform a person with legs – where do we put them?
There is a purity ideal that would need to be overcome for the wide adoption of artificial human intelligence.
I’m not saying Diamandis and Kotler are wrong; I’m just saying they didn’t investigate this aspect of what they’re proposing will happen. It’s a gap in their treatment.
On Living Longer
Perhaps the most interesting force Diamandis and Kotler bring up is that we are going to continue to live longer and healthier lives.
As this trend continues, and our ability to create and innovate is extended beyond any generation before us, the acceleration of acceleration argument makes perfect sense.
It reminds me of Jim Collins on Peter Drucker during his interview with Tim Ferriss recently. When Collins met Drucker, Drucker was 86 years old. And was yet to write another ten business management books.
Imagine if that was typical, rather than extraordinary.
I keep thinking “whoa,” at the end of each of these chapters…
I think the outline here is useful, and I’ll add the topics to the combined RSS feed on the authors’ page (again, when I get around to it … if you want it sooner, bug me via email, please!).
Seven Forces of Acceleration (of Acceleration):
- Saved Time
- Availability of Capital
- More Genius
- Communications Abundance
- New Business Models
- Longer Lives
Then, for new business models, the breakdown:
- The Crowd Economy
- The Free/Data Economy
- The Smartness Economy
- The Closed Loop Economy
- Decentralized Autonomous Organizations
- Multiple World Models
- Transformation Economy
And … a side note.
I am busy working on summarizing the arguments of Crucial Conversations, chapter by chapter. And your gift if you sign up for my email list, is I will send you each summary as I complete it – delivered straight to your email inbox.
I’ll be selling the whole summary after I get it finished on Amazon… So excited to finally be working on this.
So look over to the right, and get your chapter-by-chapter summaries by signing up now.
The Future Is Faster Than You Think – Chapter 3: The Turbo-Boost – Exponential Technologies Part II
January 18, 2020
Sorry for the delay, folks… #stuff is going on.
But, the best way to get back on the path is to get back on the path, right? (That’s a reference to good ol’ Jocko Willink, so if you’re new to my site, you’ll find me repeating that a lot.)
I will say, the delay has absolutely nothing to do with the book. The book is great. It’s fun. I’m a little concerned about some embellishment, but I’m going to wait it out and address that after the book is actually published. It could be something gets fact-checked in editing (also a reminder, I’m reading this book as an advanced copy courtesy of the publisher, Simon & Schuster – and I’ve agreed not to quote it until it’s actually published).
So, let’s get to it.
The Future Is Faster Than You Think Chapter 3 Quotation
As I just mentioned, I’ve promised not to quote from the book until it’s published, which isn’t for another 10 days… so this will have to wait.
But, this chapter goes on about five more exponential technologies, which like the first five are converging with the others to produce MASSIVE change in the next few years.
- Virtual and Augmented Reality
- 3D Printing
- Material Science and Nanotechnology
This stuff is so cutting edge that it seems science fiction might be the only reference here that works…
At least from my limited perspective, not having followed these exponential technologies that closely.
Clearly I’ve been missing out, so I’ve decided to use technology to solve the problem… Simple technology; RSS feeds.
I’ve created a combined feed for the various exponential technologies Diamandis and Kotler are tackling in these chapters. I used Feedspot to accomplish this; here’s a preview (I’ll be putting this on the authors’ page when I get around to making it):
This chapter was an extension of the last chapter; so my takeaway was an introduction to thinking about the five exponential technologies the authors presented.
The Future Is Faster Than You Think – Chapter 2: The Jump To Lightspeed – Exponential Technologies Part One
January 13, 2020
Chapter 2 did not disappoint.
The first few paragraphs (the section on quantum computing) challenged me to get into the techy groove to keep up. But I kept with it, and was rewarded with the rest of the chapter (handsomely, I might add).
Let’s get to it.
The Future Is Faster Than You Think Chapter 2 Quotation
In keeping with my promise, I’ll have to come back to this – I’m not supposed to quote directly from the book until after it’s final publication. And I will, just give me until after January 28th, 2020, when the book is finally released.
Speaking of which, I’ve pre-ordered my copy; have you? If not, I’d greatly appreciate it if you would buy it from my Amazon Affiliate link here.
I have highlighted quite a few contenders for quotation … Front running quotation topic? Consciousness; specifically, hyperconsciousness.
As a philosophy lover who has written way too many words on consciousness and awareness to not have a Ph.D., I’m weary of using that word when its not meant about human consciousness.
Being able to sense, capture, and respond to data does not equate to consciousness in my mind.
But Diamandis and Kotler are giving me a hard time about maintaining that line.
And that kind of rethinking my thoughts about the world and what I know about it in its current state…
That’s why I would consider reworking the already too wordy title to include the word much.
The Future Is Much Faster Than You Think.
There is so much packed into this chapter, exploring exponential technologies with regards to 5/10 categories:
- Quantum Computing
- Artificial Intelligence
So far, this book doesn’t have any normative commentary. It’s not telling the reader what to do with the information being delivered on the pages.
But they pulled a concept from their previous book, Bold, and distinguished “disruption” as a phase of exponential technologies rather than an aim of exponential technologies (and the businesses built around them).
Which reminded me of Thiel’s more normative words in Zero To One about not trying to disrupt anything – because to do so intentionally places you in the thick of competition (which is bad for business, and ultimately for innovating technology).
This book seems in such contrast to Thiel’s, I’ve made a note to see what Thiel has said since he wrote Zero To One, specifically around the topics of AI and robotics. As I recall, in Zero To One, Thiel was reassuring the reader that AI was so far from being a practical reality, it was a concern for 100 years from now, not right now.
Diamandis and Kotler aren’t presenting it as something to fear, rather as something to be embraced. But whatever dangers are posed by AI are definitely a timely concern if The Future Is Faster Than You Think is accurately depicting the AI landscape as it exists and will exist in the next few years.
Contrary to the self-proclaimed contrarian, Thiel, and his theory that we’d have to wait to be presented with a real threat from AI… We now have AI-driven soldiers I don’t ever want to meet in … robot? Well, definitely not in real life, anyway.
Who knows. Maybe Thiel might claim we heeded his call to action. lol
In trying to think “practically” about a book that isn’t giving up much in a practical way (thus far), my takeaway from this chapter is about user-friendly interfaces.
Again, borrowing from their book, Bold, Diamandis and Kotler talk about “the Six Ds of Exponentials.”
Thiel talks about not trying to disrupt anything because #competition.
Diamandis and Kotler describe disruption as a natural phase during the emergence of exponential technology; the third stop out of six on any exponential’s way into the hands of, well, everyone.
The phase just before disruption is deception; where the promises of exponential technologies are taking longer to keep than we think they should. This is the phase in which books like Zero To One are written; because exponential growth from zero takes … forever. Hence Thiel’s call to get to “one” (aka the future) as quickly as possible, since exponential growth from one might take a while, but not forever.
Never mind that tangent; the interesting takeaway here is the idea that bridging the gap from deception to disruption, as phases rather than aims, is the creation of user-friendly interfaces. Diamandis and Kotler aren’t calling us to action over it exactly, but pointing out that the little guy that makes it easy for everyone to play around with quantum computing is still in the game with all those big corporations.
Perhaps not aiming to disrupt, but disrupting as a result of lowering the barrier to entry to using the exponential technology (specifically quantum computing).
So from a business perspective; what can you do to lower the barrier to entry … to exponential technologies … to the future?
The Future Is Faster Than You Think – Chapter 1: Convergence
January 6, 2020
I left that book having felt lectured to; commanded …
Thiel was calling on us to create the future.
And one of his largest points was that the future is not a passive occurrence.
Yes, we will be 10 years from now in 10 years.
But when we talk about the future, we’re talking about how different it will be from today; from now.
So the future is only as long away from now as it takes the “technology” to make things different from today.
And in that sense, it could be tomorrow, it could be 10 years from now, it could be 100 years from now.
Thiel was concerned that after a huge technology boom, culminating in the moon landing, we sort of stopped thinking about how to achieve the future and started concerning ourselves with replicating and duplicating, aka globalization.
In The Future Is Faster Than You Think, Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler are arguing that we will indeed achieve the future (as Thiel defines it) faster than we think.
And in this first chapter, they base their conclusion on the premise of converging technologies.
It is quite the ride…
The Future Is Faster Than You Think Chapter 1 Quotation
I promised not to quote from the book until it is published and I’ve verified the quotation remained intact; so I will come back to this section soon…
In the meantime, I’ll write a little more about the difference between Peter Thiel’s Zero To One and Diamandis and Kotler’s The Future Is Faster Than You Think.
I haven’t researched the relationship between Thiel and Diamandis or Kotler, but it’s safe to say they know each other.
Certainly they know about each other as Thiel is mentioned in the first few pages here.
And besides Zero To One being a call to action to create the future, and The Future Is Faster Than You Think being an observation of converging technologies and predicting the effects they will have on the future…
One of the biggest differences in the books as far as I can tell is the first is startup-centric and technology-agnostic, and the second is technology-centric and startup agnostic.
Thiel discusses how he thinks the startup is the best way to move forward and create the future; and thus far, Diamandis and Kotler have no objection.
But while Thiel is interested in startups creating technology, Diamandis and Kotler seem interested in describing the technologies that are being brought together, not by single startups, but by constellations of startups in tandem.
This is bringing the conversation back around to competition; something that Thiel is against as a premise for innovation – he says competition stifles innovation and sucks out all of the profit…
Again, nothing specifically countered in the first chapter of Diamandis and Kotler’s treatment.
But they’re not bothering to give advice on how to avoid being one of the startups that will inevitably be snuffed out on the way to the future.
Like General Magic (I just listened to Tim Ferriss’s interview of Tony Fadell on the Tim Ferriss Show, and then watched the documentary General Magic on my last flight, thanks to Delta).
General Magic was ahead of its time, as proven by all the things we take for granted now on a daily basis that were imagined at General Magic first.
They weren’t wrong. They were ahead.
The technology hadn’t caught up.
The convergence of technology hadn’t made the vision possible… yet.
Both for their ability to predict future technologies…
Can’t wait for Chapter 2.
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