It was refreshing to listen to Sky News and the BBC both interview Beata Javorcik @BJavorcik over the weekend. Beata warns us that ‘the world is facing unprecedented change and in order to avoid a return to the 1930s, we must avoid the trap of protectionism that is being touted by many nationalist sentiments in Politics globally’. And, of course, Beata reminds us, #RemoteWorking is here to stay.
For some reason, though, when I hear about the future it seems instinctive to look at the topic of Quantum Computing. I have heard a lot about Quantum Computing and Qubits, Jacob Biamonte @JacobBiamonte and Philippe De Brouwer @DrPhilippeDB have been talking to me about Quantum Mechanics for several years now.
Google recently press released that it has achieved ‘quantum supremacy’, possibly minutes before IBM did. In the meantime, there is yet to be a lot of traffic online about how quantum computing may be able to help with the Virus. It is a given that quantum mechanics will lead to a revolution in Pharmaceutics, Tech and lots of other sectors, but did the Virus come a little bit too soon for Quantum Computing to come up with a solution? Our research suggests that this may be the case… Even the head of Google recently ceded that the first proper application may be even a decade away, just watch out for “Sycamore” when you are reading up about this topic.
To wrap up the discussion around Quantum Computing though, we will leave you with a very famous quote from Richard Feynman: “Nature isn’t classical, dammit, and if you want to make a simulation of nature, you’d better make it quantum mechanical, and by golly it’s a wonderful problem, because it doesn’t look so easy.” What is for sure, is that Richard lived through the Swine Flu and the Great Depression and would have been a really useful chap to have around during this current Pandemic. Maybe he is not the only one who could take the quantum supremacy concept forward into application.
If Quantum Computers are not quite ready help us into the Future now, then perhaps we should look at a more mainstream Futurist to better understand what to do to prepare for the future.
According to Wikipedia, Futurists are “people whose specialty or interest is futurology or the attempt to systematically explore predictions and possibilities about the future and how they can emerge from the present, whether that of human society in particular or of life on Earth in general”. Risk, and Data are just factors that affect what Futurists are able to predict. But perhaps predict, is not the right word…
There are leaders in this sector like Amy Webb @amywebb , a Quantitative Futurist who has been heading up the Future Today Institute since 2006 with huge Clients like the Federal Reserve and Microsoft. Amy is a very charismatic speaker and columnist and professor.
Amy’s job is to use data to look for emerging signals, to track the velocity of change and look for trends. Later creating outcomes, not to predict the future, but to prepare for whatever comes next. The real role of a futurist is to reduce uncertainty. Sid Mead, was a speculative design Futurist, a totally different type of Futurist, but his lasting achievement to mankind will be the legacy of Blade Runner, the futuristic cars, landscape, buildings and other accoutrements. There are many kinds of Futurists for us to admire.
Amy and Beata have both suggested that #RemoteWork is here to stay and both have also highlighted how many people will no longer seek out work in the big cities post COVID. There are other elements like China and global trade that both of them have commented on in the last few days and weeks, but let us consider the more familiar question of when will society start to go back to what we were used to.
For any of our readers looking for ANSWERS, this is a wonderful podcast to start with:
Futurists are not the only ones who can help us better prepare for the future. There are a plethora of seriously engaging Economists who are also very good at helping us understand how better to structure our plans for the next 6 – 18 months. And with Warren Buffett @WarrenBuffett dumping his airline stocks and Elon Musk @elonmusk devaluing his company over the last few days, it has been hard to follow the right advice. When exactly did Buffett dump his airline stocks?
On February 7thLawrence Summers @LHSummers told reporters at Bloomberg that this Virus could be the largest event of the half century, or maybe even century. Lawrence was interviewed again a few days ago where Bloomberg went back to his prediction from February and Lawrence stated that he wished he hadn’t been so correct… Was Summers an example of a Futurist when he gave his talk in February?
Author: Andy Samu