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Will Humans Become the Pinball or Continue as the Wizards

Will humans become the pinball or continue as the wizards? In the past decade so much happened due to cheap money, technological gains, an ageing boomer, and pissed, and wireless new generations. Our lives, our livelihood and our planet were disrupted. We ushered in Tesla, the Prius, GPS, iPhone, and Apps were in their infancy, and the Apprentice made Trump seem Presidential.

Oh, did I mention Greta, the reemergence of Russia, China's expanding ambitions, Amazon, MeToo, Trade Wars, War and the hacking of Democracy?

Humans kept their hands on the flippers but the speed made it difficult to control play. In the coming decade, new balls will hit and spin with G Force volatility.

Here are 7 balls that must be played very well, or we could tilt the game...

1. Machine Earning - What Will We Do?

This decade millions of people, in hard hats, wearing cashier badges, stethoscopes, in sneakers, suits, will tell their families and friends that they lost their jobs to a machine. They will be the pain of progress, the human ingenuity that is making automation faster, better, smarter and cheaper. Some will pivot but for many, a future of no work, or nomadic, romantically coined the gig economy. There is no turning back. Capitalism has a conscience, but the survival of the fittest puts innovation and efficiency above all.

As machines earn, what can we learn? Jobs provide a livelihood. Is UI the answer?

Jobs provide social interaction, validation and purpose. What will be the new rungs to climb?

The human spirit has soared each time when we thought it could be swallowed. This will be a great test of our mental health, to make the most out of freeing time.

Technology and time can spark a creative and intellectual renaissance. It can also bring us back to nature and human nature; grow vegetables and community barn build.

And our Governments must establish an orderly progression for those entering the non-work force. Job sharing and a shorter workweek can create a softer landing.

2. Data Bagging - Opportunistic or Parasitic?

After the Civil War, Carpet baggers were a term of reference for Northerners who ventured South to buy assets for pennies on the dollar. They offered what many in the South were starved for, cash.

Some felt Carpet Baggers were opportunistic others parasitic.

Today, Big Data is equally polarizing. Hyper personal information for hyper-personal gain.

Data Baggers offer access to their platforms in exchange for the bagging of personalized data that they then monetize. In the roaring 2020s, data will be bagged everywhere and anywhere. Keyboard, mobile, voice, eye and body, movement, commuting, recreation, IoT, and even bathroom breaks.

In return, users will be enticed, enthralled and enabled with supremely curated content and communities. From goods and services to healthcare, home security, points of view and everything in between. Advocates will state the more personalized our feed the more we are immune from indoctrination. We can think on and of our own accord. Critics will counter that humans will become what the algorithms accord us.

3. Anarchists Social Media - Weapons of Mass Deconstruction

Social media has become the Molotov Cocktail, the weapon of mass deconstruction for Anarchists. Deconstructionists divide to conquer by curating content, socializing rhetoric versus reality, all designed to feed biases and create a frenzy.

Anarchists polarize and socialize. They foster communities where like-minded or, at times, vulnerable people are exposed to their manifestos- most of which proclaim the end of this and that, by then or there. These fear-mongering tactics create sinkholes that collapse norms and the very foundations of our democracy.

The only way to counter is for our whispers to become a collective roar. We must raise our shields to their social media slingshots, reclaim the middle ground where logic, science and consensus can and will triumph.

4. Facial Recognition - The Taming of 'Sh'You

A speaker, at a conference I was hosting, talked about visiting his parents in China. He noticed a camera in front of their door and over dinner he learned the government had installed it. He asked his parents about how they felt about this invasion of their privacy. They were thrilled all crime had disappeared in their neighbourhood.

China isn't an anomaly. Facial recognition, which began as a key component in crime and is now making its way across our entire society. We are being watched intently without knowing all of the intentions.

My question to you is this. If we are reviewed at the speed of life, and over our entire recorded life, will we lose our courage to protest, demand change, challenge authority or push boundaries? Or possibly...

Civil obedience, the taming of temper, even desire, without a blink of the eye. The Taming of the 'Sh’you.

5. Content through a Firehose - A Picasso in We

In the roaring 2020s, Content will come at us through a firehose. Humans and AI will produce more content than all the decades that came before. Human creativity, powered by more powerful technologies, will know no boundaries. Our brain will be the brush, our imagination the palette, and our canvass will be an augmentation of our reality.

To remain competitive, 'Hollywood' will weave our persona into their screenplays, create crowdsourced virtual hero's, and our collective consciousness will dictate the outcome.

Dream catchers will tap our subconscious, our glasses will explore any universe, and our posts will move like Jagger, sing like Adele, and paint like the Picasso in We.

My essential question to you is whether Content will remain King, and treasured and valued, or become a commodity easily ignored?

6. Public Service vs. Me - I have Pension Envy

Do you have pension envy? I do. The people working in the Public Service and Crown Corporations have awarded themselves generous and indexed pensions, including health and survivor benefits, and almost all are fully guaranteed by the taxpayer. Many max out their overtime during their last years to max their starting pension position.

These pensions in a low-yield era, combined with longer lives, are already billions of dollars underfunded. Next, add the potential of inflation to an indexed fund, it’s pouring more kerosene to burn up Canada’s balance sheet. Billions will need to be borrowed, and wealth and new taxes required, to make good on these future commitments.

Public service employees will enjoy retirement without risk, and often before age 65, while many without a pension will retire later, and be in constant worry about outliving their money.

I predict that this pension envy will manifest to rage, as our population ages, and the younger generation is left holding the dime. I predict a taxpayer revolution.

7. Climate - Do we Have the Will to Find our Way?

I ask you, do we have the will to find our way? Humans are facing several existential risks, including climate change, the hacking of truth, the growing divide between the halves and halve not, and rapid automation and a future of no work.

All are solvable but will require a significant rewiring of human psychology. Humans are ambitious and territorial. As individuals, most of us put our and our families' own interests, ahead of others, and collectively we favour our religions, organizations, and our country ahead of all others. When it comes to our entitlements and what we have earned, our motivation is preservation and amplification, not sharing.

Social media feeds our biases and beliefs and builds our commune of like-minded people. We feel the strength in numbers.

As humans, we need to rebuild the middle ground where math, science and logic are the lifeblood of decision making. It is the only place to stand, solve and roar for Planet Earth.

Note: I wrote this series on the Roaring 2020s to suggest that with a rampant change of this order, also comes disorder. Conversation, collaboration and consensus are always within our reach, and our best path forward.


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