The Next Era: Superhuman Innovation

Overview CES 2020 Gary's Book Club author Chris Duffey shares insights from his book "Superhuman Innovation."

We are standing at the edge of our next era: 2020 begins the era of Superhuman Innovation.

Something wondrous happens in early childhood around the age of 2. This is when children develop the understanding that other people have their own thoughts and feelings — in other words, the theory of the second mind. This theory describes the ability of individuals to understand that others have beliefs, intents, desires and emotions that are different from theirs.

Humanity is now having a moment of awakening much like this, where we are now realizing thetheory of the second mind with the possibilities of artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence (AI), an “intelligent assistant,” will help expand and propel our abilities and intelligence beyond what we ever imagined.

What if we could tap into superhuman powers to be better at school, excel at sports, succeed in business and ultimately live a longer and fuller life? Who wouldn’t want that competitive edge? 

With this inspiration in mind, Superhuman Innovation unpacks the magic around the possibilities of AI, demystifies AI into practical strategies and provides a mindset to apply AI to business innovation and transformation.

The superhuman framework centers on the five key tenets of AI:

  • Speed.
  • Understanding.
  • Performance.
  • Experimentation.
  • Results.

 
Introducing an AI Coauthor Aimé

As a father, husband, son and brother, and holding down a full-time dream job at Adobe, my days are packed — much like for many of you — and the thought of writing a book was a sizeable challenge.

However, in the pursuit of walking the walk, I leveraged AI to help co-author much of the narrative. In doing so, I dramatically reduced the time taken to create this book.

As a metaphor for how AI is giving us superhuman powers, and for the purposes of this book, we have given AI a name: Aimé, which is derived from the French for “beloved” (bien aimé) and is also coincidentally a combination of AI + me. Aimé reflects the goal of this book — to show that AI will become your beloved co-creator and your intelligent personal assistant going forward.

Aimé illustrates the role and relationship that humanity is now starting to have with AI. Much like Amazon Alexa, Siri and other voice assistants, we are moving into an age of intelligent assistants, where they will be companions that predict our needs, inspire and amplify our human abilities, and enhance our evolutionary state of being. Throughout the book, Aimé learns from me, aids my thoughts, suggests and interprets my needs, and contributes humor to situations. This is reflective of where advancements are being made in ‘narrow AI.’

 

AI Can Supercharge Opportunity

Every 10 to 15 years, the world receives a new game-changing technology platform. Look at what the desktop computing and publishing revolution achieved for the democratization of the creation of and access to information via the internet. This was soon followed by the ubiquity of mobile devices that helped deliver all this content.

That vast amount of data created the need for cloud storage. The desire to take advantage of that information, or digital exhaust (data that is the result of the choices and actions made by people online) led to the acceleration of the development of AI.

In other words, artificial intelligence, in many ways, was driven by the need for a tool to make sense of all this data. Because of its potential, AI has been compared to the invention of electricity, as an ambient operating system that will light the future way for business innovation. AI has the potential to innovate the creation of products, services and experiences at scale and will then power automation to increase productivity for these outputs. Innovators have always been in the business of creating opportunities for their products and customers, and AI supercharges that opportunity.

There’s a saying attributed to Albert Einstein, that the true sign of intelligence is not knowledge, but imagination. In the case of AI, the true measure of intelligence is intelligent imagination. Imagination can now be more informed and more tangibly enlightened through the unlocking of data.

Artificial intelligence is the platform of our time, the medium of the moment. Businesses now must triple down on the AI value exchange to enhance innovation.


New Tech Can Seem Like Magic

There is an old fable: A farmer was always bemoaning to his wife that his hands were cracked and dried. One day she came across a new ointment, and gave him a tin of it, telling him that the next time his hands started to hurt he should use it. It was windy and cold, and the work was hard, and soon enough his hands cracked and he was in pain.

He opened the lid and found a small mirror inside. For the first time in his life he saw himself and he was astonished, because he saw his father’s face. The farmer ran home and told his wife about the magical box. She told him to lie down because he obviously wasn’t feeling well. The next morning, she woke up early and sneaked a look inside the magical box – and saw her mother’s face in the mirror. She ran over to her husband and said, ‘I’m taking you to the doctor. You really mustn’t be feeling well if you think your father looks like my mother."

The point here is, at times, any sufficiently advanced technology can be indistinguishable from magic and sometimes initially misunderstood. Through the exploration of AI, we discover that technology is not good or bad.

AI is simply a tool and it’s how it’s intended to be used which is important. Ultimately, it’s not about the trend of AI, but rather how to enable this trend to create innovation with relevant, personalized and magical experiences across all industries, societies and cultures.

Technology continues to change the world, and in many ways it is magical. We talk a lot about the past and the future. But the truth is, the focus should be about the now and how AI can be a positive force for humanity as a whole and people on an individual level.

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