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Aug 25, 2021

In this episode of The NEXT Normal, we’re in a better place today than we were pre-COVID. In fact, co-host Dave Hardy, President and CEO of Hardy Stevenson and Associates, expects things to improve even more.

[00:06:10] Dave Hardy “I'm excited about the future. We'll have cities with lower energy consumption. We'll be able to educate people better in terms of how to sustain our natural environment. We even could be able to create smart streets that do their own snowplowing. So, I'm optimistic that the next normal will be a very positive.

All of Dave’s optimism hinges on the accelerated development of new technologies, particularly those driven by artificial intelligence. He says the pandemic pushed governments and industry to reassess the role of tech in our daily lives. That’s meant being able to educate our kids and run our business from the kitchen table.

[00:05:25] Hardy “If you have a cell phone or an iPad, anywhere on the face of the planet, you'll get a first-world education, access to a doctor and you're able to run a global business.”

But the buzz about technology and AI creates concern in some quarters. It raises the spectre of machinery replacing humans in the workplace.

[00:07:03] Ujwal Arkalgud “It's a real fear at the moment. And in particular, a real fear for those once again, who are older, who are less privileged.”

Ujwal Arkalgud is a Cultural Anthropologist and CEO at Motivbase. He says artificial intelligence is artificial.

[00:07:52] Ujwal “It's really not that intelligent…We're at least 50 to a hundred years away from true intelligence from anything artificial. So that term is a bit of a mis-characterization of technology…So what does that mean? It means it can allow us to do things better. It can allow us to use our brains better.

Essentially, this emerging technology is a companion. But Lisa Taylor, President at Challenge Factory, says we’ve also created a culture of “technological determinism.”

[00:09:50] Lisa Taylor “We spend all of our time talking about the technology and what's going to happen with AI. And that's because we have this sense that now that it exists, we have to use it right away. So not only is it not ready to be used, we don't have to use it right away. This is where our own humanity and our own desire for what we want to see for our own societies really needs to kick in.”

The use of tech and AI needs to be purposeful, part of the plan – not something pursued as “bright, shiny objects.” Sarah Thorne, President at Decision Partners, says we miss the opportunities if fail to ask the right questions up front.

[00:11:10] Sarah Thorne “What do we want to be? What do we want to have? How can we be more inclusive and where can we use technology to help us get there. I think it's really about the future. It’s really about coming together and figuring out what our shared values are and what we want to create going forward.”

 Have comments questions or ideas for our hosts? Feel free to drop us an email at hello at StoryStudioNetwork dot com. 

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