Future Minds Book Launch

It was almost exactly half a year ago that the official book launch for Future Minds at Town Hall Seattle was postponed. We expected to have a packed house, but I cancelled it two weeks earlier as it became apparent that any sort of large gathering would be irresponsible given the impending pandemic. Six months later, it was finally time to return to THS, albeit virtually, for the “official” launch party! A huge thank you to Wier Harman, Shane Unger and everyone at Town Hall Seattle, as well as the evening’s official bookseller, Third Place Books.

Amazon Alexa Prize Finals – Team Emora Wins

Congratulations Team Emora! Amazon announced today that Emory University and their Emora socialbot are the winners of the 2020 Alexa Prize. Second Place was awarded to Stanford’s Chirpy Cardinal bot and Third Place was Alquist developed by the team from Czech Technical University.

Emory won with a 3.81 average rating (out of a possible 5.0), earning them the $500,000 top prize. Each of the past two years’ winners have exceeded the average rating of the previous year’s winner. The eventual goal of the competition is to achieve a 4.0 rating while conversing with a human interactor for a minimum of twenty minutes.

It’s been an honor to be a part of this innovative competition – my third year as an Amazon #AlexaPrize finalist judge. I look forward to seeing what next year’s competition brings and what all of the competitors do with their amazing talent in the future!

Future Minds – Emerging Intelligence Interview

Not surprisingly, the book launch of Future Minds at Town Hall Seattle had to be postponed, a decision I wholeheartedly support in the interest of public safety. But in lieu of that presentation (at least for now), the good folks at THS did an interview with me to offer a taste of what my book and presentation are about. You can read my interview in their blog, the Town Crier. Find out why our world is rapidly becoming more and differently intelligent and what this could mean for the future!

Fifty Years of Future Shock

Futurist Richard Yonck in After Shock

Fifty years ago, I had the life changing experience of being introduced to Future Shock, Alvin and Heidi Toffler’s pivotal 1970 book. Putting forth the premise that too much change was happening in too short a time, Future Shock explored the psychological and societal impacts of continuous and disruptive progress. It was a view I’d never been exposed to and it made quite an impact on my then-preteen mind.

Which is just one of the reasons why the publication of After Shock: The World’s Foremost Futurists Reflect on 50 Years of Future Shock—and Look Ahead to the Next 50 is so exciting to me. Not only do I get to revisit the Tofflers’ original ideas, but to also gain insights into the many influences it had on futurists all over the world, including many of my friends and colleagues. That I was invited to write one of the chapters is icing on the cake! I hope you enjoy this insightful collection of essays.

Exploring the Global Marketplace in Vietnam

What is the Future of the Global Marketplace? How will demographic shifts, climate change and continued increases in urbanization affect trade between different parts of our world? I had the amazing opportunity to speak about these topics at the U.S Embassy in Hanoi a few weeks ago. The audience of about 200 was very engaged and had many thought-provoking questions. It felt like a great learning experience all around!

Healthcare 2040

Few topics are as personal as our health and based on the current trends in healthcare, things are going to be getting a whole lot more personal very soon.

I had the pleasure of presenting the closing plenary last week for the NW Regional Primary Care Association’s 2019 Fall Primary Care conference and it’s become very evident that tremendous changes are coming to the field. Given current trends, within two decades we can expect a transition to a consumer-centered model that relies on near-continuous data flows of personal health information. This information and a range of other emerging technologies will allow healthcare professionals to proactively focus much more on ongoing wellness. When illness does occur, it will be detected far sooner and treated using micro-interventions and personalized precision medicine. While there will be many challenges along the way, we will hopefully find ourselves living healthier and longer lives in the years to come.