The Future of America and the Innovation Economy Part ll

Posted by Dr. James Canton on November 6, 2012 under Uncategorized | Be the First to Comment

This post is on the day of the US election. Sometimes I think I must sound like a broken record but one more time, with feeling. This election is vitally important because it will determine not just the future US President but the future of the nation, with impact on the world of business, economics and globalization.

The Innovation Economy is an emergent economic paradigm for the planet. One third of US GDP is from innovation industries engaged in making or using technology. Innovation is not just about technology but the use of technology to enable business. Innovation: key technologies, processes, systems, methods will bring prosperity, peace and productivity that will bring democracy and a better world for the planet.

America has always been the leading global innovator, the New World driving new technologies like the Internet, nanotech, biotech and computing. This election, beyond the politics, is about the Innovation Economy. We need to get this right. And now.

This election, and the leader that emerges must be a catalyst for enabling innovation to move faster, deeper and with more financial investments to keep America competitively strong but also to continue to drive the next generation of innovations that enable not just the US economy but the world economy. America has contributed much to the world as far as innovation and tech innovations have transformed business, society and the marketplace.

A deeper connection between the White House and the private sector, regardless who is elected will mean a more viable future for America and the world economy. We must invest deeper in the Innovation Economy to spur on the next stage of prosperity and invention. Immense challenges such as climate change, security, energy shortages, health care access are global challenges not just challenges for America. Without deep investments in advanced next generation technologies: neuro, nano, info, bio, quantum and robotics we will miss a historic opportunity to shape a better future.

By 2025 the global innovation economy will be driver of prosperity, peace and progress on the planet. Technologies such as quantum computing, geoengineering, data science, molecular manufacturing, real time anywhere networks, neuroengineering will transform the global economy–if our leaders invest smartly in the future.

Governance is not just about law and politics. It’s about investing in the future. The next President needs to have a deep understanding of how productivity, peace and progress will be enabled by–the Innovation Economy. Invest now for our future and the future of the planet.

Beyond Politics: The Future of America

Posted by Dr. James Canton on August 31, 2012 under Uncategorized | Be the First to Comment

The passionate forces on both political sides seem to have lost touch with the Big Challenge facing America–the future of America. Getting beyond the politics, both right and left, conservative and liberal is mission essential if America is going to chart a new course into the future. The Big Challenge is about sustainability, global competitiveness and innovation. This is what will drive the economy forward and yes create jobs and dare I say it, wealth.

Wealth, or the desire for improving ones well being, not just financial but the opportunity to have a sustainable job, smart schools for our kids, colleges that are affordable and relevant for the future is what authentic wealth is. Wealth is not about money alone but the quality of life that enables your life to have freedom, security and a chance to better yourself. This is why America has been a magnet for immigration for its short but vibrant history. Kill the wealth creating culture that brings up the poor into the middle class or even the middle class to greater wealth and you kill American culture. Wealth is fundamental to America. Ask any second generation citizen and he or she will tell you.

The future of America is on the line. Not because one or the other candidates are opposed to meeting this challenge but because they seem to both have lost sight of what this means. What America needs are leaders that embrace visions for America that make a better America and are realistic tactics to go after transforming education, health care, jobs and the economy.

This election is like most, a battle over ideas and ideology. But getting beyond the politics, both winners and losers must have a common objective–how to join together to improve America’s future. This will require a new narrative and a smart leader to champion. America’s future will not be transformed if the political acrimony prevails as the norm.

Enlightened leaders, from both political sides of the game must evolve to a new level of collaboration. America’s challenges are too heavy for one party, one President or one Congress to solve without a bigger collaboration of all.

Finally, my vote will be for free enterprise, free markets and innovation. Innovation is what America has given the world. From inventors like Ford to Einstein to Steve Jobs. Tech innovations have been a key driver of the American economy and tech innovations like Twitter, Apple and Google have driven entrepreneurs and freedom throughout the world. Our next President should be the Innovation President. Tomorrow’s innovations-Nanotech, Neurotech, Quantum tech, Infotech, Robotictech, Biotech–will change the world and America for the better. Innovation is beyond politics and will drive a better future of America.

IBM’s Watson Challenge: Future Computing

Posted by Dr. James Canton on November 18, 2011 under Uncategorized | Be the First to Comment

My friends at IBM research invited me and small group to the latest Watson Challenge at UC Berkeley and Stanford this week. I had a deep dive into the computing technology behind Watson and it was a exceptional.

Watson, named for the founder of IBM, was the computer that beat the World chess champ and recently became the winner over the humans on Jeopardy. Now Wellpoint the health care provider to 60,000 patients wants to hire Watson to do decision analysis.

I know what your thinking–HAL from 2001, the Matrix and Terminator’s Skynet cannot be far off. If we have Angry Birds will we have Angry Computers? This is a fair question. Luddites don’t unite just yet. There are legitimate concerns about supercomputers running our world in ways that humans do not approve of where humans are oppressed by computers. We are not there yet.

What the folks at IBM do get credit for is experimenting with inventing new ways to intelligently use data and computing to maybe, just maybe make the planet and our future a better place. Other then just making a commercial product they are making a profound contribution to computing technology but also are doing some Big Thinking about how we can use computers in health care, security, transportation and safety to better meet grand planetary challenges.

For this I give them lots of credit, willing to think big and apply computing to larger more holistic frameworks. If we are going to face the big challenges of our day and the future, Watson and computers and AI’s like Watson, who become, even evolve into true thinking machines with IDH Intelligence Different then Humans will make the difference.

Watson is a learning computer operating at 80 terabytes of power and 15 terabytes of memory. What makes Watson interesting is not the techno data but the combination of machine learning, natural language processing and reasoning programming. Watson is the beginning of a new more powerful era of thinking machines.

Is Watson a true AI, an artificial intelligence I asked the IBM team, is “he” capable do you think one day of self-awareness? maybe even consciousness? They don’t think Watson now or in the future will achieve self-awareness and after the deep dive into the technology behind Watson I agree.

AI, once known as the fifth generation of computing project ran into many barriers over the past 30 year of computing. Theoretically AI, thinking machines are possible and likely but not based on the still rudimentary computer tools we have today.

What future does Watson point to? Intuitive computing based on nanoscience-based computer chips, software that is genetic-inspired, Cloud Computing networks, quantum information systems and synthetic biology when mashed up will offer new hardware, software and computing ontologies that will transform the future of computing.

So real AI, that can advise us and invent new solutions for a planet in conflict dealing with poverty, explosive population, war, climate change and business requires a new computing model well beyond where we can can envision today. Are we there yet? No but we are on the way.

The exploration of evolutionary biology, as a computing platform is a direction I am interesting in exploring. Computers that use GA and GP, genetic programming and algo’s may hold the key to future computers.
Computing that is based on network cloud deployed anywhere AI, cloud based intelligence, with a personality, now that is coming.

If we are really going to make a better world we need next gen tools like Watson to help us get there. When Watson builds the next Watson then we will perhaps discover a new generation of post-human computing, built by computers that can help the humans figure this all out.
Stay tuned.

Steve Jobs’s Innovation Leadership at Apple: My Lessons Learned

Posted by Dr. James Canton on August 25, 2011 under Uncategorized | Be the First to Comment

Steve Jobs is leaving Apple in great shape. His is exiting as CEO to retain the chairman position but leaves behind a innovation leadership legacy that is transformational. There is no leader in modern times that was more innovative, that broke more rules and invented more things that have transformed our world.

I worked at Apple headquarters in Silicon Valley in 1984 and was part of the team that launched the Macintosh computer. I worked in business strategy, strategic planning and managed global business markets, verticals like medicine were my passion and focus. I gave the first Mac’s to doctors and the National Institutes for Health for doing medical research on finding cures for kidney disease.

These were heady times. We knew we were igniting a revolution in how people used computing, information and culture. The Mac challenged that very idea of what a computer could be. Steve first evangelized the Mac to us, the employees well before he sold the world.

Lesson #1 Every Leader Must Be the Chief Evangelist
You have to sell the Big Vision first to your employees. If they don’t get it then customer will never. This seems obvious but too many leaders today have the right financial chops or seniority or even board support but don’t embody this lesson. Steve invented it.

Days before the Mac launch we sent around pictures of a Swiss Army knife, challenging ourselves that Mac was something else, not just a computer but a lifestyle appliance. Steve challenged us to think about the Mac as more then just a technology–it was a innovation in culture, lifestyle and learning.

Lesson #2 Think Different To Differentiate Your Company or Product

Steve was all about being innovative in marketing, product features, design, packaging, purpose—he knew that thinking differently was the key to differentiating Apple from the crowd of MeTo companies.

When we launched the Mac to the media and analysts we put a Mac in every room, with no manual. Other computers, like IBM came with huge manuals on how to operate. When the analysts came into their rooms we expected and they did touch the computer. The Mac would turn on and they would hear from the computer HELLO. This blew their mind. Steve was always blowing our minds with innovation ideas.
Lesson #3 Take Smart Risks, Fail Fast and Don’t Give Up
People forget that Apple tried and failed at many things before succeeding. You learn more from mistakes then successes. Edison’s light bulb took 40,000 mistakes to get it right. Before the Mac computer the Lisa failed. Apple had a run at a at an early iPad called Newton, it did not make it. Taking risks and persevering is important.

Lesson #4 Enjoy the Journey

We all are here on the planet for a limited window. Make the most of it.
Steve would remind us all that you have to enjoy the journey. Or don’t do it. He challenged us all to make a commitment to ourselves to do something big, important and meaningful. These lessons are as true today as in 1984.

Lesson #5 Invent the Future

This is the big one. Being bold, being future-ready, this is what life and business is all about. If your going to invent the future you have to be willing to brake rules, take risks, make mistakes but most important–Think Big Ideas. Selling your big idea your innovation is what every leader needs to do everyday. Steve was and is a fearless leader who invented the future: Mac, iPod, iPad, ITunes, Apple TV, the mouse… and a software interface that everyone has adopted for 20 years.

We wish Steve well in his next chapter and thank him for the lessons learned. I know his next innovations he will inspire at Apple will continue to touch us all.

Futurology Event in Jakarta

Posted by Dr. James Canton on July 29, 2011 under Uncategorized | Be the First to Comment

Interesting observations from Jakarta where I am presenting at the Futurology conference. My thesis is that advanced exponential tech innovations, S&T, nano-bio-neuro-IT-quantum are some of the prime tools to use to feed, provide health care, energy, manage climate for the 8 plus billion people coming soon on the planet. We can’t get there from here without new investments in S&T.

NeuroScience Futures and the Manufacture of Desire

Posted by Dr. James Canton on April 23, 2011 under Uncategorized | Be the First to Comment

Neuroscience is in its infancy. We are just trying to figure out where in the brain key functions, behaviors, emotions and needs are located.

Great progress has been made but much more R&D will be required to gain a objective map of the brain.

One thing to beware of is the intersection of neuroscience and privacy. Wireless fMRI, brain scanners if you will could potentially used to determine truth, honesty or even authenticity about belief or loyalty. Could this be a frightful 1984 scenario finally to come true? No doubt unless we are watching.

Neuroscience more neuromarketing will be used to not just understand and target the brain but to manufacture desire–the ultimate end game of business. This is beyond what science can do today unless you think you live in the Matrix now or advertising has already got you barking out loud.

I say that neuroscience will heal, fix and transform the aging brain, restore memories and manufacture desire to help sell more stuff to consumers. All things are possible in the Extreme Future..

In my last book I penned a scenario of the use and misuse of neurotechnology. Funny thing is like atomic energy, you cannot just have the good without the bad.

So the future of NeuroSci is also about learning about our minds, not just the biology of the brain. We will learn not just from scans but from simulations and learning how to improve and enhance learning in the 2st century.

Stay tuned