The economics of artificial intelligence

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Rotman School of Management professor Ajay Agrawal explains how AI changes the cost of prediction and what this means for business.

With so many perspectives on the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) flooding the business press, it’s becoming increasingly rare to find one that’s truly original. So when strategy professor Ajay Agrawal shared his brilliantly simple view on AI, we stood up and took notice. Agrawal, who teaches at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management and works with AI start-ups at the Creative Destruction Lab (which he founded), posits that AI serves a single, but potentially transformative, economic purpose: it significantly lowers the cost of prediction.

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What do mega-trends mean for schooling?

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Greg Whitby:  I had the pleasure of speaking at the 2017 Edutech conference in Sydney recently. The conference is a ‘finger on the pulse’ on what is happening in schooling and the trends that are shaping the educational landscape.

Interesting isn’t it that we live at a time where we have moved on from talking about trends and data to ‘mega-trends’ and ‘big-data’. Connectivity, scaleability and mobility have been massive game-changers in that we no longer see business dictating trends. Instead we have technology delivering greater power to clients, customers and learners.

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Will My Future Self Be Disappointed in the Decisions I’m Making Today? – Excerpts from “Epiphany Z”

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On January 10, 2017, my new book, “Epiphany Z – Eight Radical Visions for Transforming Your Future was officially released in bookstores all around the world. Here are a few excerpts from the book where I discuss the concept of “future self.”

Being a Futurist is far more than just making predictions. It involves digging deep into the nature of humanity to better understand who we are and why we do the things that we do.

So what kind of relationship do you have with your future self?

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The Perfection Quandary

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Futurist Thomas Frey:  I often wake up in the middle of the night with a big idea, something I’ve dubbed the grand epiphany. But as it turns out, very few actually fit into the “grand” category.

Whenever they do, big ideas carries with them a heavy responsibility, the responsibility of either moving them forward or allowing them to die in the silent echo chambers of our own grey matter.

For this reason, I’ve often equated my eureka moments to that of being tortured by my own ideas. Yes, grand ideas are a wonderful playground where you can dream about starting a new company, solving some of the world’s biggest problems, and constructing visions of wealth and influence, all in the time it takes most people to get ready for work.

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The Future of the Darknet: 9 Critically Important Predictions

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Futurist Thomas Frey:  Have you ever run across a situation so frustrating that you wished you could hire a “fixer?”

Maybe it has to do with gangs moving into your neighborhood, or the local slumlord not willing to repair a dangerous situation, or a local politician taking bribes, or finding out that your husband is also married to someone else in another state.

My guess is that we’ve all run into problems that are outside of our ability to deal with and we need help. But the help we need is not the normal kind. We don’t have millions to throw at lawyers and we don’t have the time, patience, or resources to go though official channels.   Continue reading… “The Future of the Darknet: 9 Critically Important Predictions”

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Teaching Robots to Fight Wars

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Futurist Thomas Frey:  A robot does not kill someone out of fear, anger, or desperation. They kill because someone told them to do it. At least that the way it works with our current generation of robots. What comes next may be a different story.

Normally, when we think about war, it has to do with countries using their armies to fight other countries, or in the case of a civil war, countries torn apart by internal rival factions.

But that line of thinking is far too narrow for the conflicts in our future as our choice of weaponry and choice of battlefront continues to expand.

From my perspective, the traditional country vs. country war tends to be far more about political theater, a theater that plays out on the world stage in full view of the public, than the subversive battles being fought over countless levels of minutia in the background.

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Future of the Internet – 8 Expanding Dimensions

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Futurist Thomas Frey:  In March of 1989 when Tim Berners-Lee wrote the first online message that would eventually lead to the World Wide Web, it was similar to the first car leaving an inventor’s workshop.

The highway system for cars started on horse and buggy trails and the Internet was born on switching networks designed for telephones. With roads turning into sophisticated highways and phone lines morphing into fiber and wireless networks, we begin to get a sense as to where we’ve come from.

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Will Coworking Replace Colleges?

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Futurist Tom Frey:  When I first brought up the idea of coworking taking over colleges, it seemed like an absurd notion. But there is a secret reason that very few people are grasping.

At first glance, the highly structured ivory towers of academia seem to be on the opposite end of the spectrum from the unstructured anything-goes world of coworking. But the more I thought about it, it seems inevitable that the two are on a collision course.

In fact, it’s already happening, but not in the ways you may imagine.

NOTE:  Anyone interested in learning to code, DaVinci Coders offers multiple courses designed to get you into the rapidly growing technology industry.  For more info please visit davincicoders.com.

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The Coming of “Peak Car”

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Futurist Thomas Frey:  In what year will the number of cars in the world reach its peak and auto sales overall begin to decline?

For most, it may be surprising to realize we’re already there in the U.S. Growing data shows many wealthy economies have already hit “peak car,” a point of market saturation characterized by an unprecedented deceleration in the growth of car ownership, total miles driven, and annual sales.

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