An excellent video presentation by Nichol Bradford – The Faster Train: A Vision for Transtech in 2019 and Beyond
Transcript of Nichol’s talk :
Welcome everybody to the start of the 2019 Transformative Technology conference. And it is my absolute dear, wonderful pleasure to have you here for our annual gathering. And so what we do at this tent pole event is it’s the place where we come together, where we get on the same page where I will share with you what I’ve seen over the last year in talking to thousands of entrepreneurs as well as corporates and governments around the world about how they’re thinking about human wellbeing and happiness. And so I’m going to take you through what I call the faster train. And so it’s an overview of transformative technology, a vision for the future. We’re going to go through a deck that is my current lens on how I’m seeing things and many of you I’ve interacted with in different places. So we have a lot of new people here.
This year we expanded our audience dramatically over the year or our tribe really over the year. So some of you might’ve seen some of these things over the last year, but many of you have not. Then I’m going to go into things I’ve never really talked to people about. Some of the trends and the elements that I think are going to be what you’ll see in the next generation of products. I’ll give you a little bit of an update on what we’ve accomplished together in the last year. And so that is our overview for the day. Uh, and then I’m going to tell you sort of like how we’re flowing through the day and why we’ve chosen what we’ve chosen. Um, is everybody okay with that? All right. Okay. So the faster train a vision for transformative tech. And so I call this section the future citizen because a lot of times when you hear people talk about the things that are happening in the world, they really almost always start with just what the problems are. And so what I wanted to do for you, as we sort of collectively envision what we might build together, I wanted to give you a vision of what the world might look like upon our collective success.
And so the future citizen is really about what is the world going to look like with life and with work and with the possibilities that we have, as you know, are, you’ve seen it all, all our website we talk, we call transformative technology as being about the future of human possibility. And so the net of it is, is everywhere people are struggling. If you look at the data on social, emotional and mental and emotional health around the world, there’s a real problem. People are struggling mentally and emotionally everywhere. And so for a future citizen, a future citizen would have these tools preventatively taught CBT, meditation, boundary set, setting, conflict resolution. And so when they have an issue, they have what they need in the Palm of their hand or technology that actually connects them with their friends and their social network. Um, their support system or maybe even the walls and the city that they live in rises up to support them when they have a need. Because the future citizen will be equipped to get past life’s challenges in order to live fully.
And you guys have heard me talk about this a lot. It’s really a big part of our themes in that with the rise of automation in the future of work, everyone, most of the stats are about the first line, how many jobs lost. The really important one is the second one. And that’s actually the number of tasks inside of each job that get automated. And so all of the tasks that are left are the tasks that are related to human interaction. These are the top 10 skills for 2020 according to the world economic forum. And if you look at these skills and you read this list, you will notice very quickly that almost all of these are about how humans treat and interact with one another, right?
And so the future citizen I believe is going to be a master of emotional intelligence, social fluency, cognitive adaptability, self awareness and communication. And I also really believe that we are going to understand group flow and we will at some point be able to in groups go into group flow on demand. And I think when we’re able to do this, it’s going to transform our companies, our communities, our teams, our families. And so the future citizen will be able to do this. Yes, that’s what she does. And the other thing is that we’re incredibly creative, incredibly curious. We’re driven to explore and I thought this was really interesting, bill Gates and you guys have seen this quote before when asked about automation so that he was more worried about the purpose problem. And so if you think about our technology and how quickly it’s advancing and you think about what that means, if we don’t also have purpose, then this becomes really clear the scope and scale of this problem.
And one of the things that you’ll note when you talk to the academics who focus on this as well as people who are just in community, there is a tie between purpose meaning and psychological and mental and emotional health. And so I believe that the future citizen is going to have superpower cognitive skills, super human interaction skills. They’re going to have a super level of self awareness so that they can define and approach what their purpose at that time might be. And I believe it’s going to make us more humane and more human, not less. That’s a design decision. But today this vision seems very, very far away.
We have an acceleration of tech that seems absolutely out of control. If you read the headlines, absolutely out of control, lots of disconnection.
We have global crisis that seem absolutely overwhelming – climate – the fires here, climate change and just economics overwhelming. And so what I believe is the fundamental problem is that all of our tech is on exponential curves. Our crises are on exponential curves, but human growth and development, how we become is still linear and analog.
And if you think about the demand for human interaction skills and all of these things about becoming human and the way that we teach them today, which is primarily by luck because we expect people to pick it up from the culture, which means you have to have the right family, the right mentor, be in the right school to get this. This is a very big problem because nothing changes until you change human minds. Nothing. And so I believe that the fundamental issue is that we actually a crisis in consciousness and that crisis is that we don’t know how to be and we don’t know how to feel and we don’t know how to become.
And so we are drift. We feel adrift. And it’s kind of amazing because if you actually think about several measurable outcomes, human life is actually better than it has ever been. There are more girls in school, there are more electricity like for like several measurable things. Human life is better than it has ever been, but we don’t feel that way. And I believe it’s because of the crisis in consciousness. And so what transformative tech is about is building the technology that we really actually need. The technology that helps us become more human and not less. And we at the very minimum should know ourselves better than the ad sellers do. Like if you knew yourself as well as Facebook did, you would know yourself really well.
And so in order to answer the fundamental question, who am I? Which is tied to purpose, which is how we deal with the technology and make it serve us is I think comprised of these three questions. Well your body says what your behaviour says and who you think you are. And so the technologies that you’re going to see today, number one and number two, it’s pretty good. Now the analytics and interpretation have to catch up. But capturing this is actually quite doable. And the next generation that you’re going to see, I believe fairly shortly is you know, getting closer to the who you think you are. And so we are known, we are knowable and we are becoming known. And so usually this is the part of the presentation that people feel a little resistance inside, a little tightening. And so this is the, uh, one of the examples that I’ve come up with to approach it is that babies are born with vocal courts, but they’re not born speaking English or Spanish or German or Chinese. They learn that.
And so we’re born with emotions, but we were not born with emotional fluency. The ability to understand how to be, how to feel, how to become, we have to learn all that. And so utilizing technology to facilitate this is a very good and noble use of this power. So we did this and we did this and we did this. That’s CRISPR doesn’t look exactly like that, but that’s CRISPR. But we have never applied our collective genius to expanding our hearts. Right? Like exactly. Exactly. And so this is the landscape for transformative technology. And you know, on one side we have mental and emotional wellbeing covers these areas. We have 21st century flourishing that is very tied to the future of work, but it’s also about the future of life. And we have human potential and performance. And you guys, all of you who have been in the community for a while, you’ve seen this language evolve.
I think probably one of the most important things to note is that, and sometimes when people look at this, they think it’s really, um, think it’s broad, but it’s actually the same thing. And the reason why it’s the same thing is that when you pick up one side of the spectrum in terms of creating a tool, you actually in a way pick up the other side because the technology is all the same. The AI and the sensors, it’s all the same. What’s different is the passion of the entrepreneur or the innovator, the problem that they’ve set out to solve the input, the point of intervention, that’s what changes. But the technology is the same. In addition, all of this really runs across the brain mind, body access and how that’s all connected. And so it is in fact the same thing. So for those of you who are working and focused and passionate about expanding our cognitive abilities, you’re also working on mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s why we’re in community so that you can share what you’ve learned with people who are working on a different market, right? And if you’re working on depression or you know, a mental and emotional wellbeing, you’re actually working also on expanding the potential and capacity of all humanity. It’s all the same thing. And so this is our premise that the future of work society and technology actually depends on the state of the human mind and this question, how do we together support every human in expanding their mental and emotional capacity, reaching their potential? How do we do this?
So many points, so many ways on the technology side as you walk around the building, see the exhibitors, listen to the talks, you’re going to see so many ways to get at this. I think the most important thing is the litany of excuses is over and that’s really exciting. The resource constraint, the reason why people say that not everyone gets to have a Montessori education is because we don’t have enough teachers, but if you amplified the ones that we had, maybe we do right? Or the people saying that it’s not important enough where it’s not relevant enough. When you compare it to, you know, this education or that education, it actually is incredibly important and it’s very relevant and culturally people are accepting it. You know, as a tailwind example, meditation is the fastest growing wellness activity in the United States. And that’s only one place and it’s only one example. But culture is changing because around the world people are realizing that one, they want to be happy too. That we have a challenge, that we have a problem, that these things are rising and it’s actionable need demanded means have finally come together.
This means that we can do something. You have to have all three to make a market. And so we actually finally have all three. And so I think what’s tremendously exciting about this is the ability of technology to support us in doing this. Because imagine a world where the [inaudible] future citizens all have that get off the planet. No problem. Solve our climate problems, no problem. Finally address poverty. No problem, right? Because, and the reason why this is incredibly important is that until we answer the question individually, who am I? You cannot contribute to the question, who are we?
And humanity very, very much needs to answer this question. So I call it the faster train we must get on the faster train. And the faster train means that we develop as humans faster than our technology and faster than our crisis. And that is really the mission underneath this community that we can facilitate this in all the ways because the goal is to elevate 2 billion people to flourishing. Now that’s not just me, that’s all of us. And the footprint of all of your products aggregate it. It’s all of the corporations that are in our network. It’s the countries that are coming into our network, all of us together. And this number is actually based on a U Penn study of what percentage of an online population is required to start a revolution. It’s about 25%.
So what this means is that this much smaller number than the world population in 2050, uh, is actually all it takes to create this world for the future citizens. So here’s who you are. This is what you are a part of. You are a part of the largest global ecosystem of entrepreneurs and innovators who are working to this end. And these are all of the ways that we do it. A little bit of a difference between this year and last year just to give you some tracking. So last year there were 750 people here. This year there’s going to be a thousand between the two days. Um, our Academy, we did it for the second time. Uh, we are through the Academy in over 72 countries and 450 cities. There are entrepreneurs and innovators. There are people who either are making these technologies or want to all over the world. We did four summits, I mean three summits.
We have a, another one that we’re going to do in Singapore, uh, where we did small groups to really like deepened community and really fundamentally understand problems. So the European one was with Deloitte and we did future of work with corporates in Europe. Uh, we did a wonderful one, uh, with mistletoe in Japan on a future human flourishing. Uh, we did one here with evolve with second time founders on, um, it was called elevate humanity. Uh, we have over 15 city chapters. Uh, we have 15 chapters, but we got applications from 51 cities, but we wanted to learn what it would take to actually truly support, um, people. The reason why we the city chapters is that statistically, um, entrepreneurs and innovators succeed more when they’re embedded in a community of likeminded people. So that’s why we did this. It wasn’t because we’re like, Oh, we want to have chapters all over the world.
It was a deliberate decision to support people so we could facilitate this. And then we’re going to be doing a lot of publishing. Uh, we’ve been working the last half year on really amazing reports, which you’ll see. Um, Gary Moon is going from influence partners who’s right behind me is going to show you our first investment banking report. Uh, we have another one with Deloitte on the future of work and then we have another one that we’re doing with joy ventures, which shows the connection between, from science to product and it actually like shows what’s happening on the research side. So a couple of thoughts based on what I’ve seen and what you’ll see going forward. A couple of things to think about. I call it threat and pearls. The goal of the technology, it’s like you either are the, your, you can be the thread or you can be the Pearl.
And what that means is that we don’t have to replace humans. The technology can connect people to the Pearl, to that deeply human experience and be the thing that gets them ready for the moment. And the thing that helps them with integration or sometimes humanity can be the thread and some very, you know, unique and powerful experience. Like, um, you’ll hear a little bit later from ed Boyden on, um, a non-invasive deep brain stimulation. So it’s just sort of like think it’s like pearls and thread together humanity and technology strung together. So be very flexible in how you think about which piece you have. You can do both. You could do either, but it doesn’t mean replacing humans go into the background or the foreground. So what I think is going to happen is, and what this means is that what you’re going to see in some of the examples is companies that are coming out of their clinical studies and their, uh, their trials slaying it.
They all have humans in the, many of them have humans in the process. Uh, so you’ll see here a little bit later today from feel, which is using a bracelet, uh, tied to cognitive behavioural therapy. And their results are fantastic because it’s the human therapist given super powers by technology and the human patient getting feedback that gives context to their relationship, the human and what they’re learning from the human. And so what I think we’ll see is it’s like you’ll have humans in the foreground supported by technology. And then if, if a human is not included when it comes to choice and change, then you need to take your products into the background meaning, um, that meaning that it just sort of happens. I sign up for it and it just sort of happens. Right now there’s a lot of very high friction things where there’s not a human and there’s a lot of friction.
And so my recommendation is to see what ways in your products you can push to one side or the other, amplify humans or make it as frictionless as possible, which then means you need to get into things around. Um, you need to get into things around cadence of consent for ethics. So we’re going to have, um, we have about five hours of ethics here, which we do every year cause it’s very important, uh, because some things in the background I need to be able to rap and know that I have signal blending. You know, at the very beginning of this, when Jeffrey and I started all of this, um, the people were doing very discreet signals, you know, just HRV or just GSR. Where you’re going to see is blending of signals where people are taking more than one signal, take the loudest one and allow it to loop, move around and also platform blending.
You know, it’s like allowing things to blend together. And I’ll give you another example of that. Um, the other thing is gamification and games. Usually when people think about games and they say the word gamification, they’re talking about ladders and leader boards. And so most of you know that I have a background in games, big games, world of Warcraft. And so what big games actually are is it actually is exploration, community play and narrative. And the reason why it’s worth thinking about that is that people don’t change until they change the story about themselves. And that is why I think the products that have humans in the loop are doing so well is because the place where we changed the story about ourselves as and when we see ourselves mirrored by another human being. Right. So this is one of the reasons why you should be thinking about games.
I don’t think that it is, or learning from games. Let me rephrase that. And I’m not talking about, you know, putting, you know, high score and stuff like that on your things. I’m not talking about that. It’s, it’s going deeper into what a game is because this is a, an Overwatch final. One of the things that’s happening in e-sport is that the gender ratio of people who are watching a sports, it’s almost half female. Like it’s rising, shocking compared to other platforms and people who don’t play are watching. So what this means is that there is a chill went here. There’s something that’s happening here. So when you think about your products, think about narrative play, exploration community. If you really want people to change. So this is our lens. These are our themes. This is what you’re going to see and hear over the next two days.
Uh, this morning you’re going to hear about business, and the visions and shaping things to help you think about the market. Then after that we’re going to talk about spaces and places and you’re going to be able to think about the built environment. We spent 90% of our time in doors, but we don’t actually use it for cognition and wellbeing, but we could. So you’re going to hear about that. Then after that, you’re going to get some deep neurotech really hear about what’s happening in the brain, see examples. Then we’re going to go into the future of work. And you’re going to see and hear what enterprise is doing and what they’re wanting. And the reason why, one of the reasons why the corporates are so important is that if you think about our number, our 2 billion people, that we’re going to reach the places where many of those people are at is they’re in companies, they’re in governments, they’re in cities, they’re in schools, they’re in places that require technologies, that can interface with them on an airport, on an enterprise level. So very, very important. And then we’re going to go into leadership and the Pitchfest for the transformative technology Academy, 2019. So that is our journey today. And I think that you’re going to finish the lesson these next two days, feeling like we can create an unprecedented era of human flourishing. I believe this. I believe it’s so much, and you know, I think this is our breakout year. This is the year where not only will we believe, but you’re going to see the rest of the world coming along. And that’s it. Thank you.