I’m in Milan at the Nesta ‘Challenge of our Era’ 2018 Global Summit where I was honored to deliver their opening keynote.
My role was to inspire innovative thinking, it was honestly one of the most rewarding speeches I’ve delivered to date, so again thank you!
As part of it, I adapted a poem I wrote a year or so ago for SXSW and I’ve been asked several times to print it and share it, so here it is. For anyone interested search twitter for the hash tag #OurEra2018 to find out more about the summit, it’s got some incredible ambitions and the call for responses is open to anyone in the world.
For now, I leave you with this:
The visions for the future excite me more than the past,
Because when it comes to innovation, the past fades fast.
I have crazy ideas and I’m proud to be a geek,
Which you’ll know if you go online and maybe read a tweet.
And maybe I’ll reply or maybe it’s my bot,
Because maybe I’m real and here, or maybe I’m not.
The future isn’t just augmented or virtual you see,
It’s set to be a blend of several realities.
And as the future keeps advancing and we become more connected,
We’ll all be liked and rated and ever more self-reflected.
Will robots steal our jobs? Will Skynet really happen?
Or is that as likely as a one-handed man clapping?
Will tech become so seamless that we won’t be able to tell,
Where I begin, you end, and the tech blends in as well…
Today we pay with fingerprints, tomorrow our voice
In the future, our faces, will this remove our choice
To have our lives in the cloud, seamlessly connected
Will we be faster, more efficient, or will our memories be neglected?
In a future where every heartbeat and every drop of sweat,
Is calculated, decoded and uploaded to the net.
When connected collars tell us when our dogs have got a fever,
Or our cats can be interpreted through intelligent receivers.
When AI Armani jeans tell guys ‘you’re flying low’,
Your Valentino clothing knows you’re stressed from head to toe.
Your Maserati, or Romeo, isn’t just autonomous but flies,
In highways constructed over Milan in the Sky.
In the future are we dumb? Just run by automation…
Or are we elite and empowered an unstoppable ‘one nation’?
In OUR future we WILL stand beside robots that are intelligent,
But furthermore, we face a future that goes beyond this and is sentient.
There will be competition, co-petition, ambition, and decision
But convergence and empowerment will come to fruition.
If biology is programmable and we can program 3D printing,
Will we solve poverty and hunger, now that got me thinking…
If a world built on noughts and ones merges with atoms,
Does that provide a world that you and I can barely fathom?
If we can put interfaces into brains and quadriplegics can move cursors,
Will we enhance that human life, is the advance in science worth it?
There are so many things that today we do not know,
But if we supercharge our neurons there’s nowhere a brain can’t go.
Whether this presentation makes you doubt, smile or wonder,
There is one thing for sure that we should collectively ponder;
How can innovation be a force for positivity and help us prosper?
How can it bring us closer so that great ideas are fostered?
To quote Einstein ‘it’s obvious it’s exceeded humanity’
And he’s been dead for decades so it’s pretty clear to see,
That the trajectory we’re on isn’t slowing down,
And in fact, with quantum computing, we can go to town.
I for one would rather be in the driving seat,
Amongst you crazy bunch of awesome innovators and geeks.
For the ONE thing about the future that we should ALL be aware
Is love it question it, WE are ALL going there …
And we can choose to lead or we can choose to follow
So I say, let’s grab the future by the balls and go invent tomorrow!!!