Talk Title: Partners in Time: The Ongoing Coevolution of Humanity and Technology
Abstract: For three and a half million years, we human beings and our ancestors have been in an increasingly interdependent relationship with the physical and cultural tools we create. This union has altered and transformed our species, even as it has done the same for our technologies. As we enter the third decade of the twenty-first century, it is safe to say, that neither humanity nor technology would be where we are without the other.
As this biological-technological feedback loop has accelerated, we’ve seen technology becoming more intimately connected to our daily lives, our bodies and even our minds. However, while our tools have traditionally been developed to serve us and to make many of our lives easier, this seems to have become less the case in recent times. More and more, it seems that a new technology is developed simply because it serves narrow and artificial values. We find our motives manipulated to best serve the impersonal global marketplace and our behaviors algorithmically modified for purposes that are less than human-centric. How will our world and our species be changed over the coming decades if these trends continue unabated? What can we do to restore health and balance to this relationship that has delivered us so far, so quickly, to where we are today?
Richard Yonck is a futurist with Intelligent Future Consulting in Seattle, where he is an advisor to businesses and organizations about emerging trends and future developments. An avid writer and thought leader, Richard’s new book, Future Minds (Arcade Publishing/Simon & Schuster, 2020) explores the nature of intelligence and how our world is rapidly becoming more and differently intelligent. His previous book, Heart of the Machine: Our Future in a World of Artificial Emotional Intelligence (2017) looks at the future of the emerging technologies making it possible for computers and robots to read, interpret, and even influence human emotions. Now in its second edition, it is required reading at several universities in the U.S. and around the world. As an international keynote speaker, Richard explores developing trends in emerging technologies including artificial intelligence, healthcare, biotechnology and genetics, transportation, robotics, and more. Richard guides audiences in understanding many of the key considerations and societal ramifications of these advances in order to help identify and work toward a preferred future. Richard advises clients ranging from Global Fortune 500 companies such as Amazon, Samsung, and Xerox to industry associations and organizations including TIAA, American Cancer Society and state education boards. He believes that strategic foresight and futures planning can serve everyone and is an impassioned advocate about the many benefits of futures thinking. Richard is formerly the computing and AI contributing editor for the long-running magazine, The Futurist and has been published by and quoted in the New York Times, Scientific American, Forbes, Fast Company, Psychology Today, Wired, World Future Review, BBC News, Salon, Sports Illustrated, Singularity Hub, H+ Magazine, Investor’s Business Daily and many others. A member of the Association of Professional Futurists and the National Association of Science Writers, Richard is also a TED speaker.