The CIO Role: Tech Trends and Investment Planning - CXOTalk #703

The CIO Role: Tech Trends and Investment Planning - CXOTalk #703

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Amy Webb of the Future Today Institute  explains her tech trends report and the   implications for chief information officers. We've built a system that is somewhat heuristic   and somewhat relies on NLP and AI that allows  us to go very, very broad. We do this in a very   methodical way. We start with 11 macro forces  where we see most change emanating because no   one entity has total control. But we are doing all  kinds of scraping and pattern recognition and just   trying to figure out what is blipping up. What I see happening too often,  

especially with CISOs and CIOs, is that  you get tunnel focus or tunnel vision,   which I totally understand. It's been a rough  18 months. There's been a lot of uncertainty.  You are the unsung heroes that never get  the thanks that you deserve. Let's face it,   none of the working from home would have happened  without you. But I totally get it. You're under   this pressure to make decisions fast, to prevent  the next solar winds, to do all of these things. 

What winds up happening is all the stuff  that's happening on the periphery, which   may not have an impact on you in the next 12  months but could totally shape your future   in the next 3 to 5 years, you put off. And  so, what I think is that if in (at least   in one moment in time) we have  everything in one spot so that you can   look across all of the different trends,  it will help change your perspective.  Being able to have a re-perception of the signals  that exist is really important for you going   forward. We wound up with over a thousand weak and  strong signals that we had to do something with.  Amy, when you talk about weak and  strong signals, what do you mean?  These are indications that change is afoot.  A weak signal would be an example of a new   technology. Maybe it's a one-off. You don't  see any other partners like it in the field.  I would say, a couple of years ago, sleep  tech would have been a weak signal. There  

were a couple of players messing around  with ways to optimize your sleep.  That is a trend now. It met the right criteria.  We saw enough movement in the marketplace. We can   calculate the trajectory of it. Typically,  it begins as sort of blips on the fringe,   one-offs, seaming outliers. Strong signals are more mature.   There are more examples. There's more data or  it's a big, obvious, "Hey, look at this thing."  They alone don't tell us what  the future looks like, but   if they meet certain criteria and we  determine that they are trends that   are likely to take some shape over time, then  we start tracking them much more seriously. 

Essentially, you're looking at  the prevalence of technology:   what's being used, what are the products that  are out there, the uptake, things like that.  Well, it's not just products. There  were so many signals this year,   we wound up with more than 500 trends, which  we did not do just for fun. It was hell   trying to put this thing together. We actually  split the report into 12 separate volumes  

and then published an additional volume  that shows everybody how we did the work.  The AI volume of the report doesn't really  talk about AI products as much as it does the   underlying factors. We're trying to get  to primary source change. This would be   research that we see changing how  things work or significant shifts   in the workforce, things like that. What did you come across as being   most important that we need to be aware of?  What are some of the ones that we should be   aware of that maybe we're not aware of? There are 12 volumes. They each cover   a different set of themes and topics. I think, in the AI volume, one thing that  

really took me by surprise – my team and I all  research different areas, so AI is an area that   I cover. I came across some really interesting  research showing the number of people enrolling   in one of Stanford's most popular NLP classes.  It's like 10x. The numbers shot way up.  But then I looked at the number of papers that  were accepted over the past three years at   NeurIPS, which used to be called NIPS  (for people who are in the know),   which is the big, huge annual conference on AI  that attracts top talent. If you're a researcher,   you want to get your paper accepted here. Here's what's interesting. The number of people  

coming out of arguably one of the best programs  in the United States, the number of enrollees,   people coming out is super high. But the  number of papers accepted at this conference   is indexing high in China. Meaning, we've got  way more people coming out of our system but,   as a percentage overall, way fewer papers. To me, that's a pretty interesting,   strong signal because what happens  in papers becomes what happens in   products and elsewhere. To me, that was just a  really, really interesting change in dynamics.  I would say, in the new realities volume, AR and  VR get both conflated, which is wrong because   they're completely different technologies, and  they hog the spotlight. There's actually a whole  

bunch of other types of realities that are far  more impactful in some ways and more interesting.  There's something called diminished reality.  Michael, you probably are already familiar   with it. It's noise-canceling headphones, right? That same technology is coming to physical spaces.  

Instead of noise-canceling headphones. Imagine  a noise-canceling window with that technology   built in. That totally changes our urban  landscapes, our soundscapes, things like that.  Then there's assistive technology, so it's  kind of a bridge. I think, especially for  

those in the enterprise, everybody is drastically  underestimating how much of an impact assistive   glasses are going to have on everyday life. These are glasses, just like what I'm wearing,   that have some AR functionality, but  they're more assistive in nature,   meaning they've got both audio and visual.  They provide you with information to help you   move throughout your day. They do lots of  other things like take your health information.  

Things like that, I think, are interesting. There's also prescription-strength gaming. Last   summer, the FDA approved a video game that you  have to have a prescription in order to play. It's   actually not the only one. That signals a shift. We have a whole volume on health that's really  

interesting. I think we've seen a lot, over the  past 12 months, that indicates sharply different   paths forward now in health and health tech. Amy, there are all of these technologies   and signals that you and your team have covered  really extensively. As someone in the enterprise,   how should we relate to this? It's so confusing,  right? We have to place our bets and make our   investments. There are millions of dollars  at stake, potentially, so what do we do?  Yes, I'm aware of that because we are oftentimes  the people helping some of these organizations   make those decisions. I understand that many of  you are really focused on what I would consider  

to be the extreme near term, so the next year  or two years, but you must make your decisions   in their very near term horizon with an  eye on the mid horizon and farther horizon   because, if you don't, you have more  than just extensibility to worry about.  I think that's one of the key challenges  in these enormous corporations. You want   to place your bet on the right horse. I can give you a quick, great example.   There's a midsize – I would say – hospital system  that years ago went with an EHR (electronic health   record) system. I know that their tech team  and their CIO, there was a lot of consternation   around which one to pick because, at that point, I  think there were probably three or four different   competing systems. As all of you know, over  time, there's consolidation and basically,  

you wind up with two or three players. I think the most important thing is that   companies make these decisions based on cost,  a lot of times, which I get because technology,   if you're not in the field, feels like this  place where you can scrimp and save a little bit.   The problem, of course, is if you back the wrong  horse and you go with the cheapest company,   maybe they're not the ones that are going to put  the resources into continuing to maintain whatever   that product is. In this case, the hospital. A couple of years later, that company   closed its doors. The system that they built  wasn't easily portable into another system.  

It was super kludgy and they had two really robust  EHRs to choose from but somebody was going to have   to manually – there was no easy way to extract  all that data and port it into another one.  How do you make these decisions then in a  smarter way? Part of this is, obviously,   really tracking what's happening. I don't  think most organizations are dedicating   enough resources to really doing that. You have to look outside because if we   could get a time machine and go back three years  and say, "Hey, there's going to be a global virus,   a pandemic three years from now  that is going to be horrible,   but also is going to lead to brand new ransomware  attacks that just nobody has ever thought of   before," everybody would have been like, "Global  pandemic? New virus? Come on. Give me a break." 

You have to be prepared for these  kinds of things. Ask questions like,   "Whatever this thing is that I've just heard  about or whatever this seemingly unrelated trend,   how could this make us vulnerable? Maybe  not today, but in the near future."  "How might this make our constituents  vulnerable, our partners vulnerable?   How does this thing that I've just heard about  challenge our current thinking about our strategy   or our operations?" Then hopefully, "Where  does this create new opportunities for us?   What tangible next step would we have to  take in order to understand this thing   and all of its dimensions better?" The problem is, most companies are   not asking those questions and they're also  not looking at the kinds of new material   that would elicit those questions. We are confronted with so many different options,   so many different confusing signals (to use your  term). At the same time, to address the point you   just raised, we have a short-term time horizon  because that's how we are measured. And so, how   do we navigate this and how do we ask these kind  of questions, "Okay, where are we vulnerable?" But   you have 500 different signals, technologies  that you've studied. We can't look at  

all of those and ask those questions. The answer is, though, you should be.   You sort of know the usual suspects. You have  to go one or two clicks outside of those usual   suspects or, better yet, I can't tell you how many  organizations – I will tell you one, but I can't   tell you who it is because it would be bad. Let's just say there's an enormous agency out   there whose managers I was in a conversation with  who said that they knew lots about AI. I said,  

"Okay. That's great. What do you know? What  are you looking at? What are you guys doing?"  I heard sort of top-level buzzy-sounding  language repeated back. It was pretty clear   to me that they didn't really know, and that's  fine because these are senior executives and they   don't need to be in the weeds in this stuff. I said, "Okay, okay. Who are the people in   the organization whose charge it is  to really be paying attention to this?   And what latitude do they have to go out and  look for new information?" They didn't know. 

"Okay. Well, who are your PhDs?  Who are your Ph.Ds. that have   something having to do with anything within  the AI umbrella?" They didn't know that either.  I said, "Listen. If I ask those exact same  questions of Amazon, Amazon would have the  

answers, but also Amazon would be able to tell  me how many economists, like economics PhDs they   have, how many design thinking people they have,  and how many synthetic biologists they have."  Amazon is a marketplace, right? Amazon Web  Services is whatever. It's a cloud. What do   they need biologists for? This is my point, right? My point is that the world is complex. We are all   facing deep uncertainty. I don't know of many  organizations that are intentionally looking far  

enough outside of what they do to really make  a dent, to position themselves so that they're   making a dent in their futures. They're just not.  They're being dragged forward by somebody else.  We have an interesting question that's come up  on Twitter. This is from Matt Carrasco. He says,   "Regarding healthcare," since  you were just talking about that,   "how would you go about analyzing the near  term and long-term implications for the   massive shift, $600 billion in spending across  your probably, plausible, and possibly fringe   scenarios?" This is what we would call   an inflection. We're always looking for patterns.  I'm always looking for patterns where there are   contradictions, inflections, changes  in practices, things like that.  Obviously, this is a huge inflection and,  typically, inflections tend to have lots   of next-order impacts. Some of that spending  has gone to improving digital workstreams and  

workflows within the healthcare space. I don't know how to impress this enough   upon people so that it makes sense. The  emergence of a Messenger RNA vaccine   is not brand new. This is something that has  been many, many years in the making because the   companies that came to market with this first were  looking at that very same technology for cancer.  Part of the problem (this entire time) has been  regulatory approval and the amount of time that   it takes because it's different. This is not an  attenuated virus that's being shot into us. This   is a new kind of technology that enables the body  to self-heal. The fact that that got regulatory  

approval, even if it was in this emergency way,  now clears the path for lots of other use cases.  Messenger RNA is not a panacea for everything,  but it does totally shift (finally) how we can   be thinking about pharmaceuticals. Why does  that matter if you're not in pharma? Because,   as a percentage of GDP in the United States,  the pharmaceutical industry is a big player.  Again, that explains the situation that  we're in right now. My job became much,  

much harder in December of 2019 when the  virus was first emerging (that we knew of).  Anyhow, I would say,   in the very near term, stuff you already know.  More telehealth, more telemedicine, more options,   more flexibility, probably bigger headaches for  organizations that were not set up to do that and,   certainly, encryption and ransomware and  other security challenges on the horizon.  In the long-term, we're looking at a completely  different approach, which I think is a good thing   to health and wellness. We're probably looking at,  the long-term effects of this increase longevity,   having the body be able to self-heal in  more ways, lots more preventative medicine,   probably many more doctor-free exams, meaning  you will always know what your levels are without   ever having to go to a diagnostic center  to get blood drawn and things like that. 

We have another interesting question from Twitter.  This is from Arsalan Khan, who is a long-time   listener. Thanks, Arsalan. You always ask the  best questions. He makes the point that large   companies may have the budget to think about  future risks and challenges and do this kind   of analysis that you were just describing,  Amy, but smaller companies don't. Therefore,   what should smaller businesses do? Our work is open-source for a reason.   I don't agree with that assumption  and I hear it a lot. "We're just not   a big enough company. We just don't have the  resources. We just don't have the budget." 

This is really much more about  perception than it is about a P&L.  Here's one thing that every single person who  is listening can do for the next week that will   orient you more toward an expansive view. This is  actually the first homework that I assign to my   MBA class at Stern (every time I teach). Here's what it is. Starting tonight,   and for the next week, do something  different every day. It can be small.   It can be something as silly as sleeping on the  other side of the bed, which I know is actually   kind of a big deal for some people. Or eating  breakfast for dinner. Do something different  

every day and your objective is to notice if  you are seeing things differently as a result.  What we're doing is forcing your  brain into a new neural pathway.   That costs no money. All it does is ask you to  break free of the patterns that you're used to   following so that you can start to establish new  ways to see the world differently so that you can   take in signal data differently. That is a minimum  viable pathway to thinking more like a futurist.  Now, obviously, it scales up from there. But  there are lots of things that every business   could be doing. Some of this is just asking  better questions in a more strategic way. 

Don't hate me for saying this, everybody  who is listening, but I find more resistance   out of CIOs and CISOs than I do in other  parts of organizations. I totally get it.   There's a lot of risk riding on your shoulders. Sometimes, that can almost be an albatross.   If you can allow yourself to  think a little bit more broadly,   even if you are the world's great process  thinker, I can assure you that you'll be a   more valuable asset to your organization  because you'll have both sets of skills.  

You'll be a good, strong process thinker.  You will keep that organization running in   the way that it needs to be, but you'll also have  a more creative, expansive mindset in doing that.  Is this a tension between thinking  about innovation versus efficiency?  Yeah, I know a lot of this stuff just  sounds squishy. I totally get it.  

I'll go back to Pierre Wack for just a moment.  This was the guy in the '70s who was at Shell.  Shell in the 1970s, right? Full of men in suits  doing big, strategic thinking. Here comes Pierre   who is super into Eastern philosophy   and studying world religions. Nobody can  grok him inside this organization. Yet,   he was able to prove that adjusting some of how  you think can lead to extraordinary discoveries. 

I guess what I would say is I  know there is a tension between   immediate term and longer-term, innovation and  execution. Those tensions exist. I get that.  I think the people who are our greatest future  thinkers and some of the organizations that do   the best job continuing to make their markets  and to move forward actually operate in the   middle of those two. They are dynamic. They're  flexible. They are squishy in how they think.  My favorite example, I'm going to ask you this  question, Michael, and see if you know the answer.   The way that I describe companies  is as pathfinders and bystanders. 

A pathfinder company is positioned  really well. It's got the right culture.   It could be tiny. It could be huge. No matter what disruption comes they   are seemingly always prepared. Not only are they  always prepared. They're also so far ahead of  

everybody else that they're making the market.  What they're doing, the decisions they make,   they trickle down to everybody else. My favorite pathfinder company is Nintendo.   Michael, any idea when Nintendo was founded? Gee, they've been around for a very long time,   haven't they? I don't know the  year, but it's been – God, they've   been through so many different generations. Yeah, so many different consoles. Right, so  

that's my favorite question to ask  executives, "When was Nintendo founded?"  Almost universally I get the  same kind of answer, like, "Oh,   yeah. They've been around for a while, like since  the '80s, right? You know Mario, Donkey Kong."  I'm like, "Yeah, absolutely right, the  '80s – the 1880s." Nintendo was founded   before automobiles were on the roads. Everybody  is always shocked when they hear that.  Nintendo originally was a company that made  something called Hanafuda playing cards. I used   to live in Japan. I lived there for many years.  These are cards that are made out of a specialized  

paper. You required special inks. There was this  entire value chain built around this company and   this game, and they were very expensive, right? At some point, you've got the radio. You've got   electricity in homes. You've got a television  set. What was so smart about what this company   continued to do was that they were always thinking  not about the next two years of our market, what   the segment looks like, and who our competitors  are. Yes, they were paying attention to that   while at the same time thinking about, hey,  this television thing, this is our competitor. 

As it's emerging and nobody else is paying  attention to it because it's huge and clunky and   expensive and there wasn't a lot of programming  – it was mostly news – Nintendo was looking at   this thing thinking, "Ten years from now, this  is going to cause us to go out of business."   They just kept doing that over and over again. What do we do? They help invent the console   that you can plug into the  television set to play the game.  Everybody is getting excited about games. What  are they doing? They're thinking again, ahead,   and they're noticing that people are no longer  staying in their homes. There's this thing called   the shopping mall, and it seems like teenagers  might be spending more time in the shopping mall. 

What do they do? They take this game that  everybody is used to sitting down and playing   and they create a stand-up machine that you  have to pay, you have to put a quarter in,   in order to play, and invent the video arcade. Anyhow, so here we are in the year 2021. They're   not the biggest company. They're not the  biggest gaming company. They're not like   Eve-online. They're not reinventing  the mechanics, but they are still   around. They've got very healthy margins. What did they just launch? They just launched  

an augmented reality theme park. We don't have  a lot of augmented reality yet, so it's a good   example because this is a company that, like all  of your companies, has to make decisions in the   very near term, but they do that while thinking  about where that future market is going to go.  That's a fascinating example. I can tell you one  thing. Nintendo is now high on my list to pursue   to be on CXOTalk because I've interviewed many  senior execs from many companies that were started   in the 19th Century or early in the 20th  Century. Of course, they're all tremendous   innovators because clearly, they've adapted. Right. Nintendo, if you stop and think about it,  

this company shouldn't exist. They've been through  two world wars, a Japanese economic collapse,   the advent of the movie theater, of the  television set. Over and over and over again,   this company should have been killed by all  of these different things, and they weren't.  By the way, they still make those playing  cards. They never pivoted. They just evolved. 

What is it about Nintendo that made this possible? Again, this has to do with some of what we've been   talking about and what I would call the  hallmark of a pathfinder company. They're   asking really challenging questions all the time  for the purpose of challenging the status quo.  I walk into a lot of organizations and I'm  almost always dealing with executive management.   Way too many times I hear people  say, "We're already doing that."  Great. I'm happy you feel confident that  you are already doing [it]. You're not. 

Having the confidence and the ability to say,   "I'd love to know more. Help me understand  more dimensions," things like that.  They do a lot of that type of work.  They have a very broad aperture   as they are looking at the future, so they're  not just looking at the usual suspects in terms   of their competitors. They're not looking at the  usual nearly adjacent technologies and research  

areas. They go really broad, and they're  trying to look for where there are changes.  They're very good at mapping and understanding  forces of change, which is a skill that you have   to hone. It doesn't just come naturally. You've  got to intentionally do it. There's also a way for   everybody to participate. The other thing I see in a lot of companies  

is that the foresight function, so thinking  about the future, oftentimes does not report   into strategy. You've got your strategy folks  who are really just doing three- to five-year   planning, sometimes less than that. The skillset that I have, you can learn   but you have to learn it. Scenario planning  isn't like writing a bunch of cool stories. 

What they do is they tend to have young people or  interns do some sort of cool hunting or looking   for trendy things, and they've got no training.  What's happening on social media or who is doing   what on TikTok, they use that, and then they kind  of have a loosey-goosey way of doing scenario   planning. They wonder why the future doesn't  show up the way that they thought it would.  You have to practice this. The analog to this,  of course, is Blackberry, which, for a time,   was making great technology but they were no  longer hungry. They didn't think about disruption,   and there were lots of people in the organization  – I know because I talked to them – who were   saying, "Hey, haptic devices, hey, MP3s,  Napster, we should be looking at this stuff."  If you were to go back in time, I wouldn't  have known that the iPhone was coming,   but I could have absolutely told you that  our phones would do more than send office   messages, calendars, and stuff. Blackberry  just wasn't methodically doing the work. 

We have a couple of interesting questions  from Twitter. The first one is from Chris   Peterson. He asks a really interesting question.  He says, "Is there a pattern of culture   and a pattern of bias at work with shaping  those companies that are thinking forward   into the future versus those that are more  incremental or really focused on their P&Ls?"  This is the middle ground, right? you can't  take your eye off that P&L, and you've got to   continually think about projections, but  you have to be open to more variability. 

We worked with a company two years ago whose  financial projections used to be spot-on   and suddenly weren't. The short end  of the story is it had to do with   the length of their supply chain and the  fact that they had made a lot of assumptions.  They didn't have complete control over all of the  variables in that supply chain. That supply chain,   because managing the margins in this company was  very important, they just kept going tighter and   tighter through efficiencies, which left, at the  end of the day, no room for anything to go wrong. 

The kinds of things in their case that could go  wrong were geopolitical changes that may pop up   overnight, climate change issues, things having to  do with transportation. They just never accounted   for those things and so we saw the brittleness. In their case, the biases had to do with process.   They weren't willing to accept the fact that  they would have to introduce uncertainty   into their calculations. Once they figured  that out and everybody was okay with it,   now they're doing great. Sometimes, the bias within the organization  

that exists is, "Our process has always worked.  Therefore, it will always work." You know?  We have another interesting question from  Twitter. This is from Florent M. Hirwa. I   hope I'm pronouncing your name [correctly]. He  is in Kigali, Rwanda. That's interesting too.   Florent asks, "What are some applications of  smart contracts outside the creative industry?"  Here's what I see happening with smart  contract. I see people who are very creative.   Especially people in the innovation space, they're  coming up with all kinds of clever ideas that are   really interesting that never land well within the  organization because nobody sees an immediate use   case or an immediate business case. Then what  winds up happening is there is no prototyping.  There is a ton of options that range from digital  ID systems. You could kind of argue that a lot of  

these digital passports, vaccine passports, are  kind of a smart contract in spirit. Ranging from   digital IDs (for the purpose of traveling, again,  someday) but also if it's true that we're moving   into digital realms in new ways and we've got new  ways of interacting with each other, then we're   going to need new ways to authenticate ourselves. I think that the authentication and trust pieces   of a smart contract are probably hold greater  weight than just about anything else. There are   some obvious use cases right now in remote. We refinanced our house because the interest   rates were pretty great. A lot of that  was done using smart contract systems. 

Then, of course, there's a whole  other piece of this, which is finance:   trading and settlements. The settlement side of  trading is trying to get to faster and faster   timeframes, you know fractions of  fractions of fractions of a second. As   some of this fractional ownership models,  investment models (I meant), and things like NFTs   and fractional NFT models, that's  another interesting avenue as well.  We have another really interesting question  from Twitter. To me, this is a very practical   question. That question is again from Arsalan  Khan. He says, "Any thoughts on cryptocurrencies,  

and especially things like Dogecoin and  others that we should be looking at?"  We know that Fiat currencies are probably going  to – we know that there is a lot of moment. There   has been for a while in Singapore and in China.  China is officially now launching some version.  I also lived in China when there were two  bank-issued currencies, and that was kind   of annoying because you had to remember what  was what. It was physical paper at that point. 

I actually think this is a huge opportunity for  somebody, for some large organization somewhere.   The concept of a wallet is still  beyond the grasp of many people.  In the United States (this is not  necessarily true of other countries)   you would think that contactless payments—meaning  you don't have to pull your credit card out of   your wallet, or cash, you can just touch a device  and pay—has hit some form of critical mass and it   hasn't. It's still low double-digits. It's like  10% of transactions. It's a very, very low number.  Part of that has to do with people. Part of  that has to do with the slow rate of changeover   in all of the businesses, the places where  you would use that currency, that money.  It takes them a long time to make the  terminal change. If you're in a situation  

where you've got inventory or insurance,  it's not as simple as just changing the   terminal and making it work. There are a lot of  handshakes on the backend that have to happen.  Here's why I mention this. It's not enough to  have crypto. You have to be able to use them.   You have to translate that into a system  where you can receive something in return.  I think we're probably looking at a transition  to something. Whether that's country,  

like Fiat-backed crypto per country or one global  crypto—which I think is probably unlikely, but you   never know—or Eastern and Western Hemisphere,  you know, China-backed and U.S.-backed and   European-backed, and Africa-backed, or something  like that. I think we're in a transition period.  If the question was like, "Which one should  you hold?" I will not answer that question.  As far as the long-term trend goes, from what  you're saying, it seems like there is an almost   inevitable march but it's going to take a long  time because of just the weight of corporate   processes in every area that need to adapt. To some extent, it's that.  My husband is an eye doctor. He switched  over from his old terminal to a new terminal  

because he wanted to get the newer system.  He's way more into technology than I am.   He was like, "Well, how hard could  this be? I'm an engineer by training."  It turns out real hard because the medical  record system and the insurance system didn't   do the right handshake to the terminal.  It was a nightmare. He tried for a month,   and he finally just gave up and went back to  the old system, which for a time was not doing   contactless payment, even though he wanted to. I'm just highlighting this because I think  

sometimes people like to blame big  organizations or big institutions as   the problem. I think in this case the problem  is an extremely diffuse system with many   different types of ways to take money. As we finish up, how do you net all of   this out for CIOs who are responsible for  making technology purchasing decisions   that address current, immediate problems but they  also want success in the long-term for themselves,   their organizations, and their customers? I think the biggest place for a lot of these   decisions – again, my observation – is in the  cloud. A lot of companies pre-COVID did not,  

I think, prioritize digital  transformation the way they should have.   They're a little late to the party. Now, a  lot of decisions are being made under duress.  If you're in a situation where those  decisions are being made under duress,   you're going to have to figure  out how to navigate that because   there's a lot at stake, as you're  making some of these decisions.   Depending on the company, there are politics  involved. There's trying to match your decision   cycle with the cadence of your CapEx expenditure  cycles, board approvals, and all that stuff.  I don't have an answer. There's no one  answer because that's going to depend  

on too many variables. Here's what I will say.   Wherever you can, remind others that the decision  cannot be made on a cost basis alone – it just   can't. Nine times out of ten, that's what I see  happening. It's cost basis or what you think   you're going to get or confirmation bias. X company is the biggest, therefore.  

Well, sometimes the biggest company isn't  going to be the right fit for you. Some of   this is a little bit of matchmaking and patience. The other part of this, though, is you have to do   two things at once. You have to make decisions in  the near term while assessing the long-term. That  

is a challenging thing to do and you're not  going to do it unless you are intentionally   forcing yourself to do it. You have to ask  others in the C-suite to do it along with you.  Should we take one last question that's  just popped in from Twitter? This is from   Matt Carrasco. He says, "What is the long-term  trend in instant communications, chat support?   What needs to change to go from  this is a great solution for   support to convert it into something that can  help sell clothes and collect?" Basically,   broadening chat support. He adds, "Is no code  or low code solutions an answer to this?"  In the realm of synthetic media, which  is deep fakes but for different purposes,   so this is generative content. Chatbots are a  version of that, but this is more holistic because   we're talking about having an interaction  with what looks very much like a person.  The ability to do that exists today. A  couple of accelerants are in the works.  

I know we're all tired of staring at our Zoom  screens, but all indications at the moment   would say that this is here to stay because  there's more flexibility, which means we're   going to be looking at more than we were before.  Not all the time but looking at people on screens.  If those people are synthetic, then that  affords us some interesting new opportunities.   There's a body of research showing that if you  can recall the details of somebody's personal   details, say their name, all of that interpersonal  stuff that all of you know, that they are more   receptive to criticism. They are more vulnerable,  potentially. They are more open to being coached.  Imagine an AI hiring manager, an AI customer  service rep, or an AI trainer who was built for   everybody at the company but, once deployed, can  learn about you and respond to you in real-time.  

That is a game-changer. That's not tomorrow,  but for all of these companies that are just   dumping resources into chatbots thinking that  that's the end, what I would say is if you can   convince everybody in the organization to see  it as a beginning rather than the end, you will   ride the next wave of disruption pretty well. All right. Amy Webb, thank you very, very much   for taking your time to be with us here today. Thank you.  Everybody, thank you for watching. What an  interesting and fast show this has been.   Before you go, please subscribe to our YouTube  channel. Hit the subscribe button and subscribe   to our newsletter. Tell your friends. Check out We have great  

shows coming up, and we will see you again  next time. See you soon, everybody. Bye-bye.

2021-04-27 23:46

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