Subnotes on Seminar titled Age of AI and VUCA Society

  • 2021.8.29

Seminar Title:  Age of AI and VUCA Society

 *AI= Artificial Intelligence

Intelligence demonstrated by machines that mimic “cognitive” functions that humans associate with the human mind, such as “learning” and “problem solving”

    VUCA= Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous

Raymond Kurzweil, an American inventor and futurist, predicted in 1990 that computers would beat the best human players by the year 2045. In May 1997, IBM’s Deep Blue computer defeated chess World Champion Garry Kasparov.

Kurzweil foresaw the explosive growth in worldwide Internet use that began in the 1990s when there were only 2.6 million Internet users in the world, and the medium was unreliable, difficult to use, and deficient in content.

The core of his messages is that the pace of change in the last two decades has grown by orders of magnitude, which will bring about changes to our work models and learning processes.

We already see some of the signs today.

Amazon Go (Shopping Store): You enter the store, take the goods you want, put them into your bag and go out of the store. More than 300 cameras on the ceiling read the commodity codes based on which payment receipt is conveyed to you.

5G, which far surpasses 4G in terms of speed, capacity and latency (less response time), processes downloading of two hours volume in 3.6 seconds which takes 6 minutes for 4G. This has enabled AR/VR surgery in the medical field.

Automatic Driving:  The Autonomous Driving Device is becoming a standard today.

No Ordinary Disruption: The four Global Forces Breaking All the Trends”,

McKinsey Global Institute, Richard Dobbs, James Manyika and Jonathan Woetzel.

The book explains the rise of emerging markets, the accelerating impact of technology, an aging world population, and accelerating flows of trade, capital and people.

Our intuitions formed during a uniquely benign period for the world economy — often termed the Great Moderation.

Asset prices were rising, cost of capital was falling, labor and resources were abundant, and generation after generation was growing up more prosperous than their parents.

But the Great Moderation has gone.

The cost of capital may rise. The price of everything from grain to steel may become more volatile. The world’s labor force could shrink. Individuals, particularly those with low job skills, are at risk of growing up poorer than their parents.

By 2025, a regional city in China — Tianjin(天津)– will have a GDP equal to that of the Sweden; in the decades ahead, half of the world’s economic growth will come from 440 cities including Kumasi in Ghana or Santa Carina in Brazil that most executives today would be hard-pressed to locate on a map.

Carnegie Mellon University Africa, in Rwanda, which Mrs. Komiyama visited in 2019, boasts that they will be “Singapore in Africa”.

Breakthrough in technology has opened new potential that did not exist before.

Even a small remote city can emerge as a leading center of new enterprises.

Technological innovation has started to change how we work in our society.

It has been taken for granted in Japan that people are employed and stay with one same company through one’s life (lifetime employment).

However, people who change their work associations are the increasing trend recently.

People who hold side business, normally forbidden in many Japanese companies, and people who work at several companies in parallel are increasing as well. Such situations are not rare and are, in fact, rather a peculiar trend nowadays in Japan.

The required tasks or job descriptions are transformed or evolved into different ones.

The accelerated advance of technology with astonishing speed is to transform our learning mode as well.

The role of teachers is being shifted from a teaching expert to that of a mentor or coach.

Attentive observation of student’s learning behavior instead of information giving will be required of teachers in the future.

The highest importance of education in Estonia and Finland is on cultivating creative potential. Educational materials of five senses (touch, taste, hearing, eyesight, smell) are gaining attention. It is important to see and feel how tea leaves or lychee fruits are grown and how eels grow on site.

Learning with real goods or entities, first-hand experience, will be encouraged more.

Mistake is the mother of success. Learning through mistakes or failures, which gives precious feedback, is more valuable than learning by how-to books.

【Note】‘Food for Thought’

There were many more examples actually presented and explained by Mrs. Komiyama in her seminar. Above is a brief memorandum of major points I noticed and notes that I took at the seminar. The above notes, therefore, do not reflect the actual content of what Mrs. Komiyama presented in her seminar. All the errors and omissions are solely my responsibility.      –  Kazuyuki Matsumoto, an EWC alumnus, ISI 1969-71