Fast Future Book Series

The Fast Future series is designed to provide clear and rapid insights into the trends, forces, developments, and ideas shaping the future and the possible scenarios that could arise. Each book contains a collection of short, hard-hitting articles that explore different aspects of the emerging future and how we can respond in a manner that best serves humanity. The books are deliberately intended to be a rapid read—providing the key information the reader needs to get up to speed on future relevant issues—explaining what they are and their possible implications for individuals, society, business, and government.

A Very Human Future—Enriching Humanity in a Digitized World

Fast Future 3
Published October 17, 2018

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As society enters the fourth industrial revolution, a major question arises—can we harness intense technological bursts of possibility to bring about a better world?  A Very Human Future illustrates how the evolution of society, cities, people, businesses, industries, nations, and governments are being unexpectedly entangled by exponential technological disruption.  This is not a book about technology but an exploration of how we make it serve humanity’s highest needs and ambitions. Each chapter looks at how new ideas enabled by emerging technologies are straining the old social fabric, and proposes radical future scenarios, strategies, and actions to safeguard humanity from harm and enhance opportunity for all. This book is a manifesto for a future that is better than the past.

A Very Human Future rejects an outlook where human beings live a mundane existence while technologies burst with possibility.  Rather, we use this book to endorse a proactive approach to the future where technology is designed to benefit humanity purposefully and intentionally.  To advocate for A Very Human Future we ask, for example, how do we use technology to overcome gender bias or to impart a meaningful education to new generations?  Can artificial intelligence tools make government more trustworthy and help us deal with the impacts of automation replacing humans?  What rights should people have when residing in smart cities?  The scale of the new technologies requires a protective logic for moving forward, keeping humanity at the centre so that we avoid dehumanizing ourselves and future generations.

A Very Human Future is not one, but many:  positive stories and visions of the future can be powerful beacons for social adaptation.  We argue that the time to control the narrative of the future and stake a claim for humanity is now.  A Very Human Future uses knowledge as power, describing surprising ways new thinking and disruptive technology can impact society.  This book explains that protecting what’s human is the key to retaining our dominance over future technological progress.

The Future Reinvented – Reimagining Life, Society, and Business

Fast Future 2
Published December 22, 2017

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The second book in the Fast Future series explores how our notions of the future are themselves being reinvented. The authors challenge us to reimagine how life, society, key industries, and the conduct of business could be transformed by a combination of radical technological, scientific, social, and economic developments shaping the decade ahead. The Future Reinvented offers unique snapshots of different aspects of a future in which the very tenets of reality are undergoing deep and vital transformations. The Future Reinvented is organized into three sections covering transformations in life and society, industries, and business, and presents holistic future scenarios that encourage strategic thinking about what lies beyond the hype.

Using a futurist perspective, The Future Reinvented offers glimpses of the future across a range of business sectors such as legal, automotive, and sales as well as in different areas of everyday life including retirement, education, and health. Readers are presented with vivid imagery which brings to life a number of different possible futures. These include workplace scenarios of people performing side by side with artificial intelligence or robotic colleagues; humans obtaining physical enhancements to become smarter, stronger, or more psychologically resilient; and strategies for how we might live in a “post-jobs world.” The book provides a powerful foundation for futures thinking and scenario planning in both a personal and organizational context. The authors identify early warning signals and signposts of critical emerging changes and developments on the horizon that could shape the next future.

Content and Chapters

The Future Reinvented – Reimagining Life, Society, and Business is a collection of the Fast Future’s team most recent thinking on upcoming developments and their potential implications for humanity. The book features a total of twenty-three chapters organized into three sections, each focusing on a different level of transformation: life and society, industry, and business. To help you select the topics you most want to read about, we have summarized the content of each chapter. Click on the section headers below to view the chapters and their summaries.

Reimagining Life and Society

The Next Future – 40 Key Trends Shaping the Emerging Landscape: An overview of forty critical drivers of change across societies that might emerge in 2018, and the possible extent of their impacts over the next five years. Topics encompass lifestyle, politics, people and the workplace, transport, and technology.

Dear Dad: A Letter from a Brighter Future: A snapshot into an optimistic future where society, politics, environment, economics, and technology interact harmoniously.

Dear Mum: A Letter from Another Future: A missive from a son to his mother about the struggles of a future filled with technology failing to fulfill its promise, severe economic inequality, ongoing social turmoil, and environmental hardship.

The Future of Work: Retirement in a Post-Work Future: An overview of the emerging roles for older workers in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and the possible elimination of retirement.

Intelligent, Connected, and Mobile – Scenarios for Smart, Sustainable, Human Cities: Scenarios for three smart and very human metropolises of 2030, each highlighting a key driver: data management, artificial intelligence, and green energy.

Britain 2022: The Future Beyond Brexit: A summary of the results of a flash opinion poll on the future of the UK beyond Brexit, including priorities around social issues, science and technology, and the commercial world.

The Gifts that Keep on Giving: 25 Human Transformations for Your 2030 Christmas Shopping List: An overview of possible human augmentations, enhancements, and extensions that could become available over the next fifteen years.

Digital Literacy in an Age of Exponential ICT Change: Arguing the case for raising digital literacy so that we can ensure that information and communications technologies are harnessed to serve society.

Reimagining Industries

The Emergence of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare: A synopsis of key areas where current and potential applications of AI might have an important impact in the healthcare industry.

Won’t Get Fooled Again: Anticipating Surprises in an Unpredictable Business Environment for Travel, Hospitality, and Business Events: A review of eight key trends that could have growing relevance to the travel, hospitality, and business meeting sector.

Authenticating the Travel Experience: A reflection on potential applications of blockchain and cryptocurrency to reinforce trust and authenticity in the travel industry.

Exploring the Future of Automotive in a World of Disruption: An overview of transformational changes on the horizon for the automotive industry and smart highways sector.

Follow the Money – The Future Evolution of Automotive Markets: Highlighting five key drivers of change and their possible outcomes in a human-centered automotive industry.

AI and the Legal Sector: Gift Bearing Friend or Havoc-Wreaking Foe?: An examination of how law firms have the opportunity to reinvent the industry from the insight out, from predicting case outcomes to developing new regulatory frameworks.

Blockchain, Bitcoin, and Law: A Distributed Disruption?: An analysis on applications and implications of blockchain and Bitcoin in the future of the legal industry.

Educating the City of the Future: A Lifewide Learning Experience: An exploration of the potential effects of smart city planning on education, including around the clock learning, civic engagement, and technology in the classroom.

Food Production in a Hyper-Tech Future: Robochefs, VR Taste Tests, and Lab-Grown Meat: A peek into the technological developments that could emerge in food industry production, distribution, and retailing over the next ten years.

Reimagining Business

Businesses and Technology – Time for a Code of Ethics?: A discussion about the adoption of industry-wide moral standards around the uses of exponential technologies, plus recommendations on creating a digital ethics code for your organization.

Staying Relevant – Five Fundamentals of Leading the Future for HR and Training: Examining key actions forward-looking businesses need to take to cope with the upcoming challenges of technological disruption.

A Tomorrow Fit for Humans – Ten Priorities for the HR Director: A review of critical developments for HR directors and leaders to monitor and focus on over the coming years.

Driving Online Sales Growth – Winning in the Wild World: Exploring the potential evolution of the corporate Treasury function and the skills required to deliver it.

Conclusion – Critical Shifts Driving the Reinvention: This chapter highlights the major shifts outlined in this book that are coming together to enable the next future.

Beyond Genuine Stupidity – Ensuring AI Serves Humanity

Fast Future 1
Published November 27, 2017

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The first book in the Fast Future series explores critical emerging issues arising from the rapid pace of development in artificial intelligence (AI). The authors argue for a forward looking and conscious approach to the development and deployment of AI to ensure that it genuinely serves humanity’s best interest. Through a series of articles, they present a compelling case to get beyond the genuine stupidity of narrow, short term, and alarmist thinking and look at AI from a long-term holistic perspective. The reality is that AI will impact current sectors and jobs—and hopefully enable new ones. A smart approach requires us to think about and experiment with strategies for adopting and absorbing the impacts of AI—encompassing education systems, reskilling the workforce, unemployment and guaranteed basic incomes, robot taxes, job creation, encouraging new ventures, research and development to enable tomorrow’s industries, and dealing with the mental health impacts. The book explores the potential impacts on sectors ranging from healthcare and automotive, to legal and education. The implications for business itself are also examined from leadership and HR, to sales and business ethics.

Content and Chapters

Beyond Genuine Stupidity – Ensuring AI Serves Humanity is a compilation of the Fast Future team’s latest thinking on AI and its impacts across society. The book presents a total of twenty-six chapters divided into four sections—each covering specific points of impact: society, industries, businesses, and jobs, and economy. For your convenience, we have summarized each chapter below.

Simply click on the section headers below to discover each section’s content.

Impacts of AI on Society

Artificial Intelligence – Five Societal Priorities: Recommendations on critical actions to absorb and adapt to the changes brought about by exponential technological advances.

Technological Disruption – A Survival Guide: Highlights strategies that governments should experiment with right now to prepare society for the possibility of large-scale technological  unemployment.

Living with the Enemy – Staying Human in the Era of Superintelligent Machines: A reflection on how to navigate the evolving relationship between humans and smart machines in the coming decades, encompassing workplace changes, job opportunities, products and services, business models, and management.

Morning, Noon, and Night – 15 Ways AI Could Transform Daily Life: Discusses day-to-day activities, behaviors, and habits that could be altered by AI, from wardrobe management to community building.

How Artificial Intelligence Might Help Us Decode Our World: An exploration of the possible personal impacts of AI when applied to dating, family, friendships, and career planning in the future.

The Human, Smart, and Sustainable Future of Cities: Presents a big picture perspective on the journey cities must navigate to become vision-led, citizen-centered, smart, integrated, green, and sustainable.

Impacts of AI on Major Industries

AI and Healthcare – The Now, The Next, and The Possible: A scenario timeline for the future of AI-enabled healthcare systems.

The Creative and Destructive Impacts of AI-Powered FinTech on Financial Services: Exploring the possible consequences of applying AI as a service combined with other FinTech applications in financial services.

Riding Shotgun with Autonomous Vehicles: Exploring the opportunities and implications of self-driving cars in relation to insurance, accident rates, fuel management, traffic flows, and taxi services.

Robo-Retail vs. Humanity at a Price? Two Possible Futures for Retail: Sets out contrasting alternative scenarios for the level and pace of retail sector automation.

Unleashing the True Potential of AI – Building the Exponential Law Firm: A comprehensive summary of the potential of AI to unlock transformative growth across the legal sector.

A Day in the Life of a Legal Project Manager:June 1st, 2020: A chronicle of the future that portrays the deep integration of AI into the legal workplace.

Most Exponential Law Firms 2025: A leap into a selection of plausible exponential growth strategies in tomorrow’s legal sector.

Artificial Intelligence and the Growth Opportunity for Accounting Firms: A snapshot of how the accounting sector can benefit from disruptions in the economic system and in business resulting from the adoption of AI and other exponential technologies.

Designing for a Post-Job Future: The Impact of AI on Architecture: Highlighting examples of how the deployment of AI could help transform design thinking for the built environment.

AI and the Many Possible Futures of the IT Professional: An image of the future that travels from 2019 to 2025 showing the possible evolution of an IT professional’s role in an increasingly AI-enabled world.

Artificial Intelligence – The Next Frontier in IT Security?: A short overview of the ways AI could support humans in protecting ever-more complex systems.

Impacts of AI on Business

Artificial Intelligence in the Workplace – The Leadership Challenge: Examines critical implications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution for business management, outlining five key leadership priorities.

AI – Addressing the Human and Workplace Implications: How we can ensure a human-centered perspective in the future design of work and workplaces?

Hope is Not a Strategy – Retention, Engagement, and Productivity in the Era of Artificial Intelligence: A discussion of how we might manage, motivate, reward, and retain our best performers.

Small Business and AI: Now, Next, and Future: Exploration over three time horizons of how small to medium enterprises might embrace the potential of AI.

Impacts of AI on Jobs and the Economy

Dancing with Disruption– 20 Jobs that Could Be Transformed by AI: Twenty examples of how AI could transform job roles across society by 2030.

Hand Picked by Robots – The Beginning of the End for Humans in the Food Sector?: A short study of how jobs in the food and beverage industry might evolve with the development of AI.

Rethinking Work and Jobs in the Exponential Era: A review of future unemployment projections and forecasts, and an exploration of the resulting skills and management challenges.

Hire the Robots, Free the People: Outlines a plausible scenario of a future without jobs where humans are unleashed to fulfill their unlimited potential.

Taxing the Robots – Far Sighted or Fanciful?: An overview of the key drivers, questions, challenges, and implementation issues associated with introducing robot taxes to cover the costs of AI-induced technological unemployment.

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