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As computational power shrinks, intelligence will surround us.  We'll have smart office buildings, smart cars, smart you-name-it.  So what do we do with all of that "smartness"?


I've been thinking about this all week.  What will it feel like to live and work in a world where there is no limit to intelligence and connectivity.  I have a few opinions that I'm weaving into my JiveWorld16 talk but I wanted throw one out there.


Imagine a future without screens.  In the geeky engineering world we call it I/O - that's Input and Output.  I/O is how we talk to the machines and how the machines talk to us.  The main I/O that we use today is a screen.  This is a good thing because humans are extraordinarily visual.  We like screens.  But if we are surrounded by intelligence couldn't those screens go away?


Now imagine a future where you didn't have to look at a screen all day.  Imagine if you could act and interact with your computer and all your devices by simply talking to them.  Or even more interesting imagine if you could interact AND program your devices by just living and working around them.  Your apps and productivity tools would know you and understand what you needed to get done.


I'm not saying the machines would do all the work for us but they would be much more integrated into how we work.


I got to thinking about this because I was reflecting on this week's futurecasting.  I realized what I was doing wasn't acting and interacting with my computer.  This week I've been acting and interacting with everyone on this platform. Imagine a workday without screens where you interact with your machines as a proxy and connection to your team and co-workers.


The technology melts away and you are now simply collaborating but in a whole new way.


What do you think a workday without screens might be like?

What would it feel like?

Most important what would you want it to be like?

Google’s Eric Schmidt has famously said that every two days we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003. As computing gets more powerful, it will seem like this data has a life of its own. And it will. You’ll have machines talking to machines, computers talking to computers, all processing this data. But what will it feel like to work in this coming age of big data?


Data will be our colleagues and our employees. And, like all employees, they will need a good manager – an algorithm. An algorithm is really just a sequential series of steps that processes data. We will need to “train” our algorithms to have a better understanding of humans and how to make human lives better. After all, we are their bosses.


As we look to 2026 it might appear that computers and data will overrun the workplace. But remember, a computer will never clean a bathroom sink. At least in the near future, computers and data won’t replace the paper towels in the bathroom. But a computer will write up your local little League scores and a computer will operate on your spine. (Hint, this is already happening.)


This has broad implications for what we think of as valuable skills and employees in the workplace. Today we value journalists and surgeons much more than janitors or apple pickers, but in 2026 we may think very differently. We will need to understand what humans are really good at and foster those skills, outsourcing the rest to the brilliant intelligence and efficiency of the future.


One of the many things humans are really good at is communicating and collaborating with other humans.  Turns out computers and big data are really bad at it. 


As we look into the future of work I’m interested to hear what you think humans a really good at. 


What can a human do that a machine will never replace?

What’s the future of work?  How will people collaborate in the future?  What will the teams of tomorrow look like?



We’re going to find out!



I’m a futurist.  I work with organizations to look out five, ten and even twenty years into the future and imagine what it will feel like to be a human and live in that future.  To do this I use a mix of social science, technical research, economics, cultural history, trendscapes, expert interviews and even a little science fiction.  If you want to nerd out about my futurecasting process there’s more here.



Over my last twenty years as a futurist I’ve seen that people build the future.  The future does’t just happen. The future is built everyday by the actions of people and teams.  And to build that future you must first have a vision for it. Nothing great as ever build by humans that wasn’t first imagined.  So to build the future first you have to imagine it.



That’s why I was so excited when Elisa and the Jive team reached out to me to explore the future of work.  Over the next two weeks we’re going to be exploring the future of work, teams and collaboration.  We’re going to talk about it in Las Vegas at JiveWorld16 and in more blogs, videos and articles.



A major part of this research is input from the Jive Community. 

I need to hear your visions for the future of work: 

What kind of future do you want? 

What kind of future do you want to avoid?

How will we collaborate in the future? 

How do you want to collaborate?



The goal of the next two weeks is to model a future that we all want to live in.


The first step is to have a vision and then to share it.



So let the futurecasting begin!



What’s your vision for the future of work?