Through films, television, books and the internet we have been testing our creative skills. We imagine the future and represent it with images, sounds, movements that fascinate us, but also that frighten us and leave us incredulous. But is this going to be the future? Will fiction be transformed in reality? Will we be able to live in real life what was once was considered to be fiction?
This is one of the biggest challenges in leadership: to be able to make fast, effective, creative and human-centric decisions in a world where the lines between reality and what once was fiction are becoming increasingly blurred. Or maybe one day even in Mars (or in any other planet where the future takes us), leadership will be redefined as simply a means for survival. Will homo sapiens have to interact and coexist with “machine sapiens”? And if so, who will be the leader?
We can not think of the future without thinking of technology. It is due to technological advancements that mankind has seen an exponential progress. Locomotion, increased quality of life and life expectancy and performance of physical and mental chores that otherwise would be impossible to do are just some examples of how technology has helped us in the most varied aspects. Technology has been serving mankind, but we have been the ones in command. Will it stay the same? Or will phenomena like acceleration, digitalization, artificial and augmented intelligence, and so on invert this chain? Who will define the path? Who will lead? Will the new leader be the superintelligences’ subaltern?
Times are accelerated, progress is exponential, and we are reaching improbable places faster than ever. Our travels are becoming cheaper, more shared and more frequent. Our packages arrive from anywhere in the world in just a few days or even hours, our cars are getting smarter, more autonomous, and more environmentally friendly. Cars, planes, trains and even wings and drones are the machines that allow us to move, to develop, to be more independent and to evolve. New ways for us to travel are revolutionizing the present and make us imagine a future where teletransportation can actually become a reality. How will it be, to lead a world with autonomous cars, ultrafast planes, drones, wings, etc? What businesses will emerge? What leaders are we going to have for this brave new world?
Technology is leading us to a new world. This is already more than a brave new world, it’s a world where men will have to create clear boundaries for the role of machines in society. Men will lead Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Intelligence, Digital Minds and Robots. Men will speak the language of algorithms and will fight the greatest leadership battle: to lead technology.
This is our question, the one that involves many of our leaders’ worries. The ultimate challenge is to be prepared to lead in a fast, new, strange world, where humanity itself is at stake. What do new leaders need to know? What do present leaders need to do to adapt? How to anticipate, plan and manage? How to be creative and innovative? How to manage people and machines? How to lead in this brave new world?