We talk a lot about technological disruption on AssociationSuccess.org, but our recent interview with Peter Diamandis elevated a previously speculative discussion to a realization of inevitability.
We cannot ignore what is coming.
Our world is undergoing incredible changes thanks to technology, and this is occurring at an accelerating rate. What does this mean for the industries we service, and for the sustainability of our organizations?
At the bottom of the article is an audio recording of the webinar, but first, here are four main takeaways that not only challenge you to consider the future of your association, but provide starting points for doing this.
All the ideas and direct quotes come from Peter’s webinar.
Include our newly connected members.
In 2010, there were 1.8 billion people connected online. Today that number has reached 2.9, and is expected to exceed 5 billion in the next five years.
“5 billion people are coming online with access to Google. They’re not coming online like you and I did. They’re coming online with access to the world’s information at a strong connection.”
Has your association thought about expanding into the international market? Our incoming connectors will be looking for ways to engage with the rest of the world, and your association has the potential to welcome them in.
At the same time, reaching these people is becoming less and less of a challenge.
“We’re also making it easier for an association to connect with its members seamlessly around the world. That’s one part of what’s going on.”
Harness the power of human contact.
The good news is that even though our environment is about to significantly change, there is one association offering that will never lose its power: Bringing people together. Peter adamantly assured us the basic need of human contact will never be satisfied through cyber means, and thus face-to-face engagement will remain the preferred method of connection.
Peter has shown his commitment to this concept with his own member base. He has a group that he has put together called Abundance 360 that consists of 250 forward thinking CEOs. Although they conduct monthly webinars and remain in contact online, he has promised to hold an annual in-person gathering for the next 25 years.
As he explained (through a video conferencing software), “this conversation (with you and I) is great. It’s much better than a phone call. But very different than actually being physically face-to-face.”
What does this mean for your association? How many events are you hosting? If there is talk of switching from a brick & mortar conference to an online equivalent, maybe you should reconsider the value of an in-person exchange.
Leverage artificial intelligence.
We will inevitably reach a point when AI will far surpass the abilities of a human. There are already companies working on building surgical robots with a level of precision that exceeds any surgeon. “No jittery hand or hangover from the night before. The robot has done that surgery perfectly 10,000 times.”
This begs the question, what happens to the surgeons? What happens to the associations serving these surgeons?
Keep in mind, we’re talking about a career that takes years to master. How many other jobs will be replaced by AI?
We’ve all heard these fears articulated, but Peter offers a refreshingly optimistic twist.
We cannot project what will happen to the job market simply because we cannot yet conceive of the jobs that will be created in the future.
“If you had gone back a decade and said, ‘I’m a video blogger and I do a weekly blog to thousands of members from around the world’, the bandwidth to have done this would have been in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.” Of course, going back a little further into the past, the ‘video blogger’ title would be completely incoherent.
Therefore, it becomes impossible to project the job market. However, as AI capabilities strengthen, they may become our best teachers for these mystery jobs.
Picture the combination of Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality. “In the near future, I’ll put on my VR glasses. I’ll talk to my AI, who will ask me questions on what I know and don’t know. They will give me an education where I’m not seeing diagrams on how to do things, but rather I am live seeing it done. I will be doing it myself over and over again.”
As an association, you should be looking out for these new learning opportunities for your members. Humans will work in tandem with robotics in many industries, and this will require a lot of upskill. How can you leverage new technologies to facilitate this learning for your members?
Pay attention to deceptive technologies.
Take a guess when 3D printing was invented.
5 years ago? 10 years ago? In fact, this is a 33-year-old invention. It took a lot of momentum to finally catch our attention, making it a deceptive technology.
Even though you’ve just heard of it, we’re at the point where a company in China is literally printing full homes and 3-story apartment buildings.
Fast forward ten years from now and we will start to see 3D printers in our homes. Further, no design skills will be necessary, because you’ll have an AI helping you along the way. Your verbal instructions will be enough to bring your imagination to 3D life.
“Whatever you want, you describe [what you’re] picturing and your words are visualized on there. This system can interpret your desire and make it real. I don’t need design skills or mechanical engineering skills. I know what I want and I can describe it.”
Can you fathom how many industries will be disrupted by such an innovation? Peter cautions us to be aware of deceptive technologies, so we can prepare ourselves for their inevitable disruption.