An inspiring vision for the future is portrayed by CEO Kate O’Neill KO insight And the author of “Technical Humanist”, in her opening keynote speech, “The future is so bright”, in 2021 Healthcare Design Expo and Conference In Cleveland in October.
O’Neill said it’s not uncommon to predict terrible, overwhelming scenarios in the future—think pandemics, climate disasters, and political and geopolitical turmoil. Emerging technologies are often cited as the cause of this fear.
Instead, she said, technology offers great opportunities to help solve human problems while providing better human connections. Rather than being afraid of the future, she also asked participants to think about how to help mankind prepare for an increasingly technological and data-driven future in which the physical world is connected to the digital world. “How to think more excitedly about how to use technology to create more meaningful spaces?” she said.
To help guide this journey, she proposed three pillars for a brighter future for the built environment: building our best technology, developing our best business, and becoming our best self.
O’Neill noticed that being a part of human beings means craving meaning. He said that it is important to build technology through this lens and pay attention to how technology and data can make the present and future world better. She said that in the healthcare sector, this may mean thinking about the best future for most people.
When discussing how to develop a better business, O’Neill said that the focus should not be on technological transformation, but on the use of human data to optimize the “data transformation” of the business. She added that when attendees hear the word “data”, they should think of “people”, including their motivations and desires.
In order to create the best technology, O’Neill said that technical solutions should not be seen as good or bad, but they do have risks. “Humans cannot leave meaning to machines,” she said. For example, subtle nuances are not the strengths of artificial intelligence (AI). O’Neill illustrates this by showing a slide with images of puppies and muffins, many of which look similar and difficult for computers to figure out. However, humans can use sensory memory to make contextual decisions to figure out what is what.
She pointed out that in order to obtain our best technology, we need to combine the best technology with the best human beings to build an “empathetic and meaningful human experience.” In addition, she pointed out that it is important to involve the different perspectives of the project team in order to create an inclusive human experience. She added: “The machine is what we encode ourselves,” including our biases and values.
In conclusion, O’Neill reiterated that a technology-driven future with more meaningful and comprehensive experiences should not be terrible. “We have agency and power-this will be what we do.”