Community Insights

What’s Keeping Techonomists Up At Night?

Techonomy had recently planned to host an in-person gathering of our local New York community in lower Manhattan, in partnership with Knotel. We were very much looking forward to it, but unfortunately for obvious reasons the event was canceled. But instead of losing the collective wisdom of that diverse and eminent group, we asked them to answer one question for us—what keeps them up at night?

We’ve begun getting a variety of interesting replies, as you’ll see below. We will continue adding more comments as they come in, making this a sort of living document about what people are concerned about now. We invite readers to send us their own comments. (We may edit submissions for concision.)

“Coronavirus will have many repercussions. Some will be short lived. Some will last forever.  Many will be financial. But the unspoken one is a world put on pause.

The new normal in a coronavirus-struck world is one where planning and foresight seem futile. One where data, which we’ve until now touted as the only trustable reality, is either non-existent or loaded with conflicted conclusions.”

-Robin Raskin, founder, Living in Digital Times

“Automation may be a threat to the workforce, but not for a lack of employment opportunities. Economists generally believe that automation will create new sectors and new job roles in the economy––jobs may not so much disappear as they will transition. Businesses will demand new needs be met.”

-Emil Skandul, principal & owner, Capitol Foundry

“Two things. AI and AI enabled robots have the ability to unemploy a vast swath of humans or devalue their bargaining power in terms of wages. This could cause massive social unrest and bring dictators to power.  

The second is the ability of quantum computing to use blunt force computing power to thwart almost any and every form of cybersecurity. We get closer to that reality every day.”

-Marc Michel, founder & partner, Runway Venture Partners

“Computer science students in my “Creative Application Studio” class at Columbia are primarily juniors and seniors poised to join the workforce. They will do so subject to algorithms that scrape their resumes for relevant skills. The skills they’ve learned are a poor substitute for the passion and stories they bring to the class as they ideate and mockup novel applications. The tools companies and their proxies use (e.g. LinkedIn) need to be more sensitive and smart to really understand the potential of hopeful candidates, and to bring in new employees whose passions are fully engaged by organizations that are undergoing rapid transformation.”

-Gary Zamchick, adjunct professor, Columbia University

“What keeps me up at night? That we’ll see machines and humans as a binary proposition instead of a complementary one. The antidote to that kind of thinking, for me, is a line from a book I just published. The line is this: Keep the Human in Human Enterprise”

-Douglass Hatcher, founder & president, Communicate4IMPACT

Join the conversation. Tell us — What’s keeping you up at night? Email us: editorial@techonomy.com.

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