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Between Worlds

Author: Mike Walsh

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Between Worlds is a technology podcast that takes you over the horizon and beyond borders, to bring you the global thinkers, innovators and troublemakers whose ideas challenge the world as we know it. From a courtyard cafe in Paris, to a busy sidewalk in Tokyo - each week futurist and global nomad, Mike Walsh, will share his personal conversations with some of the most fascinating people on the planet, recorded live in the field.
156 Episodes
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I met Simon in the late nineties in Sydney when he had just started Australian Fashion Week. After the huge success of that event, he sold the business to IMG International, and went on to found Ordre, a business-to-business online wholesale marketplace for luxury designers, which has recently taken on Alibaba Group as a strategic investor. Catching up at his office in London, we had a fascinating chat about the use of AR/VR by global fashion buyers, the challenges of serving dynamic global consumer markets, the emergence of algorithmic fashion design and how AI will change the future of retail.
Christine is one of the most talented and thoughtful technology leaders around today. Currently CIO at Questrade, she was recognized in 2017 as a Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner. We met at a Gartner event where I was presenting on an early version of my 'Algorithmic Leader' idea, and as someone that exemplified many of those values, I was keen to continue our discussion about what she had learned from leading successful digital transformations. In particular, I was curious about the results of their ‘Spotify-style’ agile transformation at Questrade, the impact of automation on their organization design and why the most valued people in her team were ’T-shaped’ rather than ‘I-shaped’.
Will AI-assisted IVF be the new normal when it comes to having smarter and healthier children? This, and other provocative questions are at the heart of Jamie Metzl’s brilliant new book, ‘Hacking Darwin’, which argues that we are at the dawn of a new genetics revolution. In Jamie’s view, our DNA is becoming as readable, writable, and hackable as our information technology. What will this mean for humanity as we start to reengineer our own genetic code and radically change our lifespan and capabilities?
As AI moves out of research labs and into the real world of commercial applications, we will increasingly see the rise of AI products. Whether it be detecting fraud in financial transactions or optimizing supply chains, while you won’t need a detailed knowledge of machine learning models to take advantage of the next generation of AI tools, you may well require an appreciation for confidence intervals and a new approach to making decisions. On a trip to Toronto, I caught up with Karthik Ramakrishnan, Head of Industry Solutions & Advisory at Element AI. We spoke about the near-term challenges of embedding AI decision-making in organizations, and why just as important as getting algorithmic products to work with people, will be getting the products to work with each other to make complex, synthesized decisions across the company of the future.
I met Jason in Las Vegas while speaking at the National Automatic Merchandising Association show. The vending industry is uniquely placed to be a testing ground for the intersection of data, consumer behavior and autonomous retail solutions. Jason, who is the CEO of AI startup Hivery was originally selected as part of an innovation accelerator organized by the Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta. Tasked to take Coke assets and create a new business model, they came up with an AI platform designed to transform retail decision making. Catching up backstage in Vegas, we spoke about the future of machine learning, and what it might take to build a complete retail AI technology stack.
Robotic process automation is a tempting proposition for many leaders: who wouldn’t want the ability to replace your processes with cheap algorithms that can run 24/7? However, the real benefit of automation is not efficiency or cost-savings, but the opportunity to rethink your entire operating model. I spoke recently with some of EY’s automation clients in New York, and one of the most interesting chats I had was with George Kaczmarskyj, a principal within EY’s Financial Services advisory practice, who leads Robotics and Intelligent Automation for Americas Financial Services. In this episode about the future of automation, we spoke about the similarities with the early days of electricity when companies also struggled to reinvent their paradigm and business models.
Rob Tercek is a fascinating thinker and futurist. His most recent book, VAPORIZED: Solid Strategies for Success In A Dematerialized World, was selected as a winner for the 2016 International Book of the Year by GetAbstract. I met Rob a number of years ago at the METal networking events in LA. As a pioneering executive for MTV, Sony and OWN, as well as an entrepreneur in disruptive startup ventures, Rob has long been at the forefront of critical thinking about the digital world. Meeting up at LACMA, we discussed a wide range of topics from placeless innovation to the challenge of tech-driven inequality, the myth of perpetual growth to algorithmic management, smart contracts to the economic fallout from a data-driven future.
Despite being one most traditional and conservative sectors in the world, insurance is a sector primed for digital transformation and reinvention through AI. I met Phil Armstrong, the Global Chief Information Officer and Executive Vice-President at The Great-West Life Assurance Company while speaking at event for them in Toronto. Great West Life is a 32 billion dollar financial services holding company with interests in the life insurance, health insurance, investment and retirement savings, and reinsurance businesses. Armstrong has been a key driver of adopting automation to transform their operating model, and we spoke about the challenges of embracing AI while maintaining legacy platforms, digital ethics, his vision for a ‘factory of bots’, and the new kinds of algorithmic talent that companies will need to thrive in this environment.
I met Tiffani a number of years ago when we were both speaking to an audience of business leaders focused on digital transformation. I was struck by her pragmatic message around navigating the difficult choices that surround achieving sustainable growth, and was keen to interview her for my show. Tiffani is the Global Customer Growth and Innovation Evangelist at Salesforce. Prior to that she spent ten years at Gartner as a distinguished analyst and research fellow. Catching up with her in Los Angeles recently, we spoke about her latest book, ‘Growth IQ’, and what leaders need to be thinking about today as they plan their next smart move.
Mark Pesce on life in 2030

Mark Pesce on life in 2030

2019-02-1100:30:50

Mark Pesce has been living in the future for longer than just about anyone I know. He was one of the original pioneers of virtual reality, having invented VRML, the standard for 3D on the Web and a core component of MPEG-4. He is the author of 6 books, including "VRML: Browsing and Building Cyberspace", "The Playful World", and, most recently, "The Last Days of Reality". We caught up recently in Sydney where he now lives, to talk about the coming age of algorithms and the perils and pleasures of what it will be like to live in the AI-haunted world of the near future.
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