A Road Map for the Future

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The United States is playing on a 196-country chessboard, says Alec Ross. And technological advances are one way to play competitively.

Alec Ross, who served as senior adviser for innovation for former Secretary of State Clinton and is now a distinguished visiting fellow at Johns Hopkins University and the author of The Industries of the Future, offers his predictions for how geopolitics and the global economy will look for the next generation.

"I want this book to help people figure out what's next," Ross explains. "If the last twenty years was all about digitization and the internet, this book tries to light a little path into what's coming up."

And what's coming up? While Alec Ross was working as Senior Adviser for Innovation, he traveled to forty-one countries, exploring technological advances coming out of every continent. He found big markers of what's to come from startup hubs in Kenya to R&D labs in South Korea.

"I predict protests in the street regarding robotic labor," Ross tells Brian. Most of what robotic labor has displaced up until this point has been manual blue collar labor, but "that's changing." He predicts that within the next five years, a net loss of over 5 million jobs in 15 major developed and emerging economies.

According to Ross, robots won't only change the workforce but family life as well:

"Just as Japanese companies reinvented cars in the 1970s and consumer electronics in the 1980s they are reinventing the family," Ross writes. "The robots depicted in the movies and cartoons of the 1960s and 1970s will become the reality of the 2020s.” 

"Government should not be a solution in search of a problem," Ross responds when asked if technological advancements should be regulated. "Any time that we have dialed back scientific and technological progress what that tends to mean is that society is not doing particularly well."