Futurist & Digital Strategist | TV & News Personality
Jesse Hirsh is a futurist famer who brings an outsider’s perspective and literal critical distance, operating from his farm in rural Eastern Ontario. Yet this is no ordinary farm. Wired up with high speed fibre optic Internet, the Academy of the Impossible engages in a wide range of research regarding agriculture, media, technology, and culture.
With almost 30 years of professional experience as a public speaker, facilitator, and broadcaster, Jesse can perform in any media environment, stage, office, or metaverse. His passion for media extends into the world of technology, and he is best known for his knack for translating the bleeding edge of tech into the practical world of business and civil society. He has an MA from Toronto Metropolitan University in algorithmic media, and his current work focuses on the rise of automated media, as well as the governance and ethics of artificial intelligence, data protection, and privacy.
As a Futurist Jesse has had the privilege of working with and across a wide range of sectors and industries. This has involved working with senior sectoral leadership and companies, helping them understand the opportunities and challenges they face, while also helping them articulate their vision and value proposition moving forward. However it also means Jesse has spent time researching the future of these industries while collaborating with individuals and organizations that are transforming them.
Jesse has an infectious energy that lifts spirits and enables creative critical thinking. He’s always learning, sharing, and helping others to do the same.
Over the last two decades technology has enabled a wave of patient centric tools and approaches that have the potential to revolutionize medicine and health care. Yet the pandemic provided the emergency to apply and embrace many of these tools, in some cases with tremendous positive impact. One example is Vaccine Hunters, the volunteer, discord based, online community that helped North Americans get their vaccines as quickly and easily as possible. Another has been the patients and families struggling to get care and attention for their long term COVID related symptoms. Both of these give us glimpses into the future of health care, as technology enables patients to organize and mobilize communities of care. What does this mean, and how can traditional institutions adapt and leverage this emerging innovation?
The pandemic has transformed work and learning, compelling individuals and organizations to embrace technology, in some cases without necessary preparation or training. As a result, not everyone understands the new tools and environments, especially when it comes to surveillance and productivity monitoring technologies. The consequence of bad or annoying technology is the erosion of trust, which is tragic, given how crucial trust is for a functioning organization. The alternative is to leverage technology to foster trust, and to enable a broader organizational culture that rewards rather than punishes. As we exit this pandemic, there’s an opportunity to strike a balance between work and life, and in particular use technology to reinforce our humanity, and enable work environments that empower people to do their best.
We live in a technology-driven society where almost all the world’s knowledge is available to us on our mobile devices. The key question becomes, what are we going to do with it all? Knowledge alone is not enough, we need each other, as the secret to success is both social, and interactive. The world is our classroom, and technology allows us to be simultaneously students and teachers. While automation and artificial intelligence have an important role to play in making education as accessible as possible, we cannot forget that learning is what makes us human, and knowledge increases in value the more it is shared. That’s why the future of education is peer to peer, on demand, and in abundance. Learning as we go, sharing what we know, and building knowledge networks to ensure we all benefit from the process. This is the pedagogy of the Internet, and the path to our collective prosperity and success.
The wheels are coming off the AI hype machine and many of the technology’s promises and potential are not coming to pass. As companies reassess their investment in automation and machine learning, it is worth digging into the substance of Artificial Intelligence. What it can do, what it can’t do, and why you need to manage bias and risk, even if your only relationship with AI is as a user of search engines and social media. While the limits of AI are becoming clear, there’s still much it can and will do, transforming society along with it. This raises the question of what businesses and governments need to know, in order to move past the hype, and use the technology responsibly.
Farming continues to be a significant source of innovation as farmers hustle to make the most of their land and livestock. Robots, automation, and technology, in general, are enabling a new era in agriculture that has the potential to address global hunger, and climate change, and ensure we all have good food to eat. However, all of this depends on how the technology is used, and more importantly who controls it. As farms become smarter, the opportunity is not just better agricultural practices, but a better relationship between the grower and the eater, and everyone in between. The pandemic illustrated how brittle our food supply chain can be, and the economic crisis it induced has left many farmers struggling to survive. How can technology and transparency ensure sustainability and success?
For the past couple of decades, governments around the world have recognized the power and potential of digital technologies but have been slow to adopt them, for a wide range of legitimate reasons. However the pandemic has induced a genuine urgency as governments wrestle with the combined challenges of remote work for their civil servants and the demand from the public for digital service and program delivery. Most governments have been relatively successful in responding to this crisis, however there’s still no end in sight. How can governments continue with their upgrade amidst this ongoing pandemic? What is working? What’s not? What does the future hold for digital government? How can we adapt? How can we lead?