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Artificial Intelligence Is In, Zombies Are Out

Inc. asked future-focused experts how to make money in 2013 (and beyond). This distinguished fellow has four words for you: Zombies are played out.

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This article is part of Inc.'s special report on How (and Where) to Make Money in 2013 (and Beyond). Follow the links at the end of the story for more game-changing trends, bold predictions, and hot markets to watch next year.

 Jamais Cascio is a distinguished fellow at the Insitute for the Future. Inc. sat down with him recently to get his vision for the future.

Do we really need to worry about things that will happen 10 or 20 years from now?
Ideally, as an organization, you want to develop strategies and plans that are robust across the entire spectrum of possible futures. Forecasts are all going to be wrong--but you want them to be wrong in useful ways. Futurism is almost like a vaccination. You inject a little bit of a denatured pathogen to prepare your body in case you encounter it for real.

How do you imagine these possible futures?
One way is to look at technologies that are just coming out and think about how they can be abused. Product designers have their idea about how things should be used, but as William Gibson said, "The street finds its own uses for things." Take tablets. How are they going to be hacked into other things? Take anything new and think about how the designer would not want someone to use it.

You've done some work in the gaming and entertainment industries. What developments are you tracking there?
The advances in artificial intelligence in gaming--with nonplayer characters behaving more and more like humans--are just incredible. Any real breakthrough in AI is going to come from gaming. In entertainment, zombies are so played out. I have a gut sense that people are getting tired of apocalyptic scenarios. I expect we'll see more TV and movies, like Star Trek, that show a world that actually looks like a good place to live.

 

Last updated: Dec 7, 2012

ADAM BLUESTEIN | Columnist

Adam Bluestein is a frequent contributor to Inc., writing about health care, innovation, and new technology. He lives with his wife and two children in Burlington, Vermont.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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