The Lead: Investments in Quantum Computing, Co-Founder of Skype’s New Mission, Measuring the Success of Education

Investments in Quantum Computing

Quantum computing is an emerging vastly powerful computer architecture. Its processing can take place in multiple states simultaneously, giving it the potential to solve extremely complex problems that are either impossible or would take years for today’s computers to solve. Quantum computers have “entanglement,” or the ability of qubits to correlate with each other so that each is aware of the state of all the others, so quantum computers grow in power exponentially as qubits are added. IQM Finland, a quantum computing startup, raised $13 million in seed funding to help it build hardware to potentially fix quantum errors and ideally, drive greater adoption of quantum computing.

Our View: Emerging technologies will reshape how we work and do business in the future. Everything from how work is done, where it’s done, and who completes it to the very nature of work itself will dramatically shift. Creativity, problem-solving, listening, interpretation, and design skills will be paramount, and continuous learning and adaptation will be prioritized over having a specific knowledge set. Further Reading

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Co-Founder of Skype’s New Mission

Jaan Tallinn, a co-founder of Skype, has a unique philanthropic cause to work on “AI alignment” or in other words, aligning the interests of an AI with the interests of humanity. Tallinn describes his mission by saying, “The overall idea that caught my attention that I never had thought about was that we are seeing the end of an era during which the human brain has been the main shaper of the future. And as we hand over that future to non-human minds, the future might be really, really weird. We are so accustomed to humans being the king of the planet that it’s kind of unimaginable for us how different it might be.”

Our View: In the short-term and beyond, it’s highly unlikely AI will match human creativity. Even though human brains are imperfect, nondeterministic, and partially analog, our ability for spontaneous thought, innovative thinking, and a desire to challenge the world are all distinctly human qualities that can help us establish alignment between human society and AI. Further Reading

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Measuring the Success of Education

Education policies don’t always transcend international boundaries. National and cultural contexts must be taken into consideration. In 2000 the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) launched a global academic benchmark for measuring student outcomes by testing 15-year-olds. OECD launched the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) to enable countries to make cross-national comparisons of student achievement using a common metric to increase human capital. In 2021, PISA will assess creative thinking, including flexibility in thinking and habits of creativity such as being inquisitive and persistent. In the 2024 assessment, students’ digital learning will also be tested.

Our View: Measuring the success of education for the world’s youth is not unlike measuring the success of leadership development programs for organizations across the globe. Develop metrics and ways to track them prior to building and enacting leadership development training. Consider prioritizing the measurement of only a few projects, because success in one area will often have a “halo effect” that gives stakeholders confidence about the integrity of their other solutions. Further Reading

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Digital Transformation in the Oil and Gas Industry

Multi-stage hydraulic stimulation and horizontal drilling are new technologies in the oil and gas industry that are unlocking trapped resources and transforming the U.S. from one of the world’s largest buyers of crude oil and gas to one of its largest sellers. Digital innovation will also affect the oil and gas industry both directly in the business and indirectly through the adoption of digital technologies in other sectors. For example, when suppliers offer high-quality 3D printed parts for oil and gas equipment, costs will decrease and the time to value for resource production will be accelerated. Printing a part locally also lowers greenhouse gas emissions by reducing shipping costs. 3D printing is just one example of a digital transformation that could transform entire supply chains in the oil and gas industry.

Our View: Key traits have been identified for leaders of digital transformations. These leaders are experimenters (and calculated risk-takers), partnership seekers, and forward-thinking opportunists. They are open about addressing concerns and fixing problems, and while they are adaptable to change, they remain purpose-driven. Further Reading

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Artificial Vision

Pieces of “smart” glass that can recognize images without requiring any sensors or circuits or power sources has been developed by engineers with support by a Young Faculty Award grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Ming Yuan, a collaborator on the research and professor of statistics at Columbia University, said “The true power of this technology lies in its ability to handle much more complex classification tasks instantly without any energy consumption. These tasks are the key to create artificial intelligence: to teach driverless cars to recognize a traffic signal, to enable voice control in consumer devices, among numerous other examples.”

Our View: A rising need for innovation speed permeates every industry. The best way to speed up your innovation is to apply lean processes and develop a prototype that you can get out for customer feedback. Set and follow the right metrics (the best-performing innovators measure and incentivize teams on their overall achievement of company goals), and assign the right people and resources to the tasks. Further Reading

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