When my friend Cathy Hackl asked me to write the foreword for her new book with John Buzzell (@buzzxr) the answer was of course, “yes!” Not only is she a long-time friend, but the’s also a leading authority on virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and spatial computing. I geek out on this stuff! But when I actually read the manuscript, I felt lucky to have been asked. It’s an incredibly important and timely topic for every business and for entrepreneurs and dreamers everywhere.
Geek factor aside, the convergence of AI, AR/VR, and 5G (and beyond) has already set the stage for a new experiential canvas that spans digital, real, and hybrid worlds. This means that we need to think differently about how we navigate the future. What we know versus what we can dream is where this journey begins. And everything starts with reimagining…everything, how we interact with one another, with our environments, with space itself, how we work, learn, shop, play, and explore the undeveloped, nascent world ahead.
My only ask of Cathy and John was that when the book was released, that I could share the foreword with you here. Without further ado, please read the introduction to “The Augmented Workforce: How Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, and 5G Will Impact Every Dollar You Make.”
I’d love to hear what you think.
This Is the Virtual Sign You’ve Been Waiting For
Imagine you’re in the “Metaverse.”
It’s an incredible escape from the limitations of reality, as you explore new worlds, meet new people, and indulge in mind-bending experiences. You become someone else, the person you always felt you were meant to be. You feel alive and empowered to do so much more than you can accomplish when you unplug. You’re surrounded by amazing things and people you would never have encountered or met, otherwise.
This is more than escape. It’s the Metaverse. To you and millions of others, it’s a real world where you feel relevant, part of a community that’s exploring a new frontier. This. Is. What. Matters.
Avatars in these virtual worlds represent real human beings, and they’re paving the way for more than personal entertainment. They’re broadening their horizons, learning how to connect, learn, and express themselves in new ways while pushing the boundaries of reality itself. For those paying attention, our adventures in immersive realities are evolving how we communicate, connect, work, discover, and share. And when you come back to the real world, you start to question why it is you have to stop. “Why aren’t these experiences part of everyday life?” you ask yourself.
Well, that’s just how the world works, isn’t it?
The truth is that the way the world works today was imagined in a time that no longer exists.
Again: This. Is. What. Matters.
The systems originally built for basically all that we do today are failing. As society advances, dated infrastructure, mindsets, and metrics, not technology, hinder progress.
The future of how we live and work, our relationship with innovation, and our very construct for productivity and engagement, are overdue for a digital, physical, and hybrid renaissance. Who are our artists to imagine and create the future? Who are the da Vincis, Michelangelos, Raphaels, or Donatellos of our time?
The answer is: you.
That’s why you’re reading this. It’s also why Cathy and John wrote this book. You are, they are, we are all curious. We’re dreamers. We’re geeks. We believe that something greater lies ahead, because we’re already experiencing wonders in our personal lives: Artificial Intelligence. Augmented reality. Immersive audio. Virtual reality. 5G.
Why bring these experiences, our ideas, and our passions together to reimagine the future of work, business, engagement, and experiences? Someone has to. So, why can’t it be you? The future needs you to imagine forward—to engineer next-generation relationships between people, between screens and machines, and between virtual and real-world experiences. You can play a role in shaping the future you want to see.
As much as we want to forget it, 2020 was a pivotal year for us. Through disruption and chaos, we found a new way forward. We learned that we are more capable, resilient, and inventive than we previously gave ourselves credit for. But this isn’t the last disruption we’ll face. Another pandemic, climate change, social transformation, political shifts, and the unknown lie ahead. We’re also in the throes of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (“4IR”), which is completely reshaping, well, everything.
Think about it. If not now, when? If not you, then who?
Just because the way we live or work has “always been done this way” doesn’t mean that it is the best way or the only way forward. The 4IR is already forcing human workers to reskill and to reconnect with soft (although really hard) skills including creativity, critical thinking, empathy, problem solving, initiative, and active learning.
What we see and do can be augmented to bring the Metaverse to life in our work. The 4IR can power more incredible experiences that we haven’t yet seen, or even imagined. That’s why you play a more important role than you may think. You have an opportunity to envision the future, today. You can be the architect, the engineer—the builder of immersive, productive, and fantastical digital and hybrid experiences.
Look, I get it. It’s easy to find every reason why we can’t change the rules, throw caution to the wind, or immerse ourselves in something new and different without checking certain boxes first.
But change happens, with or without us. Change also happens to us or because of us. It really is a choice.
The same old thinking and beliefs will never change the world. As the saying goes, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” I believe that you believe the world would be a better place because of your ideas.
Thank you for coming along on this journey. You’re in good hands with Cathy and John. Together, you’ll not only transform how you work and live, but you’ll also make a dent in the universe. You’ll inspire remarkable changes in the design of how people, things, and places co-exist, communicate, and come to life.
I can’t wait.
About: The Augmented Workforce: How Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, and 5G Will Impact Every Dollar You Make
Business as usual is over. The age of hyper-change is upon us, and technology is at the forefront. Since the dawn of the microchip, exponential growth has defined modern technology. Today, entire industries are being upended by software, sensors, cameras, LiDAR, processors, and optics — all growing smaller by the day. Tech is pushing into every corner of our world, and businesses that ignore the disruption do so at their own peril. The end of the mobile phone is near, and the age of hyperconnectivity is here, with AR glasses, the intelligent edge, and IoT.
Led by globally recognized futurist Cathy Hackl and award-winning emerging-tech leader John Buzzell, this book will arm you with frameworks and examples to tackle the rapid disruption happening in every industry. This book is for business leaders who want to learn more about 5G, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and other emerging tech. We’ll explain how you can wield this new tech for scale and revenue growth. We’ve seen the effects of this technology on the workforce firsthand, both success and failure. Along the way, you’ll hear real-life examples from business leaders and the authors — industry experts in technology years in the making. By the end, you’ll be seeing the world through AR glasses and AI applications, and at the speed of 5G.
Get ahead of the competition and shape the future you’ll be ready to lead with The Augmented Workforce.
Brian Solis | Author, Keynote Speaker, Futurist
Brian Solis is world-renowned digital analyst, anthropologist and futurist. He is also a sought-after keynote speaker and an 8x best-selling author. In his new book, Lifescale: How to live a more creative, productive and happy life, Brian tackles the struggles of living in a world rife with constant digital distractions. His previous books, X: The Experience When Business Meets Design and What’s the Future of Business explore the future of customer and user experience design and modernizing customer engagement in the four moments of truth.
Invite him to speak at your next event or bring him in to your organization to inspire colleagues, executives and boards of directors.