Navigating Emerging Technological Change


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The study of technology is one of the most compelling ways of understanding humanity,” declared Michell Zappa, the Sao Paulo, Brazil-based futurist and emerging technology strategist who was the Summit’s lead-off speaker. “Designing and utililzing technology is at the core of what it means to be human,” he remarked.

Throughout his 30-minute presentation that was both provocative and informative, Zappa examined and questioned the technological status quo in our connected world. He called technology “an upward leveling force to make our lives better,” but added “It’s no wonder we’re scared to death when technology shape shifts.”

As a member of the millennial generation that he called “kids with access to broadband,” Zappa said he became technologically adept at an early age. Growing up in Stockholm, Sweden, which he noted was one of the first places to introduce broadband technology, Zappa embraced science fiction books and films.

Michell Zappa, emerging technology strategist, takes a sci-fi approach to the future.
He said his love of the science fiction informs his analysis of trends. “Good sci-fi can set the mind rattling and give us better foresight,” he said. “It helps us see what happens when what is scientifically possible becomes socially feasible.” To illustrate his point, he offered two science-fiction-like, future scenarios involving Wearables, Big Data and the Internet of Things.

Zappa observed that technology is accelerating the pace of life. “Today is the slowest day you’ll ever live through. Tomorrow will be faster,” he predicted. He believes that because of technology’s pervasive influence on our lives, we need to reconsider our relationship with it. “Get rid of the idea that technology is limited to physical objects,” he suggested.

The biggest agents of change are “kids with broadband” who are creating “a flexible and interactive future in which everything is up for grabs,” Zappa said. “Kids with broadband fix everything, without intermission, even if it doesn’t need fixing. We abandoned the world around us because we’re busy building a new one.”

Zappa stressed the necessity of coming to terms with technological change. “Suddenly the kids with broadband are asking how they can radically change your industry,” said Zappa. He urged the audience to listen and learn from them.

“Don’t panic,” he advised. “If you resist technology, you lose. If you ignore technology, you lose. If you deny technology, you lose.”

Zappa ended his presentation by urging Summit attendees to “Undo the chains of hierarchy. Lose your fear of falling forward.”

Michell Zappa
Emerging Technology Strategist
Founder, Envisioning Technology

Michell Zappa is a keynote speaker on emerging technologies. He has presented in both corporate and public settings and his 30-minute talks focus on how imminent technological changes are likely to impact society.

Zappa discusses what technology means, presents future-shocking technologies and extrapolates plausible science-fiction scenarios of the near future. His talks give recipients an edge in foresight thinking and aim to resonate a message of questioning veiled truths to improve our future. He has presented to executives at Vodafone, Tesla Motors, Twitter, Schiphol, KLM, Philips, Deutsche Bank & Samsung and he has spoken at Global Futures Forum, The Next Web & PICNIC.

Zappa heads Envisioning Technology, a technological trend forecasting firm that focuses on explaining where society is inexorably heading in the near future by extrapolating on current developments and advances in keynote presentations and visualizations. Envisioning Technology’s research facilitates understanding the field for those who work in technology by painting a bigger picture of where the landscape is heading. In this, the firm tries to guide both corporations and public institutions in making better decisions about their (and society’s) future.