Long Title: Dealing with Complexity and the Hope to Build Better Technology

Speaker: Patrick Scannell

Affiliation: Technestar LLC, Principal

Today’s tech is characterized by rapidly accelerating complexity, both in the densely layered technology itself, but also in the increasingly hyper-specialised people who are needed to build it. But each person who builds it, and certainly most people who use tech, have a diminishing ability to understand how the whole of the techno-ecological niche we have created for ourselves (what I term ‘the return of magic’).  I will outline the case for this argument, and then show that the problems associated with this phenomena are then amplified by an inherent characteristic of a complex system – lack of ability to know, understand, and predict system outcomes. Against the broad scope of human history, the result of these forces could represent a reversal of a trend that started in the Enlightenment, but it also has very specific and actionable consequences on the day-to-day work of the tech industry and on Digital Privacy of our customers.  This talk will aim to frame the problems, but in a constructive way that allows us to begin to build and adopt better technology, which could scaffold a better human experience.

Pat Scannell is a technology and telecom industry consultant who is a world leader on 5G and the co-evolution of technology and cognition, specializing in innovation and commercialization of emerging technologies across a wide range of industries. He has led major transformative projects in a variety of tech categories, from the early days of the Internet, up through the emergence of the Internet of Things, smart grid, big data, and now 5G. Most recently his 5G work includes leading/advising the US Government and the DOD on their strategies, as well as negotiating some of the world’s largest and most disruptive 5G commercial deals. Academically he researches the intersection of cognition and emerging technologies, and he has 4 books in various stages of publication focused on this area.