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Future-Proofing Your Team: Navigating AI and the Metaverse, with Theo Priestley

Updated: Nov 6, 2023

The convergence of technologies like AI, Blockchain, VR, and Metaverse will reshape society and the future of work. How are you preparing your business and your workforce to adapt and leverage AI to your advantage?

I am very fortunate to have been joined by Theo Priestley to get insights on AI, Metaverse, and the future of work. Theo has been recognized as a top influencer in areas like Blockchain, Fintech, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence. He is the author of the book, The Future Starts Now. In this episode, you will hear about the future of AI and Metaverse, how it can impact your business, and what you should do now to prepare your team.

Episode Outline and Highlights

  • [01:28] Exploring AI's Impact on Society and the Future of Work.

  • [04:32] Equipping the Workforce for AI Adaptation.

  • [09:11] Theo's Vision of the Future for Businesses and Technology.

  • [15:36] Addressing Bias Risks and Ethical AI Implementation.

  • [19:41] The Regulatory Landscape's Influence on AI in Tech.

  • [25:01] Nurturing Critical Skills in Your Team.

  • [29:58] Debunking Misconceptions and Discussing the Future of the Metaverse.

  • [34:42] Theo's Unique Perspective as an Anti-Futurist.

  • [37:03] Insights on AI-Induced Doom-Mongering.

  • [39:30] Theo's Approach to Staying Informed in His Field.

Equipping the Workforce for AI Adaptation

Theo firmly believes that AI is going to reshape the future of work. Theo says that AI has a significant impact “in terms of the levels of automation and task handling that it can do but also in terms of scientific discovery, medical breakthroughs, et cetera. Because of the amount of data that it can handle. Because of its ability to look for patterns that we often miss.”

What does this mean to tech businesses moving forward? Theo sees AI advancing rapidly in the coming years, requiring businesses to reimagine workflows and retrain workforces. This is how he puts it, “how we retrain that workforce is something I think a lot of businesses are going to have to think very long and hard about because the knee-jerk reaction is to bring in consultants and then talk about a headcount reduction and cost savings and things like that. And then they go, well, we're going to retrain the organizer, retrain the displaced people, and give them better things to do. But retraining those exercises costs a lot of money, which will eat into the cost savings that they were looking for. So there's a really strange balance that will need to be taken into effect here.”

He then shared how some large corporations such as Accenture and WirePro are investing to train their staff in the AI language model. If you own or currently leading a tech business, what steps are you taking proactively to ensure that your team is equipped to utilize AI as an advantage?

Theo and I also discussed critical topics on Artificial Intelligence - the regulatory landscape, the importance of ethics, overcoming bias, and dealing with AI-induced doom-mongering.

Debunking Misconceptions on Metaverse and What the Future Holds

You will also hear insightful discussions on the future of the Metaverse. Theo was CEO of a company called Metanomic, which was a Metaverse analytics platform that he then sold. I wanted to hear Theo’s thoughts on the future of Metaverse in the next decade as it seems to be a controversial topic.

Theo first debunked the misconceptions on Metaverse. “I think it's important to say that the Metaverse is not a destination. It's not a virtual world or a video game or it's not Roblox and it's not Fortnite and we don't have to sit and log into our computer and create an avatar and run around and collect coins and things like that.”

He shared his thoughts on how Metaverse will look in the future and how businesses are able to leverage this as a platform. As a takeaway, customers will demand engagement across realities. Seamless experiences across physical, digital, and augmented worlds will be an advantage. Theo shared how Nike is a very good example in terms of having physical stores and augmented reality platforms.

Why Theo Considers Himself an Anti-Futurist

We also talked about the concept of being an “anti-futurist.” He considers himself an anti-futurist for a good reason: “The futurism should be which is what are the possible timelines and futures probable, which are preferred and which are not preferred. And it's always the role of a futurist to actually chart these out and give people a choice of which future that they want to build.”

Theo engages in anti-futurism to examine the consequences and choices of future technologies. By adopting a pragmatic and realist approach to futurism, considering the potential risks, consequences, and alternative paths, users are able to engage in decision-making based on informed choices.

About Theo Priestley

Theo has over two decades working across various industries and held exec roles in software companies focusing on product management and marketing. He also bootstrapped and raised funding for personal ventures, mentored startups within top accelerators, wrote a book on the future, and did everything else in between.

Theo has appeared on many podcasts, written over 300 articles across publications including Forbes, WIRED, HuffPost, and VentureBeat, and given keynote talks across the world. He has been featured on multiple thought leaders and influencer lists in the past on topics relating to virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and emerging technologies and continues to write articles that get people talking.

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Rebecca is the Founder and Director of The Lucent Group. She has extensive talent acquisition and executive search experience supporting digital and technology businesses through complex changes and fast-paced scale-up periods. She works with businesses advising on C-level, technical, and commercial appointments, workforce planning, strategic talent management, recruitment processes, and associated technology and employer brand development. She has led and built successful teams, led numerous C-level, VP, Director, and Head-of searches, and designed and implemented outsourced recruitment solutions. In 2019 she helped a FinTech client secure a place in LinkedIn’s Top 25 Start-ups in the UK. Rebecca is a member of the REC (MREC), a qualified career coach, Certified Interviewer (CI), and has professional qualifications in FinTech, HR, Leadership, Digital Marketing, Diversity, Unconscious Bias, and Talent Management.


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