Sense-Making in our Post AlphaGo World

John Seely Brown (JSB), Sense-making in our Post AlphaGo World. New mindsets and sense making strategies may be required. Given the crazy pace of change that we all love and hate, we, in this room, must be prepared to not only take on the emerging hard sociotechnical challenges, but also to deeply question our institutional architectures, our public policies, and forms of learning. All of these are entangled. Indeed, new AI – deep learning systems, for example – raise fundamental ethical issues while they also influence and enable new behaviors and social practices. This means that as technologists, we are now being thrown into the midst of some fundamental – if not ontological – questions. This talk will explore our rapidly changing, broadly connected and radically contingent world and the lenses needed to frame, or reframe, the challenges that technological advances have pushed forward. Making sense of all this on a daily base ain’t easy but each of us, in our own way, needs to step up to this challenge. A crisis of imagination is upon us. And we must find ways to overcome the tyranny of the present.

John Seely Brown was the Chief Scientist of Xerox Corporation until April 2002 as well as the director of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) until June 2000. A master integrator and instigator of productive friction, JSB explores the whitespace between disciplines and builds bridges between disparate organizations and ideas. In his more than two decades at PARC, Brown transformed the organization into a truly multidisciplinary research center at the creative edge of applied technology and design, integrating social sciences and arts into the traditional physics and computer science research and expanding the role of corporate research to include topics such as the management of radical innovation, organizational learning, complex adaptive systems, and nano-technologies. JSB is currently a visiting scholar and advisor to the Provost at the University of Southern California (USC) where he facilitates collaboration between the schools for Communication and Media and the Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT). JSB is also the Independent Co-Chairman for Deloitte’s Center for the Edge where he pursues research on institutional innovation and a reimagined work environment built on digital culture, ubiquitous computing, and the need for constant learning and adaptability.