Confronting What it Means to be Human in ‘Digitally Transformed World’ at CommunicAsia2016 and BroadcastAsia2016

The next 20 years are likely to bring more changes to humanity than the past 300 years – these are the words of Gerd Leonhard, Futurist and Founder and CEO of The Futures Agency – a man The Wall Street Journal has dubbed as “one of the leading Media Futurists in the world.”

Leonhard predicts that in the next five years, globally increased connectivity, super-computing and vastly more powerful interfaces will bring about exponential changes in how we communicate, how we consume media and content, how we transact and do business and how we learn and design our future.

Speaking at this year’s CommunicAsia2016 Summit and BroadcastAsia2016 International Conference, Leonhard will deliver the combined Visionary Address title “The Next 5 years in Global Digital Transformation” on 1 June 2016 at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore.


Offering a preview to the highly anticipated session, here is Leonhard’s take on what the future will bring:

1. Global Digital Transformation: the 10 ‘ations’ that will impact every business

According to Leonhard, global digital transformation is bringing about an age of digital “ations” that all beg the question: what will it mean to be human in a digitally transformed future? Gerd’s “ations” include: mobilisation, digitisation, screenification, disintermediation, automation, virtualisation and robotisation.

We are already nearing the pivot point where very few ideas seem to actually remain in the realm of science-fiction for a long time. In a world where connectivity flows like water, we can expect intelligent software and machines of all kinds to play an increasingly larger role in the future of communication, and drive gargantuan growth in the video and radio streaming industries. In the coming years we will see OTT become the new normal, and computing become invisible.

2. Limitless and Ubiquitous: Connectivity will Flow Like Water

Leonhard took his prediction of the age of ‘ations’ a step further by stating that with the world becoming increasingly hyper-connected, technology will become omnipresent – it will become normalised and a part of the very fabric of our environment. He emphasised that this will change the nature of our interactions and fundamentals of our environment whereby, “everything that can become digital will indeed become digital – coining this era as one of “smart-everything”.


Leonhard went on to express that this will have a monumental impact upon society, culture and business in the near future. The future presents us with the means to revolutionise industrial processes and increase efficiency through advances such as “smart farming”, “smart logistics” and “smart transportation”. On the other hand, with artificial intelligence feeding big data and the Internet of Things, Leonhard cautions that our new age of hyper connectivity will also exponentially heighten the present challenges (such as piracy and cyber-security) and it will become of utmost importance for us to tackle the unintended consequences of this hyper connected, borderless world – the age of digital ethics is here.

3. Digital Captives in a Limitless World

Security will become a priority – with technology becoming part of our everyday lives, society will be even more susceptible to threats such as cyber warfare. The implications of data losses or breaches will reach new heights as cyber criminals become increasingly savvy and technology begins to play an even greater role in personal enterprise, business and government. The vast movement of data will be further catapulted by high speed, cheap devices and easier access to technology.

The future of cyber security, predicted by Leonhard, will also lie in combining solutions and efforts to achieve an International Agreement on Data Standards and Digital Ethics. He stressed that a Global Treaty on Ethics and Security (including Artificial Intelligence) will be essential as technology is moving from outside of us to ‘on top of us’ to finally, ‘inside of us.’

Leonhard concluded by summarising that “the future is about identifying and managing the balance between maintaining our humanness in a highly automated and technologised world: embrace technology but don’t become it! “

As a top-rated futurist, with over 1500 engagements in the past 15 years and a combined audience of over 1.5 million people, attendees can expect Leonhard’s visionary address to highlight near-future, ‘nowist’ observations and actionable foresights in the sectors of humanity, society, business, media, technology and communications. He will also share his view on the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for ICT professionals in the Asia Pacific region as we continue our path towards a hyper connected world.