How might a robot have implications for your brand? Suppose a robot delivers a pizza to your home, serves it to you with a soda, and then washes up the cutlery and dishes in the kitchen. “If you are Coke or Pepsi, and a humanoid robot is pouring the drink, does that mean you now have to market to the company that sells the robot? Does it mean you have to invest in a language learning model? [more on that below] If the robot is doing the dishes, does it pick that PNG product that’s sitting there to do the dishes with? “

This is one of the scenarios Sandy Clark posed to people who want to be an AI first leader. Her talk at SXSW in Austin focused on the concept of “Business Disruption,” which she believes is going to unexpectedly hit a lot of businesses.

Have you heard of mood jackets for your employees? “They are being tested today in factories in Asia to determine if you need a break every hour for 15 minutes, or do you have a specialized way when you need a break: it can sense when you are hot or cold or sad. If you’re a manager on the shop floor, do you now need to think about change management? How can you explain to factory workers they are now wearing a jacket that’s collecting very personal information about you?” Clark said these two scenarios are 5-10 years away from happening.  

“I hope one message you take away from this session is that you need to stop resisting, and start learning about this new technology.” She mentioned Waymo, the driverless vehicle firm, which already has a presence in Austin. They are planning to make their vehicles available to the public here later this year.

Clark discussed seven trends that will shape the upcoming AI world.  The use of generative AI is going to be ramped up by 80% of enterprises in the U.S. this year. “This is the highest of any technology ever adopted,” she said. The increase of automation from Gen AI has already been an astounding 25%.

Turning her attention to multi-modal learning models: no longer are learning models just accepting text. “They’re not just scraping the internet,” Clark explained, “they are looking at video, sound, text and images. They are taking these multi modes of data, which is really game-changing.” She found close to 40 models already available. “I predict by the next SXSW there will be thousands!”

Bu using multi-modes, Clark said the AI “will learn like you do. It will have richer data analytics allowing for deeper insight.”

To highlight what she meant by another trend, the Experiential Age, Clark showed an image from a Star Trek: Next Generation TV show. “I am a Star Trekkie,” Clark freely admitted. “In the holodeck, you could make up anything and go into it. That’s the age we are entering into. In the holodeck, you actually saw virtual beings – that is where we are today.” I experienced this at SXSW when I donned a VR headset to experience the 18-minute experience Shadowtime. In it, I was surrounded by virtual beings who were gazing at a rotating cube. [Shadowtime is a production from Turkey; for more on it visit] It is now possible to enter a studio recording by Alicia Keys: walk around her and the musicians for an immersive experience. Art galleries are now instituting such experiences too.

Clark showed a winding roadmap which began with mainframe computing about 50 years ago. By the 1980s we witnessed the personal desktop in our homes, and now we have mobile computing in our phones. The next step is spatial computing. “What is going to happen to the world? Well, the world is going to completely change!

To learn more about how Clark envisages the future, I recommend getting her new book: The Tiger and the Rabbit: Harnessing the Power of the Metaverse, WEB3, and AI for Business Success. It is by the publisher Wiley.

Photo: Sandy Carter with Dr Cunningham

By Dr. Cliff Cunningham

Dr. Cliff Cunningham is a planetary scientist, the acknowledged expert on the 19th century study of asteroids. He is a Research Fellow at the University of Southern Queensland in Australia. He serves as Editor of the History & Cultural Astronomy book series published by Springer; and Associate Editor of the Journal of Astronomical History & Heritage. Asteroid 4276 in space was named in his honour by the International Astronomical Union based in the recommendation of the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Dr. Cunningham has written or edited 15 books. His PhD is in the History of Astronomy, and he also holds a BA in Classical Studies.