To give a short personal impression: let us know what are your top 3 books everyone today needs to read and top 3 tech gadgets one needs to have?
My top three books are 1) Homo Sapiens and Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari, 2) The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan and 3) Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance.
My top three gadgets are my MacBook Pro, My iPad and my iPhone, with that I can run my business from anywhere in the world.
You are one of the most known influencers on social media. What makes you so successful and what kind of secret tips are you able to share?
My objective is to help others understand emerging technologies and inspire organizations to use these technologies to ensure sustained competitive advantage. I write a weekly article on these topics, which I share with my followers on my website, LinkedIn and on social media. My objective is not to sell anything when writing, but to inform and inspire.
You are an expert in AI, Blockchain and Big Data. If you would need to differentiate those topics and put them into an order when which technology will disrupt our societies. How would that look like?
Big data analytics is already used widely within organizations across different industries and already it has become the driver for competitive advantage. The technology for analytics is here and can already provide great insights for organizations. Of course, these insights will become better when the technology becomes better. Blockchain is here, but the decentralized ecosystem still needs to be developed. This takes time, you could say Blockchain technology is where the Internet was in 1996. Although, it will not take that long to become mainstream. The developments are going really fast and money is pouring into the technology. AI seems to be already really advanced, with examples from Alpha Zero Go. However, AI is still limited to very narrow tasks. It will take a long time before AI becomes Artificial General Intelligence and we can use it to solve some of the most pressing problems in the world.
What effect do you think will AI and Big Data have on society - and the workforce of today?
The effect will be immense. Emerging Information Technologies as I like to call this, will have a profound effect on society and the workforce. I agree with the estimates that many jobs will disappear and, hence, it is important for governments to prepare their society for a future where most of the mundane tasks are carried out by AI. In the future, however, also more complex jobs will be done by AI so we need to prepare ourselves for an AI-driven future.
What is your analysis of the blockchain ecosystem? What kind of trends and new use cases do you see?
Blockchain, or Distributed Ledger Technology, is changing everything. It will have an impact everywhere there are transaction and trust are an issue, which is in any industry. However, blockchain is a means to an end and organisations should not try to ‘blockchain everything’. The trends that I see are related to the technology, where slowly the required technology for a decentralised ecosystem is being developed, where slowly universities are starting to offer Blockchain programs to train the developers necessary to build that ecosystem and where many startups are raising billions using ICOs to build that decentralised ecosystem. Unfortunately, this also causes problems and there are many ICO’s that are a fraud, which requires regulation to foster innovation.
Tell us more about Datafloq.
Datafloq is the one-stop source for big data, blockchain and artificial intelligence. We offer information, insights and opportunities to drive innovation with emerging technologies. The objective is to provide organisations with high-quality content and authors with a fair platform to create and distribute their content on.
A lot of traditional companies are struggling to adapt to the rapid changes we witness today. In your opinion, what do you think are the biggest chances for traditional companies to use the digital transformation as a chance? What are the biggest hurdles and how should corporates overcome them?
The biggest chances for traditional companies is the technology, which becomes increasingly advanced and where increasingly ‘As-a-Service’ solutions enable organisations to get started with these technologies with limited investments. The biggest hurdle is the existing culture within organisations, which would need to change to see the value in a data-driven.
What would you recommend to young people that start their career today?
I would recommend them to follow their passion and to go into that direction that makes them happy. When they do that, they will automatically become good at what they do. Becoming good at something that you don’t really enjoy is nearly impossible, because it requires a lot of perseverance, focus and discipline to become really good at something.
Mark van Rijmenam is the founder of Datafloq. He is an expert on AI, Blockchain and Big Data, a highly sought-after speaker and author of the book Think Bigger and co-author of the book 'Blockchain: Transforming Your Business and Our World'. He is named a global top 10 Big Data influencer and one of the most influential Blockchain people. He is pursuing a PhD at the University of Technology, Sydney on how organizations should deal with Big Data, Blockchain and AI and he is a faculty member of the Blockchain Research Institute.