A Washington Post Bestseller
Winner of the 2017 Axiom Business Book Award in Business Technology
Amy Webb is a noted futurist who combines curiosity, skepticism, colorful storytelling, and deeply reported, real-world analysis in this essential book for understanding the future. The Signals Are Talking reveals a systemic way of evaluating new ideas bubbling up on the horizon-distinguishing what is a real trend from the merely trendy. This book helps us hear which signals are talking sense, and which are simply nonsense, so that we might know today what developments-especially those seemingly random ideas at the fringe as they converge and begin to move toward the mainstream-that have long-term consequence for tomorrow.
With the methodology developed in The Signals Are Talking, we learn how to think like a futurist and answer vitally important questions: How will a technology-like artificial intelligence, machine learning, self-driving cars, biohacking, bots, and the Internet of Things-affect us personally? How will it impact our businesses and workplaces? How will it eventually change the way we live, work, play, and think-and how should we prepare for it now?
Most importantly, Webb persuasively shows that the future isn't something that happens to us passively. Instead, she allows us to see ahead so that we may forecast what's to come-challenging us to create our own preferred futures.
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About the Author
Amy Webb is an author, futurist and founder of the Future Today Institute, a leading future forecasting and strategy firm that researches technology and answers "What's the future of X?" for a global client base. Her future forecasting work has been featured in the New York Times, Harvard Business Review, Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Fast Company and more. Her research has also been cited in several academic papers. She is a lecturer on the future of media at Columbia University, and this fall, she will join NYU's Stern School of Business as an adjunct professor to teach a new course on forecasting the future of technology. She was a 2014-15 Visiting Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. She founded Webbmedia Group (FTI's predecessor); co-founded Knowledgewebb Training, which facilitates hands-on workshops; and co-founded Spark Camp, a next-generation convener that facilitates important conversations on the future of a better society. Data is being adapted as a feature film, which is currently in production. Her previous book Data, a Love Story is being adapted as a feature film, which is currently in production.
Table of Contents
Introduction: "Hello, Are You Lost?" 1
1 The Instructions 13
A Futurist's Playbook for Every Organization
2 When Cars Fly 41
Understanding the Difference Between Trend and Trendy
3 Survive and Thrive, or Die 71
How Trends Affect Companies
4 Finding the Fringe 93
Seek Out the Unusual Suspects
5 Signals Matter 133
Uncovering Hidden Patterns
6 The "Uber for X" Trend 163
Ask the Right Questions
7 Is It Realty Awesome? 195
Know When the Timing Is Right
8 If This, Then That 213
A Formula for Action
9 Greetings, Robot Overlords 233
Pressure-Testing Your Strategy
10 Reverse-Engineering the Future 261
Glossary of Concepts and Terms 285