radical Insights.

Weekly Research and Commentary on the Future of Business and Technology.

The Rise of Virtual Influencers.

Dec 13, 2021

Dear Friend,

As the year slowly but surely comes to an end, we start to hunker down for some downtime, catching up with some reading, and sharpening the axe. With our growing community and our extended focus on practical futurism and disruption, we will make a number of changes, additions, and run experiments with this newsletter throughout 2022. We always love to hear from you, get your feedback and exchange ideas — don’t be a strange; simply hit reply to any of our dispatches and let us know what you think.

Practical Futurism

You undoubtedly heard us talk about our friend Miquela Sousa, the Instagram-famous social media influencer who isn’t a person but rather a never-aging digital avatar with some very real 3.1M followers. That whole space has been heating up recently — not all that surprising given the craziness that is the Metaverse (or maybe more realistically the Icelandverse). In the tech world, you know that something has jumped the shark when people start inventing (and using) acronyms. SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, and now DHaaS – Digital Humans as a Service. We still believe the actual use cases (outside of lilmiquela delighting us with her quips about using WD-40 in her skincare routine) are somewhat limited — but do keep an eye out on the entire entertainment industry, which near certainly will see an uptick in digital actors, singers, and entertainers.

What We Are Reading

🦸🏽‍♀️ Achieving Gender Balance at All Levels of Your Company After my book on women’s empowerment was published in October, many have been asking what they can do to help women reach gender equality in the workplace. A new study addressing gender disparities specifically in promotion rates is a great start to understanding and taking action. Take a read and see where your organization could improve gender equity across the ranks. JaneRead

⁉️ How to Convince Yourself to Do Hard Things In order to get yourself to do hard things try: 1. Starting them when you’re in a good mood 2. Giving your brain the right autonomy 3. Practicing habits related to a growth mindset MafeRead

👩🏾‍⚖️ ‘Buy the Constitution’ Aftermath: Everyone Very Mad, Confused, Losing Lots of Money, Fighting, Crying, Etc. Everything that happened after a DAO (“decentralized autonomous organization”) tried to buy a copy of the US Constitution last month provides an instructive example of the kind of complex mess that exists beneath the hype of many purported web3 projects. JeffreyRead

👩‍🌾 A Utopia of Useful Things This is a fascinating historical perspective on our relationship with technology, from which we might just learn about today’s challenges. Challenges of growth, wants, and efficiency. JulianRead

🛩 Artificial Intelligence in the cockpit: Safety First or Profit First? As we deploy more and more AI systems in our everyday life, it brings up important questions as to what the true motivations, and thus trade-offs, will be. AI-Pilots anyone? PascalRead

Internet Finds

Everything you need to know about a utopian future where you will get your pizza delivered by little autonomous delivery robots… 🤖

In Case You Missed It

🏴‍☠️ The Heretic: Sometimes You Just Need To Be Okay With Yourself and the World

⚠️ Disrupt Disruption: Listen to our conversation with Dr. David Bray, Principal @ LeadDoAdapt Ventures, Distinguished Fellow @ Atlantic Council and Stimpson Center.

Radically yours, take good care, friend!

— Pascal, Mafe and the three Js (Jane, Jeffrey, and Julian)