We live in an era of unprecedented change where technological innovation is proceeding at a rate with no parallel in all of human history. The information revolution and globalization are radically disruptive. Technological change is affecting all aspects of our lives and challenges century old ideas.
At the Emtech France conference, entrepreneurs, innovators and scientists went on stage to present their work, ideas and projects in four major areas: mind (cognitive technologies), social (socially motivated technologies), smart (AI, new technologies) and work. This year’s conference organized by the MIT Technology Review put people at the center of the technological revolution that is under way. However, have we evolved enough to face the challenges posed by today’s technologies?
Mike Lewis, the conference’s keynote speaker and founder of the When to Jump online platform shared the importance of taking chances while looking into the future in a field full of possibility. Launched in 2016, the platform features people’s stories and ideas who have made the decision to leave something comfortable to chase their passion. On the Emtech stage, he presented four companies that are making waves in four major sectors: agriculture, transportation, energy and healthcare. The founders of these companies have taken a leap of faith and have created something that they believe is the future.
Towards the end of his presentation, Lewis asked the attendees to think about the one thing that what will be remembered and went on to talk about the ground breaking discovery of the Antikythera mechanism which is considered to be the first computer dating back to late second century BC.
We are living in a high tech era when ground breaking discoveries are made, but in 2,000 years from today what will be remembered as the most treasured technological advancement of our time? It is hard to imagine which idea or invention will be as revolutionary that will impact many generations to come, yet according to Lewis, there are certain elements that could ensure its longevity. First, people have to be willing to take risks and then be able adapt to change. “As humans, we cannot continue with behaviors that might make sense today, but won’t have a place in the future. Also if we are looking forward, we must first look back”, said Lewis.
Mike Lewis’ ‘when to jump’ story
At the age of 24, Mike Lewis was working as an investor at a Boston firm but what he really wanted to do, was to play squash professionally. But how easy is it to leave a promising career in order to chase your passion? As he considered this possibility, he sought advice from people who had done just that. They had “jumped”, left their job and pursued their dream. “Through these conversations I began collecting stories, with the common thread being that each person left something comfortable to pursue a passion. I stumbled into people from all over: ex-bankers, electricians, scientists, journalists–people from all walks of life who left the safe inertia of their own circumstances to try and do what they really wanted to be doing”, explains Mike Lewis. As he started sharing these stories with friends and family, he realized that people were really interested in hearing them. In 2013, Lewis “jumped”, left his job and spent 16 months traveling across the globe playing squash professionally. In 2016, he launched When to Jump and since then, the stories featured on his platform have become an inspiration to many who find themselves at crossroads.
His book When to Jump: If the Job You Have Isn’t the Life You Want will be coming out in the U.S. in January 2018 with a foreword by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.