Dimitris Dimitriadis, Digital Futurist. Photo: Courtesy of Dimitris Dimitriadis
ATHENS – We are living through the fourth industrial revolution and every day we experience significant changes in the way the world around us works. Technology is evolving at breakneck speed, businesses are adapting to a new digital age, and human relationships are being directly affected by developments. If things change so fast in our present, what will happen in the future? Dimitris Dimitriadis, Digital Futurist, and CIO of TheFutureCats, and gives us the answers. How does he do it? By studying data and trends, he helps us better understand what awaits us in the future, how our daily lives will be shaped, what will be the even more revolutionary developments in technology, how human relationships will evolve.
TNH: What exactly does a digital futurist do? Can he really predict the future and how?
Dimitris Dimitriadis: Although on hearing the word “futurist” many may imagine predictions and curious, mysterious situations, the digital futurist is nothing less than a person studying scenarios for future, new technologies and tries to show the world what life can be like in the years to come. A “futurist” is not one who predicts the future, but one who explores the range of possible future situations that may occur. A futurist will never say that something will happen definitively (forecasting), but rather he will try to reveal, reshape, and possibly overturn basic assumptions we have about the future (foresighting).
TNH: We live in an age where technology is evolving at a dizzying pace. What will our professional life and our daily life be like for the next 50 years? What will be the most impressive achievements of technology?
DD: Technology was always evolving, but it was happening at a slow, steady pace bringing gradual changes to everyday life, mostly for the better. However, in the 20th century the pace of evolution of technology – mainly digital – was exponential, resulting in drastically influencing and transforming every sector of society.
Already, given the pandemic conditions, the working model has changed. “Hybrid work” is established in thousands of cases worldwide. In fact, a KPMG survey found that 69% of large companies cutting back on physical workplaces. Technology catalyzes the union of the natural and the decentralized workplace and this can only benefit us all. And it’s not just that. Soon, 7 billion minds will have access to the internet, the knowledge, the products, the services that exist worldwide. And that alone is going to bring about the launch of new technologies… Think of the possibilities we will have when Artificial Intelligence meets Quantum Physics or even closer when Robotics with Genetic Engineering create robotic equivalents of all human organs.
TNH: What will be the biggest challenge due to the technological development that the human community will have to face in the coming years?
DD: We will soon be able to redesign our body and brain function whether it is genetic engineering or connecting our brain directly to a computer, or even creating completely inorganic entities with artificial intelligence that will not rely at all on our organic body and the human brain. These technologies are evolving with incredible speed. We are essentially watching a race to develop artificial intelligence and genetics – which one day could allow parents, for example, to have children that are, for example, smarter or better looking.
This is a challenge that we will face in the coming decades, because for the first time in history we have the opportunity to create a real biological inequality. If these new technologies are only available to the rich or only to people from a particular country, then humanity will be divided into biological castes because of physical and mental differentiation through genetic and artificial intelligence.
TNH: How much will technological development affect human relationships?
DD: Many people imagine alienation, however a futurist knows that technology brings us even closer, having a positive effect on human relationships. A great example is the pandemic, in which technology played a catalytic role, since we all experienced something extraordinary through it. At a time when physical presence seemed unthinkable, it was technology that bridged the gap and brought us closer to our loved ones. We experienced birthdays, love affairs, births, and even deaths from inside a screen. Can you imagine how we would have experienced the pandemic 20 years ago? Can you imagine how many moments we would have lost, how many valuable experiences we would have been deprived of?
TNH: In many science fiction movies we see the collision of humans and machines. How likely is such a scenario in the future?
DD: Scenarios are just that – scripts! Machines will always evolve, but the goal remains one: to serve man. So, the more we improve and shape a machine, the easier it is to achieve its optimal utilization to solve problems that even today seem unsolvable. The possibilities and perspectives of emerging technologies will give a new dimension to modern reality. But in it man will always have a comparative advantage.
Dimitriadis “explores” the future and identifies the trends and new technologies that shape the world. His mission is to help us understand how society, human relations, and business will work in the future.
For Dimitriadis, human communication is always in focus. With an academic background in marketing and design, he became active in the world of digital marketing before Facebook was even created, and very soon became involved in communication and storytelling. He teaches Digital Marketing Analytics & AI at CITY College, University of York Europe Campus, and is a co-founder of TheFutureCats, an integrated digital marketing agency, and ENSYNaesthesi, a volunteering platform that aims to leverage crowdfunding to directly address the needs of homeless people.
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