OODAcast: Juan Enriquez On Technology, Ethics and the Future
Juan Enriquez has succeeded as a businessman, academic, author and lecturer. For those who might not have met him via any of his many appearances and presentations, he can be succinctly described as an authority on the economic and political impacts of life sciences and a thinker able to help frame the much needed discussions we all need to have on ethics.
He serves on the discovery council at Harvard Medical School and was the founding director of Harvard Business School’s Life Sciences Project. He is currently the managing director of Excel Venture Management, a life sciences VC firm. OODA is a community of practitioners so we want to underscore that he doesn’t just write and talk about tech, he founds and leads companies that create tech, including the firm that made the world’s first synthetic life form.
His many books have all stood the test of time. The now 20 year old “The Future Catches You” is a very prescient look at the world of biological sciences is still a good introduction to the field. The book lead to an important conclusion, that the many changes in the biological revolution will fundamentally alter everyone’s relative economic status and life expectancy and this will have consequences because only a few understand what is coming. He offered motivation to improve our collective ability to adopt and adapt to the coming era though agility in ethical, political and economic actions.
His 2005 “The Untied States of America” provided a new framework for looking at the many economic, political and social dynamics underway in North America and started frank discussions on where polarization and its dynamics were taking us, providing motivation to mend existing rifts when possible. The book is now important foundational reading for anyone who wants to understand our collective situation. It is also a good reminder that just because something has not changed in a while does not mean it will endure forever.
His book Evolving Ourselves takes on the fact that the old ways of evolution, driving by natural selection, is not the driver it used to be. Business leaders today need to understand that artificial selection and proactive engineering of life are forces in our new reality.
His latest book, Right/Wrong: How technology transforms our ethics, makes it clear that technology advancements are connected to how humanity interprets and applies judgement on what is right and wrong. Technology changes ethics. So now in an age of exponential change in technology, we need to understand and prepare for exponential changes in ethics. Leaders in business and government, as well as citizens, need to understand this will cause issues that disrupt markets and even our legal system. In the past, right and wrong and justice was something we tried to code into our laws. Laws already can’t keep up with changing tech and ethics. What will happen to our legal system when changes in ethics goes exponential?
In this OODAcast, Juan provides his personal context and useful mental models business leaders can put in place to anticipate how these many changes can impact business.
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