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The Four Biggest Innovation Challenges We Must Solve Over the Next Decade

Ultimately, it's about humans rather than technology

Every era is defined by the problems it tackles. At the beginning of the 20th century, harnessing the power of internal combustion and electricity shaped society. In the 1960s, there was the space race. Since the turn of this century, we learned how to decode the human genome and make machines intelligent.

None of these were achieved by one person or even one organization. In the case of electricity, Faraday and Maxwell established key principles in the early and mid 1800s. Edison, Westinghouse and Tesla came up with the first applications around the turn of the century. Scores of people made contributions after that.

The challenges we face today will be fundamentally different because they won't be solved by humans alone, but through complex human-machine interactions. That will require a new division of labor in which the highest level skills won't be things like the ability to retain information or manipulate numbers, but the to connect and collaborate with other humans.

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