Erica OrangeErica, you are our keynote in Silicon Valley. How would you introduce yourself to our audience?

I’m a futurist. I reflect on short and long-term trends and I focus on the changes that will reshape the future.

What can our audience expect from your presentation?

I’m going to try to un-trap their minds and teach them how to see things through “alien eyes.” We need to clear out our cobwebs, and I’m going to encourage them to get out of their own comfort zones. All industries go through change, and have always done so. What is changing now is the speed of the change.

What is important to know about trends?

Every trend has a counter trend. The counter trend is the opposite force. The counter trends do not happen despite the current trend, but because of the trend. Picture this: you see that the same people who line up for the latest iPhone are wearing vintage clothes and enjoying buying vinyl LPs from a secondhand store. The trends and the counter trends are expressed by the same individual. The future is not about “or,” it’s about “and.”

The future of our industry is very much influenced by the development of technology. What technology trends are you seeing?

Most industries fear the risk of human disintermediation. All technologies that are developed for “non-carbon life formats” are very threatening, and have always been. Therefore we need to learn what the new skills humans need to acquire. The answer is: skills that cannot be replaced by robots. Creativity will be a cornerstone! We need to develop soft values like empathy, social skills, cultural nuances, ethical stand points and so on. When recruiting, we will have to look for “mindkind” rather than mankind.

We are in the language industry; what do you think is the future of language?

To answer that question, we need to understand the next generation. We are now focused on the Millennials but it’s more important to look at generation C, the Cybrids. This is the first generation that has a total symbiotic relation with technology and reality. So, the cybrids will learn language in an entirely new way. Traditional language needs will change with software and technology. Cybrids will not see boundaries; they will be impatient and require instant information the easiest and fastest way possible. Images and emoji will replace the need for words. “One image says more than a thousand words” has never been truer.

So how can one prepare for the future?

While change is a constant, the real story today is about the pace of change, which is rapidly speeding
 up and causing major disruptions to happen faster than ever before. It’s harder and harder to plan for the future as the change itself is changing at an exponential speed. My advice is to keep your future strategy valuable and flexible, but stay loyal to your vision. Stay true to how you want to reinvent your future.

What are some of the takeaways for our audience?

Learn how to understand the change and the new pace of the change. Be prepared to constantly de-learn and un-learn.

One last note before we go?

Educate yourself on the new pace of change, learn where the trends are going and what they mean, both in terms of threats and opportunities. The future will happen with or without you!

Thank you Erica, we are looking forward to your keynote address on 2 November at #LocWorld35