‘While You Were Sleeping’


This excerpt is from a January 16th New York Times op-ed piece by Foreign Affairs columnist Thomas L. Friedman. The piece is entitled ‘While You Were Sleeping’. It’s about artificial intelligence and quantum computing. Friedman is an author and reporter with three Pulitzer Prizes and six bestselling books to his credit.

“Two and half years ago I was researching a book that included a section on IBM’s cognitive computer, “Watson,” which had perfected the use of artificial intelligence enough to defeat the two all-time “Jeopardy!” champions. After my IBM hosts had shown me Watson at its Yorktown Heights, N.Y., lab, they took me through a room where a small group of IBM scientists were experimenting with something futuristic called “quantum computing.” They left me thinking this was Star Wars stuff — a galaxy and many years far away.

“Last week I visited the same lab, where my hosts showed me the world’s first quantum computer that can handle 50 quantum bits, or qubits, which it unveiled in November. Clearly quantum computing has gone from science fiction to nonfiction faster than most anyone expected.”

He ended with:

“I just thought I’d mention that Star Wars technology is coming not only to a theater near you, but to a job near you. We need to be discussing and adapting to its implications.”

Someone you care about is starting to think about what comes after university for them or their children and how they’re going to earn a living once they put their books away for the last time. They should know that while they were sleeping, artificial intelligence and quantum computing were having an impact on what we’re all going to be doing for a living and how we’re going to be doing it. That includes creating opportunities to do for a living what no one has ever done before. And it’s been happening without fanfare. Impressive, considering that the world’s first quantum computer was invented by Burnaby, B.C.’s privately held D-Wave Systems Inc. D-Wave was founded eighteen years ago in 1999.

Deloitte and the Human Resources Professionals Association describe these times as the (Artificial) Intelligence Revolution. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said recently, “Technological displacement is a real issue. There will be new kinds of jobs. Without the technological breakthroughs, we’re not going to have enough growth, and that’s not going to be good for anybody.”

We and our children need to discuss and understand the implications of what Friedman, Deloitte and the HRPA, and Nadella were referring to. I conceived Personal Due Diligence (PDD) in October 2012 to help them. Not after their children graduate from university but starting two years before they graduate from high school.


Two Programmes

PDD 1: Pre-University

This fixed-length programme is built around 6 questions and begins two years before high school graduation:

  • What kind of work does your child want to do?
  • What effect is technology having on it?
  • Is demand for it growing, static, or shrinking?
  • What education does it call for, how much will it cost and who will be paying for it?
  • What evidence do you have that that work will exist when the time comes and that your child will be qualified to do it?
  • If your Plan A fails to pan out, what’s your Plan B?

We sit with parents and their children for an hour once a month for 24 months. In that hour, we’ll assign them projects in how to test their assumptions using the latest market intelligence available. We’ll evaluate the quality of the work they do on each of those projects before they proceed to the next. Final decisions about what to study, where and why will be their responsibility.

PDD 2: Adult

This variable length, transition counselling and job search programme is for clients with a minimum of 2 years of working experience. We’ll address but not be limited to:

  • Their employment objectives
  • Work history
  • Job search
  • Research
    • Résumé preparation
    • Interview skills
    • Networking
    • Social media and internet resources

To learn about the PDD process, please click here. For bios of the people of PDD, please click here. Click on the ‘88 Must-read articles… and counting’ tab at the top of this screen for insights into the relationship between work and higher education.

These are life-shaping and life-altering decisions and they touch all of us. They deserve due diligence. The process starts with a no-charge, exploratory telephone call or e-mail.


F. Neil Morris
Personal Due Diligence

905 273 9880

skype: fnmorris