Which Tech Will Help Deepak Chopra Live Forever? Deep, Practical Or Commoditized?
Last week AI Foundation and Deepak Chopra announced a new app. The world-famous mentor and coach reached the stage of his life in which life’s end demands consideration. What will happen when Deepak is no longer? Will people not benefit from his experience and wisdom? Can Deepak cheat death and continue to share his knowledge even after he is gone?
There is a solution to Chopra’s expected end of life, and it will come in the form of an app. An app powered by AI. This future app will learn all of Deepak’s logic and will leverage existing and future technologies to create a Digital Deepak, which will converse with each user personally and will improve over time.
It’s your own personal Deepak.
Beyond Chopra’s Teachings, There Is Another Bit Of Wisdom Hidden Within This App.
Not all of the technologies needed to launch this app are available. On one extreme, we need a sophisticated level of Intelligent Automation to replicate the real Chopra into a believable Digital talking copy. Should one wait until these capabilities are available before launching such a service? The answer is no because, in the middle ground, there are emerging technologies such as Machine Learning that can help build the required knowledge to start and duplicate Deepak. On the other extreme, there are proven technologies such as a mobile app, that can provide access to millions of users, even if the full Digital Deepak is not entirely ready yet.
We can name the three phases of technology needed to build the digital Deepak as “Deep Tech,” “Practical Tech,” and “Commoditized Tech.”
As an innovator, entrepreneur, or corporate decision-maker, the critical question to consider is which technology falls into which category, and how to best leverage each technology to maximize the business value for your company? Should your company invest it’s time and budget in Deep Tech, Practical Tech, or Commoditized Tech? Which will provide you with the highest business value?
Which Technologies Are “Deep Tech” And Should You Care?
When a new technology appears, often, not all of the layers of its stack are complete, and we can’t yet build a product with it. The use cases of this technology are theoretical. We believe that once more of the required tech stack will be developed, some use-cases will become possible. These use cases hold tremendous promise. A promise so big, it is worthwhile investing in creating the technology and completing the needed tech stack. Once complete, we can leverage this tech stack to launch new products and services to the market.
As an example, Quantum Computing falls into the category of “Deep Tech.” Quantum Computing holds a tremendous value that will redefine the world of computing. The potential is there. But, for us to build an end to end product that leverages the promise of Quantum Computing, an entire stack needs to be made. A hardware layer, a software layer, and an application layer.
In the case of Quantum Computing, some parts of the Tech stack exist. Enough to experiment and theorize on use cases, but not to deliver any real business value.
Another example of “Deep Tech” is Autonomous Vehicles. While the Use Case is clear, completing the needed tech stack is proving to be a massive challenge:
To identify if technology falls in the domain of “Deep Tech” and if your company should invest it’s time and budget in this technology, ask yourself these three questions:
- Who has the right to play?
- What is the state of the use cases made possible by this technology?
- What is the business value of this technology?
In the case of “Deep Tech,” the typical answers to these three questions are as follows:
- Who has the right to play? Companies that have the ability to invest heavily in Research and Development. That is because..
- What is the state of the use cases made possible by this technology? The use cases made possible by this technology are still theoretical as the needed tech stack is incomplete. Therefore revenues are further away…
- What is the business value of this technology? Creating IP, understanding future use cases, branding, and positioning as an innovator in the space.
Do these answers describe your company?
What Is Practical Tech.
The beautiful thing about Deep Tech is that as it evolves, through development and experimentation, the pieces of the tech stack fall into place. Finally, we can build a commercial product. With the capabilities of this newly available Tech, we can solve a specific use case and deliver tremendous business value.
Practical Tech describes the moment Deep Tech begins to have practical use cases. And these are not just any use cases; these are use cases that can create new business value in two ways:
- Re Solve The Already Solved: when we say a problem is “solved,” we expect it to go away. “I had a problem with a leaking roof, but now I fixed for good” type of thing. In reality, however, most problems never go away; we find a solution, and when technology provides us with new capabilities, we can revisit this problem and solve it in a better way. Think of getting from point A to B. Our great ancestors walked barefoot, and the hero of the day was the inventor of sandals. The problem of getting from A to Be persisted, but could be tackled with greater ease. Next, someone domesticated horses, and later the carriage and the car were invented. The learning here is that innovators and entrepreneurs always have one eye on the “Deep Tech” of the day and another on potential use cases. They ask themselves a simple question: can I solve problems that have been “solved” before in a better way with this newly available technology?
- Solving the unsolvable: every industry has those nagging problems that don’t have a solution. Mostly because the technology that could solve these problems, does not yet exist. But now, if due to the hard work of the folks working on evolving Deep Tech, the stars align, and a part of some Deep Tech can solve one of these nasty problems, you got it, Deep Tech is becoming Practical Tech.
An example of a Practical Tech use case is “autonomous warehouse robots.” While the video above explains why deploying autonomous technology for the use case of cars is still further away, the video below shows that for a more straightforward use case (warehouse) autonomous technology can already deliver real value:
Our second phase is Practical Tech:
- Who has the right to play? Innovators, entrepreneurs, and early movers. That is because..
- What is the state of the use cases made possible by this technology? Emerging. Can we solve a problem with a new and emerging Tech? Which means there are two business opportunities…
- What is the business value of this technology? Solving old problems in a better way or solving problems that could not be solved before.
Is this a space where your company should play?
What Is Commoditized Tech.
The last phase of any technology is when it becomes commoditized. For any technology, this is the start of the end, because, at some point, Practical Tech will do its magic by solving old problems in a better way or solving the unsolvable. It will chip away from Commoditized Tech by offering a better alternative to an already solved problem. Once email became prolific, sending those stamped envelopes disappeared.
Still, some thrive in this world. In the world of physical products these are the “Czars of the Cents.” These are operators that work at scale; they can shave cents off any Bill Of Materials, manufacturing processes, and supply chains. These operators look for proven use cases. Using their superior “cent cutting” expertise, they can make a profit off of selling washing machines, or miniature umbrellas for cocktails. In the digital world, these are the companies that can operate at a mass digital scale.
As an example, Lane Departure technology is an example for a once “Deep Tech” use case, which evolved to Practical Tech, and is now becoming commoditized:
Considering our three questions, for commoditized tech:
- Who has the right to play? Companies that operate as scale. That is because..
- What is the state of the use cases made possible by this technology? Proven use cases, therefore..
- What is the business value of this technology? Established low-risk Tech, so operations and service delivery can run at full scale
Do these answers describe your company?
So Which Tech Can Help Deepak Deepak Chopra Live Forever?
The intelligence part of the solution is more hype than reality. This capability falls in the realm of “Deep Tech”. For every individual to have an intelligent and personal conversation with Digital Deepak, more development is needed. It may be that the “AI Foundation” is willing to invest in delivering such an experience in the future.
The Learning part of the app is already here. Machine Learning is a Practical Tech. In this case, we can use it to solve an old problem, such as personalizing Deepak to every individual in a better way. We can also start and solve a previously unsolved problem, such as having a conversation with a digital representation of a deceased person.
The “App” side of the app is Commoditized Tech. It also serves as the start of a new cycle. First, get the app into as many hands as possible using a proven “Commoditized Tech.” Next, use “Practical Tech” to improve the user experience. In parallel, invest in “Deep Tech” capabilities that will evolve into “Practical Tech” opportunities over time.
This chart summarizes an approach that considers Deep Tech, Practical Tech and Commoditized Tech from a business value creation perspective: