50 Voices of the Future: Kirby Brady on analyzing regional economic trends

kirby_50voicesIn honor of UC San Diego Extension’s first 50 years, 50 Voices of the Future asks thought leaders about the trends, breakthroughs and social advances they foresee over the next 50 years.

Fantastic weather and world class beaches aren’t the only things that make San Diego attractive. The region is also a leading center for innovation and entrepreneurship and provides a range of economic opportunities for global business as well as a diverse makeup of residents who help offer a uniquely rich cultural experience. “It’s truly a world class city,” said Kirby Brady, director of research at the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation (EDC). In this role, Brady analyzes regional economic trends to help shape her organization’s efforts to expand a wide variety of industry sectors while supporting the talent pool that drives their success.

1. Why is the work you do important?

As a native San Diegan, I take pride in educating people on the tremendous economic assets and opportunities unique to this region. It is my hope that in conducting quality research and getting it into the hands of leaders and decision makers, we can help to shape the future of the region in a sustainable way that enhances our global competitiveness and economic prosperity.

2. What are the influential/exciting developments happening in your field now and why?

I believe the most influential developments are population growth and our changing demographics. The San Diego region is projected to increase by about one million people by the year 2050. Most people are surprised to learn that the majority of this growth is natural or “homegrown,” meaning existing residents having children, and so on. Not only that, but we’re also in the midst of a major demographic shift due to the substantial aging population. This growth, coupled with the rapidly changing demographic dynamics, is ushering in a whole new set of challenges for regional decision makers. Where can we build new housing? How do we enhance our transportation system to meet the mobility needs of a growing and diverse population? How do we ensure we are able to retain the talent we are graduating each year from our educational institutions? How do we attract and retain firms to grow our economy?

3. What’s the next big thing?

Big Data. It’s already a big thing, but I believe every aspect of life as we know it will be influenced by Big Data in the future – from healthcare and medicine to transportation and decision-making in government and businesses. For example, the use of predictive analytics in the field of medicine will allow doctors to tailor medication and treatment plans to any person on the planet based on their unique DNA. In the transportation field, Big Data will allow for a better understanding of how people travel – whether it is by bus, train, bike or car – and allow us to better understand travel patterns and the demand for different routes to alleviate congestion on the roads. These types of technologies are widely prevalent and in use today, but it’s going to play an even larger role in the future.

4. How big an impact will your field play in shaping the future of the San Diego region and beyond?

Every day we work with businesses to make sure they have the resources they need to thrive in the region. We’re actively promoting San Diego as a place to work, live and do business. At the end of the day, we’re focused on growing the regional economy and bringing good jobs here. So in a sense, our economy is like a garden; we’re planting the seeds and tending to it tirelessly to make sure it flourishes and remains healthy in the future. I believe the work we do, including telling San Diego’s story and conducting valuable research, is absolutely influential in shaping the region’s future, but our success and influence ultimately depend on working collaboratively with local government, community leaders and empowering citizens in the decision-making process.

5. Hop in to your time machine… what does the future look like for this field in 50 years? How can individuals/companies get prepared for what’s next?

The speed at which the world around us is changing is astonishing. At the very least, in 50 years we’re going to have a lot more people on this planet. These changes will undoubtedly bring challenges, but I also believe we have a tremendous opportunity to shape the future. The difference in whether or not we are successful as a society depends largely on how well we plan ahead. In San Diego, we’re still writing our story – and I would say the best way to prepare for the future is to embrace change. Get involved with the planning process in your community. Stay engaged, and let’s educate the next generation about the importance of public participation.

The San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation’s mission is to maximize the region’s economic prosperity and global competitiveness. The often work with other non-profits like UC San Diego Extension to encourage and support the local workforce in pursuing their educational and professional goals.


UC San Diego Extension and San Diego Supercomputer Center launch Modern Data Science Academy


Big data is now big business with companies of every size and sector. They are using it to improve performance and boost their bottom line. Because of that, there is a huge demand for those who can collect, crunch and curate the mountains of data available. In response, the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) and UC San Diego Extension have teamed up to create the Modern Data Science Academy to provide cutting-edge, hands-on training in data mining and data analytics.

The partnership is designed to leverage the technical skills of SDSC’s staff and couple them with UC San Diego Extension’s expertise in developing practical training and education programs. The classes will be held at SDSC and will offer credit toward Extension’s Data Mining Advanced Analysis certificate.

“We like to say that the Modern Data Science Academy is where education meets application,” said Karen Flammer, director of education, outreach and training at SDSC. “The goal is for participants to be able to make an instant impact on their companies and organizations by leveraging data to make better business decisions.”

An experienced team of researchers and leading practitioners from SDSC will teach workshops on a variety of topics to help individuals and companies acquire the skills needed to make better data-driven decisions. The first two workshops are scheduled for this October and will cover the essentials of data mining and database systems.

The two-day intensive workshops are designed to provide information quickly and effectively so participants can put their newly acquired skills to use immediately.

Hugo Villar, director of science and technology at UC San Diego Extension, said the Modern Data Science Academy is part of his organization’s mission to ensure that people have the advanced skills they need to fuel our region’s economy. For instance, Accenture, a consulting firm, found that 90 percent of its clients planned to hire people with data science skills, but 41 percent of those companies said that lack of talent was a challenge in implementing big data initiatives.

“We work very closely with companies throughout the region and they keep telling us that they need more people who can collect, store and analyze data,” he said. “This initiative will train the talent our companies need to be competitive in the global marketplace.”

The first workshop is Data Mining Essentials 1 and is scheduled for Oct. 12-13 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The second workshop is NoSQL Databases and is scheduled for Oct. 25-26 from 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. For more information, visit extension.ucsd.edu/moderndata.

50 Voices of the Future: Tam O’Shaughnessy on STEM education


In honor of UC San Diego Extension’s first 50 years, 50 Voices of the Future asks thought leaders about the trends, breakthroughs and social advances they foresee over the next 50 years.

As Carl Sagan once said, “We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology in which no one knows anything about science and technology.” Tam O’Shaughnessy, co-founder of Sally Ride Science and executive director of Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego, has worked for years to remedy that situation. As a career scientist and educator, she emphasizes the need to empower all students—especially girls and young women—to become scientifically literate and to master skills in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

(1) Why is the work you do important?

The work of Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego is important because our society depends on STEM. We need to make sure all students are literate in STEM so they can make informed decisions about their lives—their health, their communities and our planet.

Eighty percent of the fastest growing jobs in America require knowledge and skills in math and science. Our future engineers, software developers and data scientists need STEM skills, yet the workforce in these crucial jobs does not reflect who we are in America. Even though women make up 50 percent of the U.S. workforce, only 28 percent are employed in STEM fields. Historically underrepresented groups—Hispanics, African Americans, American Indians and Alaskan Natives—make up 26 percent of the U.S. adult population, but they account for only 10 percent of the workers in STEM jobs.

Science advances and grows when people from all parts of our society contribute. We face huge challenges—where will we get enough sustainable energy? How will we curb emissions of greenhouse gases? How can we contain disease epidemics? The solutions will come from science. We need to make sure we are tapping into the talents and creativity of women and men from all backgrounds to overcome those obstacles.

(2) What are the influential/exciting developments happening in your field now and why?

STEM is at the forefront of the education policy discussion these days. Educators, parents, lawmakers and corporate America understand the need for a STEM-literate citizenry, and they are taking steps toward that goal. There is a critical mass of people building on what research and classroom experience show works best in STEM education. This includes improving teacher preparation and establishing consistent standards and curricula across states.

When we achieve excellence in science classrooms, teaching and learning are dynamic. Students work cooperatively to share ideas and participate in discussions. They make predictions and talk through explanations, evidence and relationships between hypotheses and data. Students review and evaluate their own knowledge and revise their ideas based on new information. In an excellent science classroom, students are immersed in doing science as it is done by real scientists.

(3) What’s the next big thing?

The next big things are equity and excellence—in STEM education and, in turn, in STEM fields. Our society will reap countless benefits if we enable all students to be their authentic selves. We need to provide excellent educational opportunities for everyone regardless of gender, race, cultural or ethnic background, disabilities, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

(4) How big an impact will your field play in shaping the future of the San Diego region and beyond?

Making sure that all students receive an excellent STEM education will play an enormous role in shaping the future of San Diego and the nation. Equity and excellence in STEM education will impact everything from productivity and prosperity to innovation and quality of life. STEM literacy empowers people to make informed decisions in their personal lives—selecting nutritious foods, evaluating options for medical treatment or adopting environmentally responsible habits. STEM literacy also enables people to weigh competing arguments and reach valid conclusions on issues facing our society. An understanding of basic STEM concepts prepares young people for the future by developing critical thinking skills that are invaluable in any field of study and in any career.

Not all students want to pursue advanced degrees. There are opportunities in STEM for everyone. For example, half of all STEM jobs don’t require a four-year degree. These jobs pay an average of $53,000, which is 10 percent higher than non-STEM jobs with similar education requirements.

(5) Hop into your time machine…what does the future look like for this field in 50 years? How can individuals/companies get prepared for what’s next?

Fifty years from now, equity and excellence in STEM education will be realized. This is a lofty view of the future, but based on the progress we are making, we can achieve this goal. When we create a STEM-literate citizenry—and all that it entails—our country will be stronger socially and economically. Individuals, nonprofit organizations and companies can help realize this future by supporting their communities’ efforts to improve STEM education based on our current knowledge of how children and adults learn.

We invite you to more about Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego and other Pre-College programs that we offer at UC San Diego Extension.

50 Voices of the Future: Scott Robinson on human-centered design


In honor of UC San Diego Extension’s first 50 years, 50 Voices of the Future asks thought leaders about the trends, breakthroughs and social advances they foresee over the next 50 years.

When it comes to design, Scott Robinson thinks Frank Lloyd Wright said it best: “Form follows function—that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union.”  As the founder, president and CEO of FreshForm, an experiential branding agency, Robinson takes that advice to heart, leveraging human-centered design principles to grow and differentiate brands in today’s ever-changing digital landscape, including Acura, Honda, Ballast Point, Facebook, Intel, ExxonMobil, Qualcomm and University of San Diego. Robinson has been in the field of design and marketing for nearly 20 years and at the helm of FreshForm since 2001 and remains intensely passionate about the intersection of marketing, design, technology, innovation and consumer behavior in the digital age.

(1) Why is the work you do important?
Human-centered design is a creative approach to solving both large- and small-scale problems and is at the heart of what we do at FreshForm. I’m an advocate for design and what it provides as a competitive advantage for growth-oriented companies, organizations and institutions. At FreshForm, we combine design and technology to create what we call “experiential branding.” Good design matters because it helps alleviate frustrations, allows for efficiency, creates an emotional connection and can positively influence behavioral change.

At the community level, I’m involved with two important initiatives. One is called the Design Forward Alliance, which is an advocacy group promoting the value of design. Don Norman, the director of the Design Lab at UC San Diego, was the catalyst for the organization and an active advisor. The other initiative is the San Diego Brand Alliance, spearheaded by the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, which is helping craft a global brand for the region.

(2) What are the influential/exciting development happening in your field now and why?
I’m excited about the recent push to advance design education. Design thinking, which is a subset of human-centered design, is finding its way into K-12 and universities across the country. The newly opened Ideate High Academy in Downtown San Diego has a mission is to provide a rich, design thinking–based curriculum for creative high school pupils that incorporates student-centered learning, interdisciplinary challenges, college preparation, internships, empathic social responsibility and innovative thinking for the 21st Century. The Design Lab at UC San Diego is creating an exciting, vibrant design community that pervades the campus, cutting across disciplines, developing cross-campus projects, combining practice with theory. And the University of Texas hired Doreen Lorenzo to oversee a campus-wide initiative to integrate design thinking into the curriculum across the university. All of these institutions are developing a new breed of designers and innovators.

(3) What’s the next big thing?
I’m curious how design can (and will) impact artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT). These are two areas that will change our lives drastically in the next decade. Can we design AI to be more empathetic? Can we be connected emotionally to the IoT devices in our homes and offices? The key is designing for hyper-personalization and contextual awareness.

(4) How big an impact will your field play in shaping the future of the San Diego region and beyond?
San Diego is at an interesting and exciting time. The energy and optimism today is like nothing I’ve ever felt growing up here in San Diego. Design will be at the center of how the future will be shaped. Our choice is whether we embrace good design for our region or not. In the next 50 years, our population will grow by nearly 40 percent, which will mostly be coming from local growth. Due to climate change and rising sea levels, we could be one of the most impacted regions in the country. How we adapt to these factors is up to us. Human-centered design can bring together cross-disciplinary experts to work through ideas and prototype solutions to some of these major initiatives. Design can be the common thread — regardless of the challenge we face.

(5) Hop in to your time machine…what does the future look like for this field in 50 years? How can individuals/companies get prepared for what’s next?
I see two futures – one that is well-designed and one that is not. In 50 years, a well-design future allows for technology to scale as rapidly as it needs to, but our lives are better and less frustrating because of it. A well-designed future allows health care to be more personal and thoughtful, more predictive, preventative and accessible. A well-designed future allows autonomous vehicles to alleviate many accidents, and increase the speed and comfort in our travels. A well-designed future allows for our homes, streets and neighborhoods to embrace smarter technologies, while also making them more secure. A well-designed future allows for us to preserve the natural beauty of this region and this earth, while finding new ways to support the growth and expansion of humanity and technology.

Alternatively, a future that is not well-designed will create a world that is much more visibly and functionally complex and frustrating.

UC San Diego Extension offers a variety of design-related certificate programs and courses each quarter, as well as year-long intensive program in Graphic and Web Design. Learn more in an online information session.

UC San Diego Extension announces “The Next Fifty” scholarship recipients

50thLogoCMYKUniversity of California San Diego Extension has announced the 10 recipients for “The Next Fifty” scholarships, which is part of its yearlong 50th anniversary celebration. The scholarship program is UC San Diego Extension’s way to give back to the community by helping people prepare for what’s next. Awardees can use the $5,000 scholarship toward Extension’s courses and certificates.

Extension selected the 10 recipients out of close to 500 applications and the recipients represent a wide variety of interests and backgrounds. The recipients and their areas of study are:

  1. David Beatty for Business Analysis Tools and Strategies
  2. Lala Forrest for Art and the Creative Process
  3. Rami Husseini for Datamining
  4. Norma Lopez for Teaching Adult Learners
  5. Patrick Mazza III for Occupational Health and Safety
  6. Alexandra Southard for Business Intelligence Analysis
  7. Kathleen Stadler for Fundraising and Development
  8. Abigail Wattierrez for Sustainable Business Practices
  9. Ryan Williams for Community Research and Program Evaluation
  10. Jordan Woolsey for Translation and Interpretation (Spanish/English)

The scholarships were open to those with at least a high school degree or equivalent and who saw UC San Diego Extension as a way to advance their career or pursue their passions. The applicants were required to write a 500-word essay on how Extension can help them prepare for the future, which will be shared on Extension’s blog in the coming weeks.

Ed Abeyta, assistant dean of community outreach and director of pre-college programs for UC San Diego Extension, said “The Next Fifty” scholarships deliver on Extension’s mission to offer the education and training needed to ensure the region is prepared for changes occurring in everything from the arts to technology to science.

“UC San Diego Extension wants to be a positive force for change. For more than 50 years, Extension has been evolving its programs and educational offerings to meet the needs of San Diego,” Abeyta said. “These scholarships will help individuals stay ahead of the curve and get ready for what’s next and underscore our commitment to lifelong learning.”

In addition to the scholarship program, Extension has been publishing a weekly blog feature called “Voices of the Future,” which showcases thought leaders including UC San Diego faculty, industry and civic leaders as well as Extension instructors on the technological and social advances envisioned in the next 50 years. These stories are designed to cover a wide variety of topics and highlight the life-changing advances happening on campus, in the San Diego region, and in the education sector itself.

UC San Diego Extension has also offered a variety of public lectures and programs to deliver on Extension’s anniversary celebration’s core mission and message, which is to prepare individuals and institutions for change. Upcoming events include a panel on the Election 2016 that Steve Clemons, Washington editor at large for The Atlantic, will moderate and that will feature, Thad Kousser, chair and professor of political science at UC San Diego; Scott Lewis, editor of the Voice of San Diego; and Laura Fink, professional political consultant.

To find out more about UC San Diego Extension’s anniversary scholarships, blog features and events, visit http://extension.ucsd.edu/.

50 Voices of the Future: Thad Kousser talks politics and data


In honor of UC San Diego Extension’s first 50 years, 50 Voices of the Future asks thought leaders about the trends, breakthroughs and social advances they foresee over the next 50 years.

Nowadays political scientists are able to study and analyze more data than at any time in human history, with social-media sites and the rest of the internet offering a treasure trove of information about human behavior and its influence on politics. Such massive amounts of information can be overwhelming, according to Thad Kousser, chair of UC San Diego’s Department of Political Science. One of the profession’s biggest challenges, he says, is figuring out how to make sense of all this data in meaningful ways. He’s confident that the future’s best political scientists will take the same approach of today’s best practitioners: they will come up with compelling theories, find creative ways to test those theories – and follow the facts wherever those facts might lead.

(1) Why is the work you do important?

The political world is becoming more and more confusing, dynamic and high-stakes. Our challenges is understanding both the primal political instincts that have always motivated voters and candidates and how those translate into the new political world that we live in, which is increasingly online and high-tech. That’s what makes being in this field interesting.

(2) What are the influential/exciting developments happening in your field now and why?

Our department is trying to make sure we use smart analysis, shaped by rigorous theory, to attack the massive data sets being created by the internet. One colleague of mine at UC San Diego worked with Facebook to run an election experiment involving millions of people, which showed clearly that you’re more likely to vote if you find out that your social-media connections also voted. One of our new UC San Diego colleagues has done work on which blogs are censored in China and found that if you want to oppose the government, that’s ok. But if you want to mobilize people to get together against the government, that’s what they’ll censor. And she found this by analyzing millions of blogs that were censored and then ran a similar experiment where they put up lots of different kinds of blogs to see which ones would get taken down by the great firewall. So if you say, hey, I don’t like what the government’s going, they’ll leave that up. But if you say, hey, let’s all get together on a street corner to protest it, they’ll take that down. The point of all this is that gathering data is no longer the challenge. Making sure we learn about politics through that data is the challenge.

(3) What’s the next big thing?

Students coming to us over the next ten to twenty years are going to have such strong STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) backgrounds. They’re going to take this big leap forward in their ability to scrape the web, to use artificial intelligence, to quickly code and categorize data. We want to make sure political science is relevant to students and allows them to use those analytical skills to learn about and shape the political world. Also, we want to make sure we’re asking the right questions with all these massive data sets and high-powered tools.

(4) How big an impact will your field play in shaping the future of the San Diego region and beyond?

San Diego is at a time of major demographic transition that will lead to political transition. We have colleagues who are running surveys near the border. We have colleagues sending students out to internships throughout the city in political and community groups. We have a lot of scholars working with community non-profits to figure out how to turn out voters who are new to the country and new to the political process. Those are the ways that our discipline and our department will try to play a role in shaping San Diego.

(5) Hop into your time machine…what does the future look like for this field in 50 years?  How can individuals/companies get prepared for what’s next?

There will be new statistical techniques and new data sets that I can’t imagine. But what I hope is that they’ll be combined with what our discipline has always done well, which is immerse yourself in real political contexts so you can get a sense for how the political world works, then come up with hypotheses you put at risk with research where you can either confirm or disprove your hypothesis. That’s what makes political science a true science.

Thad Kousser is one of the panelists in an upcoming discussion featuring Scott Lewis (Voice of San Diego Editor-in-Chief) and Laura Fink (professional political consultant) and is being moderated by Washington editor-at-large for The Atlantic, Steve Clemons. A kickoff event for this year’s Politifest, the panel will examine how this year’s presidential election is fundamentally reshaping the political process at every level of government – national, state, and local – both now and into the future.

50 Voices of the Future: Dr. Kimberly Brouwer on tracking disease worldwide


In honor of UC San Diego Extension’s first 50 years, 50 Voices of the Future asks thought leaders about the trends, breakthroughs and social advances they foresee over the next 50 years.

Trying to reduce the spread of disease is an endeavor that can make a scientist pessimistic. There is always some new illness waiting to unleash itself on humanity. Dr. Kimberly Brouwer, a professor in the Epidemiology division of UC San Diego Family Medicine and Public Health and adjunct at UC San Diego Global Health, believes disease will remain a global problem for the foreseeable future. What’s encouraging, she says, is our ability to respond to these new threats far more rapidly than in the past. “With better surveillance and communications we can catch things much earlier than ever before,” she says. Decades from now, she predicts, we will be even more adept at mobilizing against whatever new diseases might pose the latest threat.

(1) Why is the work you do important?

There are always emerging infections we’re looking for. We’re looking for a better understanding of what causes disease and its transmission. Even for diseases that are well-known, epidemiology is very useful in that it can help you understand why certain people are more at-risk than others, why certain people are having a harder time accessing care or working under a certain treatment regimen than others. So it’s a very useful way to make informed decisions and provide the data that policy makers and health care providers need.

(2) What are the influential/exciting developments happening in your field now and why?

It’s becoming more and more interdisciplinary. I started out focusing on infectious disease epidemiology and then I got additional training in spatial epidemiology, where I was incorporating geospatial calculations and techniques into my studies. Instead of just working with surveys to understand people, we’re mapping where they’re located. Sometimes we even follow them in real time with GPS. It gives you a much better idea of where diseases are clustered, where they might be heading in the future, and what neighborhood factors might affect transmission. This helps you better plan where services should be located. Now we’re often using both quantitative methods – surveying people, measuring biological markers – and also qualitative methods, where I get anthropologists involved as co-investigators. So we’re really taking advantage of multiple disciplines and trying to treat public-health problems in a new way than they have in the past.

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(3) What’s the next big thing?

We’re really running to catch up with technology and media trends. I feel like the marketing field tends to be ten years ahead of public health. For instance, they were doing geospatial calculations long before us to look at where to build the next Walmart. Now we’re finally applying this technology to where to build the next health center. They’re also doing social-media type advertising to get people to use their services and that is something that we in public health should also take advantage of. Maybe we can generate that type of popularity for beneficial behavioral changes or getting people more informed about public health issues. It’s a moving target, I’d say.

(4) How big an impact will your field play in shaping the future of the San Diego region and beyond?

Hopefully it will play a big role. With climate change new disease vectors, such as different mosquitos, are entering the county. We also have a lot of population mobility, so you’re constantly facing the potential for new infections. These and other health changes are impacting many cities, although luckily people are getting more and more interested in the idea of prevention and better connecting people to services, from a public health but also from an economic perspective.

(5) Hop into your time machine…what does the future look like for this field in 50 years?  How can individuals/companies get prepared for what’s next?

If you’d interviewed people in the 1950s, they likely would have predicted that most infectious diseases would be conquered 50 years in the future. But I think what we’ve learned in the past several decades is that infections adapt and mutate and there’s constant surprises arising. It really speaks to the need for constant surveillance and constant vigilance. Fifty years from now, it may not be HIV, it may not be malaria, but there will still be plenty of infections that we’ll be trying to solve and treat. I think one main difference is that the pace at which we develop responses to them will be much faster than in the past. For instance, with Zika they developed diagnostics and are looking into vaccine development much faster than they have for diseases in the past. I would imagine that aspect of infectious disease epidemiology will continue to improve into the future.

Dr. Kimberly Brouwer is a professor in the Epidemiology division of UC San Diego Family Medicine and Public Health and an adjunct at UC San Diego Global Health in the School of Medicine at UC San Diego. She teaches Epidemiology II for the UC San Diego Extension Master’s degree program in Clinical Research.

50 Voices of the Future: Reid Carr on the destiny of digital marketing


In honor of UC San Diego Extension’s first 50 years, 50 Voices of the Future asks thought leaders about the trends, breakthroughs and social advances they foresee over the next 50 years.

Reid Carr’s life goal is happiness and work fulfillment – not just for him, but for his employees and the consumers he markets to. Carr is the president and CEO of Red Door Interactive, a San Diego-based marketing firm which also has offices in Carlsbad and Denver.

(1) Why is the work you do important?

I love understanding consumers and I love the psychology of it all and the tactics and putting plans together and that sort of thing. It’s highly engaging work. It’s creative, it’s inspiring – being at an agency and working with lots of different companies and understanding where their challenges are and what they’re trying to overcome.

I think that translates well to the people who work with me at Red Door. I think it’s what the company is built to do, just have a good day at work. I think it creates growth. I think it creates a lot of opportunity for people, which is important to the community at large because we can then serve the greater good with what we learn. A lot of us serve on community boards and non-profit boards. I think we’ve learned a lot of things that can apply to helping to make the world better.

(2) What are the influential/exciting developments happening in your field now and why?

It’s called mixed reality – which is augmented reality and virtual reality. Augmented reality is this mix of the real world and virtual world. You can hold up a phone, for example, and the phone layers on stuff with the real world and puts virtual stuff on top of it so you could see what a house might look on a piece of property that’s actually still just a landscape, and the house doesn’t yet exist.

Another example of this is teaching someone, somewhere where they don’t have access to the equipment we have here, like how to perform a surgery, or how to fix a car. You can actually see that this thing should go there and the thing may not exist, but you would see where it would go and you would see it in practical real world vision and manipulation.

(3) What’s the next big thing?

Again, it’s all about mixed reality. What that will do in retail in the physical world is theoretically you can try things on, you can see your new room – like if you stand in the middle of the room – and see what your room might look like if you bought all this furniture or rearranged it in certain ways. Or what your house might look like as it’s being constructed in a certain area, looking and seeing what it might look like completed despite not having all the things there yet.

(4) How big of an impact will your field play in shaping the future of the San Diego region and beyond?

San Diego is just in this fascinating place that I don’t know that people recognize what our potential is relative to that world. We’ve got the huge prevalence of mobile, with Qualcomm. We’re the birthplace of analytics in many ways; Google Analytics was created here by a company called Urchin. You’ve got mapping the human genome here as a form of analytics.

We’re in this really unique area of the world with some really unique talent. We’re sitting within all of that, as the conduit to put the pieces together. The talent we have access to and the things that we have access to, I think we’re in a really exciting and interesting place to do all of that.

(5) Hop into your time machine…what does the future look like for this field in 50 years? How can individuals/companies get prepared for what’s next?

Where we’re at now with our expectations is, “I can have that item delivered to me within a day, two days, with time I should have it tomorrow,” type of thing.

The future expectation will be: “As soon as I think of it, I want it now.” So you’re able to say, “Yeah, I really love that pair of shoes,” and have them printed for you right then and there.

It’s hard to wrap our head around what that’s going to be like, but we need that spirit of creativity, that hopefully I believe will still live on, and give people the right message at the right place and the right time that motivates the kind of behaviors and impulses that we want.

Learn more about the future of marketing as Reid Carr imagines it, as well as the future of data science, in a range of courses and programs offered by UC San Diego Extension including Predictive AnalyticsWeb Analytics, Front End Web Development, Marketing, and User Experience (UX) Design.

50 Voices of the Future: Neal Bloom on finding the perfect job


In honor of UC San Diego Extension’s first 50 years, 50 Voices of the Future asks thought leaders about the trends, breakthroughs and social advances they foresee over the next 50 years.

In a few short years, technology has revolutionized the way we doing so many things, whether it be dating, hailing a cab, or finding a place to stay on a trip. Technology is also changing our job-search techniques. We used to rely on networking and a good résumé. Now we can use various websites that sift through billions of bits of data to help match our skill sets with the right employer. Neal Bloom believes new technology such as artificial intelligence will play a larger and larger role in helping us advance our careers. Bloom recently helped establish the San Diego office of Hired, Inc., a website that helps match employers with job candidates. He describes himself as someone who is “energized by helping others discover their calling.” In the future, he says, finding the perfect job, like finding your soul mate, will be a task made ever more precise by science.

(1) Why is the work you do important?

I think technology, mixed together with job creation, is really powerful. It’s giving people access to companies they never thought they’d work for.

(2) What are the influential/exciting developments happening in your field now and why?

The rise of Uber, Airbnb, online dating sites – algorithmic matching. This also applies to job recruiting. We’re in the third generation of HR technology. The first generation was Monster, job boards. The second was LinkedIn. Third generation is curated matching – the next best thing that’s happening. Computers are learning from recruiters how to judge talent. This is saving a lot of time on both sides. I see that on-demand mixed with (artificial intelligence) and algorithmic matching – that is driving a lot of hiring.

(3) What’s the next big thing?

With these new recruiting models being put to use in the hiring world, they’re starting with a pretty small field – the engineering world, mainly white-color workers. I think these models need to move faster and apply to everyone, from coal miners up to executives, CEOs. That’s where things are in the lab being tested right now, technology-wise. It’s obviously business-driven, so the places you can make more money is where the technology goes first. Engineers come with a higher salary than, say, a cleaning person. But either way, the whole goal is to find someone their dream job. And that’s where the technology should be headed. I see it going that way. I just think it needs more widespread adoption.

(4) How big an impact will your field play in shaping the future of the San Diego region and beyond?

I specifically brought Hired to San Diego to help companies in San Diego grow and grow faster. The talent in San Diego is great, especially on the engineering side. I wholeheartedly believe that using this technology will help bring the right talent to San Diego.

(5) Hop into your time machine…what does the future look like for this field in 50 years?  How can individuals/companies get prepared for what’s next?

People are staying in jobs less amount of time. And people are taking on more either remote work or side work – they call them side hustles, side gigs. So I foresee that in the future, you may not be looking for careers. You may be looking for the perfect place to apply your skill sets for some money for a limited amount of time. People will be much more flexible.

Learn more about the future of HR as Neal Bloom imagines it, as well as the future of data science, in a range of courses and programs offered by UC San Diego Extension, including the Human Resource Management Certificate, the Talent Acquisition Certificate, Data Analysis & Mathematics Courses and the HR LearnAbout Tour.

50 Voices of the Future: Paul Roben on how innovation can change the world


In honor of UC San Diego Extension’s first 50 years, 50 Voices of the Future asks thought leaders about the trends, breakthroughs and social advances they foresee over the next 50 years.

A person with some tech savvy and a big idea can transform the world, as we’ve seen from companies as different as Facebook and Uber. Now more than ever, colleges and universities are searching for ways to help students run with these ideas. UC San Diego’s Associate Vice Chancellor for Innovation and Commercialization, Paul Roben, believes he and his colleagues at other schools can help facilitate extraordinary advances in the next few decades in fields ranging from health care to climate-change. “I have a 2-year-old daughter,” he says, “and I can’t even imagine what the world will be like when she gets to college.”

(1) Why is the work you do important?

The world around us has changed. We’re now working in a real disruption economy, where all the rules of the old economy have been turned on their head. We run education programs to help educate students and faculty on “what is innovation, what is entrepreneurship, how do I tell my story, how do I build teams, how do I develop as a leader” so that they can go out and use their ideas to change the world. We give them the tools they need to help them on that journey from idea to impact, whether that be a commercial product, or a social innovation. We also support a lot of resources across the university — accelerators, incubators, entrepreneurs-in-residence, mentorship programs. All of this is to bring diverse perspectives together, and help people who have good ideas that they think are going to benefit people, turn those ideas into reality. And that’s really what’s important.

(2) What are the influential/exciting developments happening in your field now and why?

The biggest hotel company in the world, AirBnB, doesn’t own a hotel. The biggest taxi company in the world, Uber, doesn’t own a car. We’re working in a different world now. People now have the opportunity to really change the world with ideas, and the economy and society we live in allows them to do that. And data is driving everything – it’s driving sustainability, it’s driving climate change, it’s driving energy. Until now, we’ve been good at generating a whole bunch of data but now we have the ability to analyze that data in meaningful ways so that we can solve some real intractable problems that affect us all as a global society.

(3) What’s the next big thing?

Precision medicine is helping us to develop cures for diseases that were, up until now, incurable. In health care, bringing together wireless technology with sensors, with personalized medicine, is really going to empower individuals to take responsibility for their own health in ways we haven’t seen previously. I’m very encouraged about that. When we get to sustainability and energy, I think we’re going to see massive leaps forward over the next ten years, whether it be water, energy, transportation or climate change. Ten years from now, we’re probably not going to be driving our own cars, which means the idea of ownership of cars is probably going to go away, to some extent at least, which opens up massive possibilities for improving transportation and energy use.

(4) How big an impact will your field play in shaping the future of the San Diego region and beyond?

I think UC San Diego is one of the linchpins in terms of the economic development of the region. Our convening power, our ability to get people in a room talking to each other will play a critical role. We’re facilitators, and if we get the right people in the room, we will really help with all of this.

(5) Hop into your time machine…what does the future look like for this field in 50 years?  How can individuals/companies get prepared for what’s next?

I think if we do our job right, my profession may not be here in 50 years. What we’re doing is empowering people to run with their own ideas and turn them into reality. Today’s generation is taking so much more responsibility in their own hands, taking so much initiative. What I’m doing is helping them to open their eyes and lighting a spark. If we’re really good at this, we’ll get to the point where they don’t need us anymore.

AVC Roben is working with UC San Diego Extension and the Downtown San Diego Partnership on its newly established Collaboratory for Downtown Innovation. The goal of the Collaboratory is for UC San Diego to help support and strengthen Downtown’s growing tech ecosystem through a variety of programs that will provide networking, business support and workforce training.