Hear from Ana Arriola, General Manager and Partner, Artificial Intelligence and Research at Microsoft

Ana Arriola was one of five speakers at Spark Lab's Future of the Future event in August.

She spoke on the following key topics:

  • the concept of ubiety
  • the importance of optimism
  • the surprising future of AI and computing
  • the upcoming alpha generation
  • the ethical challenges that have arisen around social media and information outlets


Ubiety, as Ana Arriola understands it, is a concept that embraces a variety of ideas. She says ubiety summarises ethnographic research, anthropology, any hyper-local context and the future. Ubiety represents our society's structural needs and experiences for a decolonised, intersectional and optimistic future.


Optimism is important to Arriola. She believes it's part of human nature to be optimistic. While it's easy to look around the world at darker uses of technology and feel a sense of despair, Ana Arriola combats the feeling with optimism. She believes, "[...]that society and humanity will do better and we'll do more."

α generation

It may be the Alpha Generation that does "better" and "more". After the Boomers and X Millennials came Generation Z. On the heels of Generation Z, Ana tells us, we have the Alpha generation who are, at the time of this interview, up to sixteen years old. Ana speaks of her three children in the context of the Alpha generation. Alpha, she says, are digitally native, inclusive and intersectional. They are a radical generation and they appear to give Ana hope for the future she sees coming.

The future

Next, Ana gave us a forecast of future scientific advancements. What is coming in the next ten years?

  • an intersection of artificial intelligence and medical science
  • assisted bio-organic achievements
  • a new blend of computer vision and natural language that will bring situational awareness and sentiment analysis

And in the next three years?

  • moving beyond chips and into cloud computing
  • smart and ambient experiences with tiny wearables

Ana says that she worries about one thing with our current and future informational advances: the weaponisation of information and social media.

Ethical challenges

The ethical challenges we face now, she says, require "deep human intervention" because technology can't detect fake news nor the weaponisation of social media. Though this message is serious and, Ana says, pessimistic, her outlook is a bright one. Deep human intervention may indeed be needed, but it sounds like the technological advances to help overcome this problem will be created in the next ten years.