The Future of Work Influencer Series Part 4: Tina Lai

  • 9 April 2018
  • Expert Insights

This post is part of our new Future of Work Influencer series where we interview the world's leading VR experts to get their take on the state of the industry, the top trends to watch for, and what the future holds.

The following is an interview we recently had with Tina Lai, sales leader, technology aficionado and futurist for Udacity.

1. How has your perception of what the future of the workplace will look like evolved in the past 5 years?

TL: My perception of the future of the workplace has evolved tremendously in the past 5 years. I started off in a very traditional role of sales – outside field sales for the Blackstone Group (insurance dept. of United Insurance) and loved the face to face interactions with potential clients and having those meetings, which were very personable and very engaging.

However, once entering technology sales everything became cloud-based, and it can be more difficult to build rapport and trust with individuals or clients because all everything is cloud-based and virtual. This meant having to adjust to the change of virtual Hangouts or Zoom or Webex Meetings while still being able to understand a client's needs and developing a solution for them with an entirely different type of approach/sale.

The main perceptive change is that the things I know right now may be obsolete by next year, and that it's imperative to always be learning, to be audacious in your learning, but to always be humble and know there's no way you can know everything.

2. What are top technological trends that pertain to the future of work?


The world of iOT and autonomy is what I envision when thinking about the top technological trends that pertain to the future of work. Do you remember the cartoon The Jetsons?

Well, did you know that we're already there? A version of The Jetson's flying car is actually already in prototype and will be something we'll be driving for our commutes in the future.

Developments like this and companies like Lilium are the reason why I am obsessed with technology and intrigued by where the future of work will take us in the next two years, five years, ten years, and beyond. I imagine a completely different, collaborative world without walls or boundaries.

3. How will AI impact the future of work?

TL: I'm not fearful of the impact of AI, as some are, because I know that it will help automate a lot of tedious tasks that need to be automated and the power it holds is quite limitless. I try to use AI in every task I possibly can, whether it's astro, helping me answer my emails, Drift assisting me in scheduling sales meetings, or SeamlessAI, my personal sales assistant/lead gen rep which updates my contact info in real time, incorporating AI has made life exponentially easier. All of these apps and services are mere indicators of how AI has worked itself into not only the future of work, but the future of life in general.

4. How will blockchain impact the future of work?

TL: The possibilities for blockchain, like AI, are virtually limitless. Most people think of blockchain simply as Bitcoin. However, the true power behind blockchain is to improve how labor markets work, to increase transparency and equality, empower smaller parties, and address some of the biggest challenges in today's and tomorrow's world of work.

5. What is, in your estimation, the future of work/ the workplace?

TL: The future of work/ the workplace is changing rapidly. The way we interact and engage with customers, colleagues, prospects, clients, teachers, students, experts, doctors, etc. is transforming every day. In the future, we will no longer be confined to a four-walled office; rather, virtual work environments comprised of technology powered by cloud-based infrastructure will become more prevalent.

About Tina Lai

Tina Lai is a seasoned sales leader, technology aficionado & passionate futurist, specializing in the next generation of work. She is helping to drive the shift from traditional work models to a more agile, cutting-edge, technologically-driven work model that promotes continuous learning and leverages on-demand global talent to scale. Tina’s inspiration comes from empowering a global workforce of virtual freelance talent to get work done; In addition to; democratizing education across the gender divide.

She currently is an independent sales consultant working with Udacity as a Business Development Lead, to partner with large enterprises and Fortune 100 companies looking to transform their workforce in the specialized “skills of tomorrow” of Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, & Autonomous Everything.

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