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At Cameron University, futurist offers advice on surviving, thriving in rapidly changing world

It's better to disrupt than be disrupted.

That's true not only of individuals and businesses, but also of communities. Change is coming and you can either live with the consequences that technological change hands you or attempt to use it to your advantage.

That was the message of Daniel Burrus, futurist and technology consultant, at Thursday's workshop on "Get Ahead of Digital Disruption." The event, organized by the Lawton Rotary Leadership Institute, drew more than 300 people at Cameron University.

His goal, he said, is "shaping the future of business and communities so we can thrive in this rapidly changing world we live in."

Change is nothing new. But Burrus said it is "accelerating at an exponential level."

The key, he said at a news conference, is to "be an opportunity manager instead of just a crisis manager."

He contends that not all change is unpredictable. In fact, the future is "amazingly predictable."

Disrupting technologies are all around us, and adapting to it and taking advantage of it is the key.

"Disruption is usually seen as something negative; it's something that happens to us," he said. But for people like Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, and Uber and Apple and Airbnb, it has created opportunities.

Recently, he said, 300 Wall Street traders were replaced by artificial intelligence technology. If those traders had recognized the disruption, he said, they could have been prepared and trained for even better jobs.

Why didn't big hotel companies see the rise of Airbnb and taxi companies see the threat from Uber and Lyft?

"I think it's our human nature; we do what we've always done until we're disrupted," he said.

But "If you do what you've always done you'll get less of what you always had until you do something different."

Burrus thinks some observers of technological change overestimate its negative effects. Will artificial intelligence and robots make human redundant?

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