Insights are from WorkMinus (a podcast where ideas for moulding a better workplace get shared)
We all have a variety of opinions about how better or awkward our future would look like if technology reaches its extremity. Since there are only so many predictions about the future with the limited knowledge that we have, it’s better we learn from people who’ve inherently dedicated their time understanding the nature of technology.
I have been listening to podcasts on WorkMinus where futurists come and discuss the future of humanity.
In this article, I’ll share some of those insights that were illusion-free, optimistic and opportunistic which will help shift your thoughts about technology or at least nudge you to scrutinise your own paradigm of technology influenced society.
A little bit about the creator
American sociologist Read Bain affirmed, technology includes all tools, machines, utensils, clothing, weapons, instruments, all the skills by which we produce and use them.
One thing we know least about technology is the philosophy behind it.
Why did we even develop technology and why are we continuing to?
Speaking of philosophy, Technicism is the one.
Technicism is the belief in the usage of technology for progressing human societies. Our lives have transformed from combining simple machines like screws, bolts and pulleys to form more complex tools like wheelbarrow, clocks and windmills.
Thus we should never forget the need and power of synergy. The synergy between machines and humans is where immense possibilities lie.
Gerd Leonhard, who is the author of the book Technology vs Humanity spoke about why we should retire from performing routine tasks and leverage technology to do so.
Show title: Work Minus Routine
Gerd in this show puts forth the need for eradicating mundane and routine tasks that humans do currently. At this point in time, computers, machines, software, AI, robots, whatever we name it will learn to do routines that do not involve or require human decisions.
From the conversation he had with his colleague Luciano Floridi, who heads the AI Ethics Lab in Oxford, the message inferred was machines are and will be capable of taking over tasks that don’t rely on any of humane qualities.
Qualities like making sense out of emotions, understanding, natural language processing on a very high level, semantics cannot be achieved by machines until researchers outrightly crack the formula for randomness in our thoughts/electrical impulses.
He implies machines will do all sorts of things that follow a pattern. Even scientists will be automated in doing biological tests and diagnostics since they all follow a pattern and machines are super smart that they can identify and initiate the process in a short span of time.
Ravin Jesuthasan is the author of 3 books on work and human capital, the recent one being Reinventing Jobs: A 4-Step Approach to Applying Automation to Work which was published by HBR. He is also a member of the World Economic Forum and is a regular participant of annual meetings in Davos.
Show title: Work Minus Tedium
Ravin establishes the point that things that are extremely repetitive, rule-based, and require minimal or no independent advice are tedious tasks. There will definitely be a lot of parts in our daily work which fit this explanation. If you ask as to when did we begin dehumanising work, it was during the second industrial revolution when we brought all the independent works into assembly lines and processes.
One of the books he co-authored with John Bodreau, explains 3 ways in which automation will affect tasks. First being, automation will act as our substitute, second, it will augment human capabilities, and as the final implication, it will create a new line of work.
The article will be continued with thoughts from other futurists next week…
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