Foreword

Afraid a digital world means less human intelligence? Don’t be

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The impact of technology is being felt in every aspect of our lives, almost unbeknownst to us. The Internet has become our on-demand source for everything and connectivity to the Web is now seen as a basic human right, akin to water or electricity.

This pervasive reliance on technology lends a certain credence to the fears that humanity is slowly being engulfed by technological innovation. Fear, however apparently substantiated, is debilitating. Fear stems innovation and enables nothing. To avoid returning to the “Dark Ages” before the Internet, in order to drive rather than curb the transformation evolution we are experiencing, we need to figure out how to lean into this fear to create opportunities that enable us to surmount it.

The question of the impact on jobs is one which is raised time and again, particularly in the face of AI and robotics. These technologies, while replacing many of the more onerous and automatable functions, also serve to open up a world of new career possibilities. However, replacing people with machines is not where the growth is.

The answer becomes how to use technology to augment human capability, not replace it, to leverage innovation to enhance tasks where intuition or human experience are hindering the goals of zero-defect quality and optimal efficiency, to supplement those daily responsibilities carried out by people who can better serve in areas where human intervention and activity is still critical, and to focus on core business.

Many organisations are already embarking on upskilling their workforce and retooling them to address functions that require more neural thinking and human interaction. In this way, people are uplifted and offered new opportunities to expand their capability. Organisations then engender an environment, which is favourable towards—and not resistant to—innovation.

This leads us to the question of intelligent technology creating a lazy and un-intelligent society. I believe the opposite is true. As technologie pave the way to a better way of life for us by removing our focus on those tasks, which can easily be automated, it also promotes a society, which centres on learning, innovation and developing elevated skills. When we no longer rely on people to carry out menial tasks, we can push them to move beyond the mundane—to transcend to a more effective, more efficient, more intelligent species.

We can fear. We can block change and stem the tide of innovation. Or we can embrace it, be proactive and evolve.

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