Up untill now, the world allowed to create value by disabling others from getting to the value by means others that those provided by myself. I knew something, I kept it for myself and allowed a brief glance at my secret in consideration for a reward. I did not talk about it. I patented it. I utilised the fact that I knew something that others did not know. I had a monopoly over a specific type of service, skill or knowledge. The fewer people knew, the higher the value I possessed. On the other hand, the more people knew I possessed a secret, the better my position was.
This way of creating value is over now. The time when it was possible to keep something hidden and thereby generate the position of power, is gone.
It will no longer make sense to hide, protect, disallow, hinder or keep away from others. Now, it makes sense to be faster, more innovative and more able to use the most possible of the joint resources so that others are able to co-create with me. Now, it does no longer make sense to protect, but to share. To connect to the flow of information and innovation and utilize the common knowledge and skills.
At no time in the history of mankind was it so easy to create a really complex information management system tracking hundreds of parameters and automatically recalculate millions of operations. It has never been easier to connect one system to dozens of others through API, to print out a 3D prototype on a 3D printer in a few hours, to analyze terabytes of data, to test an idea with people we never met in person, to create a chatbot completely without any knowledge of software development on such level that the communicating counter-party hardly notices a machine is on the other end of the conversation, to drive a car without actually holding the steering wheel or to carry 100.000 photos of the highest quality and resolution in a phone that fits the pocket of my trousers. It has never been easier to communicate with people from various continents and the same time literally for free and to aquire knowledge of basically anything at all. It has never been so easy to free ourselves from repeating, boring mechanical activities, through which people try hard to act like machines. The world is interconnected back and forth and it has never been easier to figure out something new, to find a relevant oponent and a qualified opinion almost instantly.
How does it affect ourselves?
Tehnological growth will continue to rise and will replace people in the tasks, where people are not needed. Everything seems to confirm that this future is going to be massive. Speech and face recognition, deep learning, speech simulators are moving forward at amazing speeds. In 10 years, it is almost impossible to assume that we will not communicate mostly with computers - and that we will not be able to distignuish whether or not it is a computer. Computers will be faster, cheaper and wiser - they will be able to provide answers to our request faster and more reliably, they will “get it” more efficiently. A human in a callcenter will be more of an obstacle than a benefit, if I desire a quick and reliable information and get things done.
The communication between humans about humans, dealing with humans and humanness, will be far more rare. People will have to do something different from what computers and machines do. They will have to provide the humane way, because everything other than humane will be provided by the computers and machines. The one who will be more human, will be more exclusive. It is a steep diversion from the fashion of the last 200 years, when the main stream pushed us to be perfect machines which clear program, unbeatable strength of will and unprecedented resilience. The thing is that the perfect machines of the future will actually be real machines, not people. Unlike in the past, when it was perceived as a burden and weakness, it will be considered rare and worth admiration to be humane in personal, professional, political and social life. If we raise our perception levels a little bit, we will see this trend happening in almost any area. We have already started to protect ourselves from the unending flow of information by selecting the substance - the emotions, which we use to seamlessly see behind a variety of stuff we are not even able to give a name to. The perfect CV of Mr. Šefčovič - the presidential candidate in Slovakia with fabulous carreer at the Europena Commission did not help him in the presidential elections. Why? He was not authentic. We saw right through it. We are not fascinated by “as if” anymore, by the ability to fake things - which has been a real trend insofar. Instead of “as if”, we want “really”.
This trend will have far-reaching consequences not only for employees, but for our children, as well. Both our children and ourselves will have to more human, we will have to be able to work with our emotions, to create, to feel, to anticipate, all of these with ease, quickly and naturally. Forcing ourselves will not work in these kinds of tasks. It would work for machines. It will not work, when the goal is to be more of a human. Our children and most probably even ourselves will not be abel to build our carreers on knowig something that others do not know. The trick is that the others will eventually know. Somewhere in India, China, Africa or in some other part of the world there will be plenty of people who will know and who will most probably know better.
Imagine that the technological evolution will allow us to understand anyone on this planet speaking any language at all for free. Do you think this will still be science fiction in 10 years? As a correctness test, think about the fact that neither Facebook, nor iPhone existed some 12 years ago. If we need a graphic designer in this future world, we might well be able to hire a guy from a hot African savannah or from a freezing tundra in Siberia. I will no longer be limited in the way I am today. I will not need a Slovak or an American - I will simply want a great graphic designer.
These thoughts have crucial consequences for strategic planning of basically everything. We have to focus on the humans and on the human part of their performance. Not only in respect to children, but to adults as well. We have to deal with mental health, emotions, relationships and stop thinking that we will be able to grab something from the world for ourselves, hide it and generate value this way. It is a paradox that the value in the age of computers will eventually be generated by the characteristics which are ultimately human.
And that is fantastic news, really. Maybe the computers will, suprisingly, force us to be more human.