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March 27, 2016

Learning To Work Technology

Posted by Syeda Meher Taj (View Profile | View All Posts) at 3:37 PM

A renaissance -- the coming end of human work | Kevin Surace | TEDxOrangeCoast [Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?CNF9U_Bvo50]

I recently read Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change from the Cult of Technology, by award-winning computer scientist Kentaro Toyama who passionately establishes that "technology's primary effect is to amplify human forces"; that technology works like a lever to amplify our capabilities in the direction of our intentions. Indeed, it's all about our "intentions" and "capabilities". After all, who has not heard those tales of dusty computers locked away in dark school cupboards because teachers couldn't figure out what to do with it. Or mobile apps to promote hygiene practices that actually manage to do little to improve health. So many incredible innovations in the recent decades have still we've not managed to stem - say, global poverty.
So, undoubtedly, if technology must work to solve our greatest problems, we must learn to work technology.

The technology-for-efficiency story is slowly but surely giving way to a new narrative - that of the amplification of human potential. Artificial Intelligence and automation, which appear to be taking away people's jobs, are in effect, giving them the freedom and leisure to pursue a higher calling. Like innovation, or finding and resolving the greatest challenges of our times. In fact, at Infosys we believe that the current wave of digital evolution can spark a great human revolution to take every business to a higher plane of creativity and intelligence.
First, we need to redesign our technology landscape so that anything that can be automated, optimized or made more efficient, is, without delay addressed, after which we must go out and acquire new capabilities that will enable us to do new things. We believe smart automation and intelligent open platforms will be the foundations for this redesigned landscape. Enterprises should leverage intelligent machines to not only automate routine tasks, but also empower people to perform higher order tasks better. It's the same with platforms. While enterprises are already employing platforms to enable the business at a functional level, they must also use the wider platform ecosystem to augment human effort through collaboration, sharing and co-creation.
At the same time, enterprises would also need to "redesign" their people assets in keeping with the rapidly evolving skills landscape. Many jobs that existed a few years ago have become redundant, and totally new "unheard of" jobs are taking their place. The new workforce has very different expectations, not least of which is a chance to work with exciting technologies, do purposeful work, and make a visible difference to the world. We need a way to harness this energy by providing the right conditions and opportunities for employees to develop liquid, and not merely functional, skills. A workforce that thinks creatively and independently and has the confidence to take on new roles and new challenges will be the primary force behind the human revolution.

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