The Reality of TechnologyFri Nov 23 2018. 3 min read
By Distinguished Professor Robert M. Donnelly Innovate or evaporate is becoming more of a reality as technology continues to disrupt one industry after another. The internet has transformed the way people work and communicate. It has also fostered a host of smart devices that collect, store, and transmit data on our behavior. The collection of vast amounts of data has created the concept of Big Data where sophisticated algorithms sift, sort, and correlate all this data, and produce predictive analytics on what will happen next in terms of consumer behavior. These algorithms can build a detailed profile of our personalities, habits, demands, and desires. This is the perfect recipe for more tailored content to keep us on a given platform, or to maximize revenue or profit. The byproduct of this is the eventual replacement of human labor. Every routine repetitive activity performed by humans will eventually be replaced by a combination of artificial intelligence and robots. These new smart processes are fast, accurate, work 24/7, don’t complain, and can be applied to many routine tasks resulting in substantial economic benefit to the organizations that adopt them. The real value that these processes offer is the ability to take immense amounts of data and discover connections between obscure features of the data that are so subtle or complex that humans cannot even describe them logically. This unique analysis surpasses anything that was conceived in the past to predict our actions and even intentions. In combination with Smart listening devices in the home like Alexa and on smart phones like Siri, our every movement and conversation can be incorporated into these evolving processes to further anticipate our needs, and even talk to us about them. Instead of talking to each other we will now also be communicating with our smart devices. Tapping on a device is being replaced with talking to these devices. MIT has developed “AlterEgo”, a noninvasive wearable device that knows what you are going to say before you even open your mouth. As you can see algorithms are evaluating and drawing conclusions from our every action and even intentions. Another pioneer in the workplace of the future is a Boston –based company called “Humanyze” that is experimenting with smart ID badges that track how employees interact with each other throughout the day, enabling employers to look for patterns to figure out how work actually gets done. Obviously, this analysis is designed to optimize these interactions to make their operations more efficient for the future. Another Seattle start-up called “Textio” is using artificial intelligence to help companies craft the right recruiting ads. Intel is looking at using artificial intelligence to power a new internal tool that would match employees to other opportunities within the company, all in the name of retention. It’s becoming pretty clear that the melding of robots with artificial intelligence is becoming more of a reality. The ultimate beneficiaries will be some humans at the price of many others. Facial recognition algorithms are working with 3.8 billion facial frames from 87 countries decoding facial expressions of individuals. So far this technology has identified 20 common facial characterisations as well as 8 specific emotional states, like “disgust” that can be captured moment- by-moment as they watch ads, for example. If this isn’t enough to demonstrate the future that technology will have on your life, I don’t know what else will do it. Robert M. Donnelly, a Distinguished Professor at Rushmore, is an author, educator, and brand builder. His book: Personal Brand Building for Life. is available on Amazon.