Artificial intelligence versus emotional intelligence….

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There was a time many years ago when we were told of this new invention called the ‘microchip’….. would that mean ‘microfish’ was next?
(Editor’s Note: wow.)  In the late 1970’s the brave new world of computer science was looming large and we were all transfixed by the impending changes we thought would come. Two such changes that I remember specifically were the ideas that we would use less paper and that there would be robots doing all the jobs humans currently did.

Fast forward 30 years or so and the reality is quite different!

What computer technology has done is to greatly magnify the opportunity for people to publish their work, thoughts and ideas….. on paper!

It is only recently that we are starting to talk in bold terms ( and not with a little ‘cutting edge’ ‘ blue sky’ ‘out of the box’ bravado) of paperless communication within businesses and customers…..imagine that!

It has only taken 30 years for us to break the habit of needing to hold something concrete to fully accept that it might be true. As we know the chances of it being true are far less today than 30 years ago but that is another story…..but isn’t it interesting to see how despite the rapid rate of development and change we have held on to the most fundamental form of commercial communication the longest?

Far from signalling a decrease in the use of paper and the saving of the forests we have in fact caused the exact opposite… it is true to say that technology has helped poor become average and average become good in terms of written presentations, let’s not even talk about spelling and grammar.

‘Yes Patrick , you prove that every week!’ …”There!” said it for you!

When it comes to jobs than we have to be a little more specific about how computer technology has changed the employment landscape… true there are many jobs now done automatically but that has been the case since the ‘industrial revolution’…. you would not be wearing what you are wearing right now as you read this were it not for the maverick entrepreneurs of the 19th century who took manual mill jobs and automated them. Computer technology and its rise in prominence is just carrying on a long tradition of development.

The job thing does however warrant some investigation, there may well be more ‘new’ jobs as a result of this than ‘old’ jobs lost. Are not all of the developing nations efforts focused on automation and technology in a effort to get people working?

Isn’t that a business oxymoron?

As we are now unfettered with regards to our ability to bring our wildest imaginative moments to life through technology we have opened up the opportunity to expand what we do , what we want and what we ‘need’….. this level of creativity does in fact spawn fabulous innovation which can greatly assist us as a species…… even if initially it might seem ridiculous;

So perhaps a moving trash bin which accounts for a lack of sports skills is no more than a novelty right now however it may well be the basis for future innovation and products to which we will become accustomed.Who would have thought 30 years ago that we would be able to record and send video from one hand held device to another….while we are physically moving!?

We are unsurprised this week to see more reporting of robots doing jobs that only highly trained people normally do…..we actually seem to expect usage like this rather than stand back in awe of it…..fickle things we humans aren’t we?

Whilst browsing through the Discovery Channel blog posts I found this report;

InTouch Health and iRobot are set to unveil their new medical robot called RP-VITA, or Remote Presence Virtual + Independent Telemedicine Assistant .

RP-VITA will be be cloud-connected, linked to your entire medical record and have special ports for plugging in diagnostic devices such as otoscopes and ultrasound. Plus, it will be potentially capable of autonomous navigation if its FDA patent is accepted. The robot is also equipped with the latest electronic stethoscope, a video screen and is controlled with an iPad.”

If this is not the brave new world then please tell me what is! Our confidence in computers and their ability to perform flawlessly is higher than with any other device man has made. The very idea that we can countenance let alone implement a robotic system which can medically assess and treat us is beyond wildest dreams. Not so much ‘tech imitating life as tech saving life!’

Now, I can live in the outback and probably see a doctor more quickly than I can now living in the suburbs, how bizarre is that? Yet we accept it without so much as a second glance……phew.

Any bets this technology was originally housed in the crazy ‘house cleaning robots’ we saw some years ago being tested in Japan, when we all rolled our eyes and proclaimed that ‘those Japanese are bonkers!’ ????

We all know of the frighteningly realistic robots with human-like skin and eye movements which are so true to life they are eerily disconcerting, again coming out of Japan , so we also know that robots doing human jobs are here to stay.

What we do not know is how these robots will bridge the emotional gap when fulfilling the tasks we do, how keen will you be when you are frightened by your sudden illness and a robot diagnoses your ailment?

The human touch is more than a physical sensation , it is an undefinable energy transfer between people which makes deep connections and engenders trust and loyalty on the one hand and fear and distrust on the other. When I was working on one of my early projects I naively asked my business partner why we had to travel all over the place to talk to people when we could just e-mail them and call them……..” People like to see the whites of your eyes!” was the reply………..and it was true then as much as it is true today.

We cannot forget that our machines , our content, our social networking and our engagement techniques only serve to do one thing…… open doors so we can meet in person and ” see the whites of each others eyes!”

Watch this from 2009, yes it is a little older than normal offerings BUT I bet my last farthing that the contacts made during this event are alive and stronger today than any other….

Remember folks, ‘nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care!’

SEE you on the long and winding road……. Patrick

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