Leaders and the Implications of Advancing Technologies

The takeaways that stuck with me this week after reflecting on the readings, videos, and slideshow presentation is that change is inevitable and leaders need to stay current to the technological advances in their own workplace. I also believe that these changes or advances wrought by technology should encourage leaders to find ways to leverage technology to strengthen the bonds and connections between our team members rather than relying on technology and/or artificial intelligence (AI) to do just about everything. To paraphrase Weinberger’s (2011) chapter 9 thoughts in Too Big to Know, not only is the internet possibly making us stupider is terms of deep thinking and acquiring knowledge but I also fear that advances in technology and especially AI will make us lazier in terms of maintaining our social bonds. While it was distressing to see little mention about the poor and disadvantaged in the world in this week’s literature since I am curious about who gets left behind during these technological leaps, at least most cultures in the developing world have maintained the importance of ties to family and friends which help to hold a society together. I enjoyed Weinberger’s (2011) five ideas about the networking of knowledge (open up access, provide the hooks for intelligence, link everything, leave no institutional knowledge behind, teach everyone) and the two that appealed to me were increasing access and teaching everyone. I am in agreement with Weinberger (2011) in that we should open up the knowledge portals and institutions that are still reticent about sharing their holdings on the internet. I also like the concepts of teaching everyone since that should also be a focus for leaders in the workplace and this is an area that could use a boost since it troubles me to see some people left behind the technological learning curve through no fault of their own.

Before submitting my post last week about intellectual property and copyright, I did not know that since 1989 in the U.S. that all works are automatically copyrighted, even if the author does not desire copyright protection and it was nice to see this issue covered by Weinberger (2011). Copyright protects the rights given to authors of “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works and this protection is available to both published and unpublished works (U.S. Copyright Office, 2012). The term of protection is the life of the author plus 70 years in the U.S. and the life of the author plus 50 years per the Berne Convention (n.d.). This time limit varies country to country but it can be no less than the Berne Convention provisions for signatory countries (WIPO, n.d.). I agree with Weinberger (2011) that reducing these copyright protection time limits will assist in the sharing of knowledge but the biggest obstacles are business groups in the form of collective management organizations. These groups such as the Recording Industry Association of America and Motion Picture Association of America act in the interest and on behalf of the owners of copyrights by providing administrative and legal expertise and managing, collecting, and disbursing royalties. While I am not advocating for authors to give up their copyrights and decline the protections of the collective management organizations, I believe a reduction in the number of years copyright protection is provided to say 25 years after the author’s death would free up a tremendous amount of data and open up access to more researchers and purveyors of knowledge. Ben Hammer

References:

U.S. Copyright Office. (2012). Copyright basics. Retrieved from https://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ01.pdf

World Intellectual Property Organization. (n.d.). Berne convention for the protection of literary and artistic works. Retrieved from http://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/ip/berne/

Weinberber, D. (2011). Too big to know: Rethinking knowledge now that the facts aren’t the facts, experts are everywhere, and the smartest person in the room is the room. New York: Basic Books.

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7 thoughts on “Leaders and the Implications of Advancing Technologies”

  1. You made a strong point when you said that leaders should find a way to leverage technology to strengthen the bonds between team members, rather than relying on technology or AI to do everything. In spite of technological advances, the human factor is needed to drive the economy, and under our current system, the majority of people must be employed and making an income in order for businesses to thrive. How do you think these businesses will survive if AI and robotics replace the human workforce?

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    1. Hi Dr. Robinson,

      I liked the way Kelly (2017) offered up the future challenges of AI and robots possibly replacing humans in the workforce in that I do not think the next industrial revolution (it’s already here) will necessarily lead to mass unemployment caused by technology. Kelly (2017) was correct when he suggested that we try to prepare ourselves for future jobs that have not even been invented yet. Just as each industrial and social evolution has created different employment opportunities, leaders should be attuned to these changes and be ready to recognize which career patterns that may not have a bright future and invest in career fields that hold promise such as those we reviewed on the Wikipedia (2017) list of emerging technologies. Ben Hammer

      References:

      Kelly, K. (2017, January 12). How AI can bring on a second industrial revolution. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/IjbTiRbeNpM

      Wikipedia. (2017, February 22). List of emerging technologies. Retrieved February 25, 2017 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_emerging_technologies

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  2. Kevin Kelly (2016) explained that as the industrial revolution generated more jobs in its development, even if it were more efficient than the era before it, the A1 revolution will likewise generate a lot of job opportunities because it (AI revolution) will also create a lot of needs. This will ensure that very many new jobs will be created. Do you share his reasoning and optimism? Why?

    References

    Kelly, K. (2016, June). How AI can bring on a second industrial revolution. Retrieved from https://embed.ted.com/talks/kevin_kelly_how_ai_can_bring_on_a_second_industrial_revolution

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    1. Hi Edletech,

      As I shared with Dr. R above, I believe the next industrial revolution involving technology and AI will be a job creator rather than people losing employment opportunities so in that sense, I agree with Kelly (2017) but perhaps I am not as optimistic as he was in the video. I can understand Kelly’s (2017) reasoning for why advancing technology will create opportunities for people who will help to create and manage these new technologies, some of which we have not even conceived yet. As Kelly (2017) shared, who would have guessed 15 years ago that we would have such economic powerhouses around such as Google and Facebook creating jobs (almost 75,000 between just these two) and I think the trend of people and futurists not being fully able to predict the future employment environment will continue. However, as Meeker (2016) shared in her presentation, economic and employment growth is slowing down in the technology fields so maybe we are entering a period of plateau or stasis before the next great technological advance comes along and puts a fire beneath the technology field. I am optimistic that another period of rapid job growth is coming after reviewing the list of emerging technologies on Wikipedia (2017). Ben Hammer

      References:

      Kelly, K. (2017, January 12). How AI can bring on a second industrial revolution. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/IjbTiRbeNpM

      Meeker, M. (2016, June 1). Internet trends 2016: Code conference. Retrieved from https://www.slideshare.net/kleinerperkins

      Wikipedia. (2017, February 22). List of emerging technologies. Retrieved February 25, 2017 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_emerging_technologies

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  3. I enjoyed your comments about copyright terms and reducing them to 25 years after the death of the creator. I come from the publishing world (one of those groups who works with the authors to make sure they get paid). I’m a big fan of copyright and making sure these creators get credited for their work whenever it is used. However, I do like the idea of shortening the term after they have died. I think this is a fair enough option, and may even push for even less time (10 years).

    I was also interested in your first paragraph where you discussed using AI to strengthen bonds between workers, rather than alienate them. Can you give some ideas on how this might work? I love the idea!

    Andrea

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    1. Hi Andrea,

      Thanks for the feedback. Like you, I support copyrights laws but like Weinberger (2011) stated, I think we have gotten away from the notion of protecting the author during their lifetimes and a short period after the author’s death to some families and/or companies considering the copyright as a long-term money maker in the case of authors’ materials. I can also see reducing the protected period to 10 years after the author’s death and think that would be a good balance between protection and open access to others’ works.

      AI is already being used to gather data on people since we now have digital personal assistants such as Siri and Alexa monitoring and tracking our desires, likes, dislikes, and our contacts in addition to using AI to offer recommendations (including purchases) and providing information (knowledge) based on our past actions. I can see this type of AI being used in the office, perhaps passively to track employee moods, actions, absences, missed deadlines, etc. to determine if a peer or supervisor needs to inquire about the employee’s health and/or state of mind. While I was thinking of your question, I ran across an article by Ed White titled “You, and (A)I” that describes how AI will be able to strengthen the social bonds of elderly people in the future by using the same technology as I outlined above. I think the article is worth a look and the link is below. Ben Hammer

      References:

      EdWhite28. (2017, February 6). You, and (A)I. [Blog]. Retrieved from https://medium.com/ideo-stories/you-and-a-i-24020098ce18#.1831fngd1

      Weinberber, D. (2011). Too big to know: Rethinking knowledge now that the facts aren’t the facts, experts are everywhere, and the smartest person in the room is the room. New York: Basic Books.

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      1. Ben – thanks for sharing this article! It’s a little creepy, but it just might happen. And as someone currently going through a divorce, I can definitely say I would love to have some nanobots whisper in my ear about which person I am supposed to be with – it would be so much easier to avoid poor decisions! But it definitely takes the fun of emotions and creativity out of the mix…

        I also like your ideas of having AI track the basics in the office, allowing leaders to manage the things that AI can’t track. I still think we’re a little way off from this, but I think we’ll definitely see it in our lifetime. Thanks!

        Andrea

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