There’s no doubt that technology plays an increasingly important role in our everyday lives. No previous generation has been tasked so greatly with developing technology and charting its course. Some people believe technology is the next great society and will take over humans, while others believe humans have the power to leverage technology to their benefit.
Best-selling author Douglas Rushkoff is a firm member of Team Human. In fact, it’s the title of his most recent book. His goal is to help individuals and companies reacquaint themselves with what it means to be human in our very strange digital age. In order to avoid falling into the trap of conceding to technology’s power, Rushkoff believes people need to remember what makes humans special. Instead of pitting humans against technology, the key to Team Human’s victory is to use technology to their advantage.
“We have to retrieve and embed human values into the digital infrastructure or we risk leaving them behind at our great peril,” he says.
Too many companies fall into the trap of treating their people like machines and focusing solely on their productivity and output. Instead, the key to human success comes in the soft skills and traits that are uniquely human, such as eye contact, touch, and conversational rapport. Using technology to drive efficiency is a great use of new tools, but Rushkoff warns about the risks of de-valuing human qualities and interactions.
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Rushkoff compares our digital age to the ideas of Darwin. Instead of more advanced groups replacing their predecessors, the idea of evolution is really about growing collaboration in more advanced forms. For humans, that means collaborating with technology in a way that takes the best from both groups. Each innovation humans create, whether it’s language, text, or the internet, offers the possibility for increased connection and collaboration with each other. Those tools can be harnessed to combine the resources and talents of Team Human into a powerhouse of innovation. Rushkoff says we’re relying on technology in the wrong way instead of using it to allow humans to be human.
What does this mean for organizations? It means companies should embrace their human employees and use new technology strategically. The best companies succeed because of human ideas and connections. Focusing on an organization’s purpose and the good it puts into the world can keep Team Human on track for success. Treat humans like humans instead of machines that could be replaced.
Times are changing, but humans will always come out on top. Embrace Team Human and remember that humans will always be a competitive advantage.
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