Love and Robots
I’ve just spent the morning bickering with my friend’s husband over a robot. Seriously, a robot. Me and Him, we always got on well but this robot business has created a rift between us and a bit of a stalemate.
Here’s what happened.
My POV: I happen to be blessed with a large garden area around our home. Myself and hubby have chores equally divided – I do the inside bits and he does the outside. Since his role is largely weather dependent and we live in a country where it rains a lot, it often happens that the lawn becomes overgrown and I end up nagging at the state of it. He complains that, even with a ride-on lawnmower, there’s a good six hours of work to do the job start to finish which is a big chunk of time when you work all week. I did some research and located this absolutely smashing device – a Robot lawnmower that works by itself, day and night, and permanently maintains the lawn with zero human input involved. I presented this idea, quietly congratulating myself on finding a win-win. Hubby seemed happy with the Robot, even a little relieved.
Friend POV: Friend was outraged when he heard about Robot. He claims that by getting a robot to do a Man’s job I’m robbing the Man of the sheer love of lawn mowing and personal ‘me’ time, along with the sense of pride of having maintained his home for his family. He feels that I’m being deeply inconsiderate to the feelings of the Man.
The basic argument boils down to man vs. machine.
I can see his point of view, but naturally I’m more in favour of mine.
The business argument is that this saves a lot of time, costs the same, and does a better job. Additionally, by delegating to robots, the humans of the house get to enjoy more quality time rather than squeezing as many chores into a weekend as possible. I genuinely couldn’t see any negatives to this situation. Robot can do the lawn better and cheaper and we get more free time! What’s to lose? And then, my mate pointed out the issue of Love.
In the face of the Love and Robots debate – I can’t help but wonder: Is Love going to be the only USP that businesses are left with as a survival mechanism through the Robot revolution?
In my opinion, yes. Love is the one thing that machines just can’t do. And as much as we humans are getting more efficient (or lazier, depending on who you ask) with the emergence of automation and artificial intelligence, at the end of the day we all still crave other humans. In a society which is becoming more and more screen-centered, the gap between us as individuals slowly getting bigger. We’re bowling alone. We spend so much time looking down, we’re missing each other because we’re not looking up and making eye contact. It’s an erosion of spirit and soul.
It’s all well and good for us to delegate our tasks to machines, but the reality is that we still need – now more than ever – our human emotions, feelings, connections.The further we dive into this way of automated living, the more urgently we’ll feel our desire for human contact, the need for a heart to be involved in every decision. In business, will this be the only real USP we all have left to lean on?
In the last decade, we’ve developed better technology than in the whole fifty years before that.
There pace of growth of our robot revolution is truly startling. It’s exponential. Every year, we’re doubling the advancement of our developments in every field with the help of AI.
For example, today, it’s possible for third degree burns to be healed with almost no scarring using DNA from the patient to grow their own human tissue in a lab. Today, we all have a computer in our pockets which is a hundred times more powerful than the technology available to the team responsible for putting the first rockets into space in the 1940’s. Today, there’s technology that is four times more accurate at diagnosing cancer than doctors are.
It’s predicted that in as little as 10 years time, we won’t be paying for car insurance because our cars will drive themselves so by 2030 the major car companies as we know them today will become bankrupt in the face of new companies like Tesla. In 20 years it’ll be impossible to work in law unless you are a specialist because right now, IBM Watson provides legal advice in a few seconds with 90% accuracy compared to the human accuracy of 70%. Air BnB is now the biggest hotel company in the world, even though they own no properties. Uber is the biggest taxi company in the world, but own no cars. This isn’t disruption – this is obliteration. Our planet is changing in a remarkable, exponential way, and Entrepreneurs are leading this change with their innovative thinking – but we also need to be mindful of surviving through our business evolution. Cannibalising ourselves with robotics doesn’t make sense: what does make sense is coming up with a way of doing business which plays to the unique and irreplaceable strengths we have left in our arsenal: love and caring. Let’s look at LQ – our love quotient – and how it applies to business.
Think about your own business – what is it that you do, and how can you weave in a human element to it, something that a robot can’t replace?
I’m not just talking about the concept of emotional intelligence, EQ, which has had its moment in the sun – this is one step further. Your LQ is your capacity and ability to love and care for others. Where can you show more love, more compassion, more personal touches in everything you do? How can you touch hearts as well as minds? Can you deliver happiness as well as service? If you can get into the heart – as well as the mind – of your customer, your business will survive this major sea of change that we’re all trying to swim in.
Much like human evolution, the evolution of business has had its key stages. We had the industrial, digital, tech and now robot revolutions. What’s next? In the next 5-10 years there isn’t an industry which will be unaffected by the power of software and innovation. What we need to do with our businesses is look at the ways that we cannot be eliminated. And, it looks like Love is the answer.