Sunday, May 3, 2020

Muscles, Brains and Heart

Wow. It feels like it was only a few months ago that 5,000+ gathered live at Javits Center in NYC for the AI Summit. So many smart people in one place, all discussing how AI (Artificial Intelligence) was going to change the world, and how AI (Robots) were going to make us all unemployed.

Well, not all of us would be unemployed, but enough to cause global chaos and economic upheaval.

It feels like it was only a few months ago, because it was only a few months ago. In December of 2019, our big fear was from technology taking our jobs. Not biology.

The only constant in life is change.
It is a good time to remind yourself that 2020 - 1776 = 244

It  has only been 244 years since Congress renamed the nation "United States of America" which replaced the term "United Colonies," which had been in general use.

In less than 244 years, we went from worrying about fighting the British to fighting AI Robots to fighting a Virus.

The British were once our enemy. Today we are allies. 

Just a few months ago, many felt that Technology and AI was the enemy. Today, we are relying on Science and Technology to save us. "NYED-LA" has changed - a lot. In 1983 we were all about Distance Learning. And as the world changed, we morphed into DIGITAL Learning. And now after 37 years, we are just DIGITAL LIVING. I only got involved in running NYDLA back in 2012, but what a ride the past 8 years have been.

Change is the only constant in life. NYDLA was born as a source of information for professional development. It was created to serve corporate training, teaching, training, learning and performance professionals. NYDLA was a "go-to" resource for innovative global learning and development news, trends, research and statistics, best practices, new products, services and technologies.

Basically, NYDLA was a glorified newsletter in 1983, and sounds like it was boring as hell.

Well, there is nothing boring about our world today. Technology will play an oversized role in learning in our future - and our future is NOW. But that role shall also be fulfilled by humans. The future is all about teachers, trainers, coaches, peers, families, and communities at large working for a common cause. The "Digital Divide" which refers to the gap between demographics and regions that have access to modern information and communications technology must go the way of buggy whips.

Together, we will need to evolve from us learning about technology to technology learning about us.

Learning in the future will be about humans becoming more human, while technology will assist. In the words of London School of Economics Professor Minouche Shafik: "In the past, jobs were about muscles; now they're about brains; but in the future, jobs will be about the heart."

Transformative Change happens when there is a catalyst and a crisis. A crucible. A time of profound trial at the end of which something new and much better emerges. The term crucible comes from a vessel used by medieval alchemists that withstand extreme heat to turn base metals into gold.

Today, COVID-19 is our crucible. 

The severe trials of the pandemic have revealed fundamental weaknesses in our society - many of which we knew about but were content to ignore. COVID-19 has forced our hand. The pandemic has made the future happen in months, not years. The future we knew was coming, has simply arrived early. We now have an opportunity to change because we have to, we have no choice but to embrace change. If we must change, let it be transformative and good for all. 

244 years happened in the blink of an eye. An entire nation (ours) was born out of conflict, stress, sacrifice and loss. What can help us today is for all of us to learn from the past, and - for all of us to draw on the collective wisdom of the past.

The British were once our enemy, now we are allies. 

Now, today: Science and Technology are our allies, and AI is not the enemy. 

Our nation was born only 244 years ago. Let's embrace the transformative change that has been thrust upon us, and ALL OF US shall make our nation better.

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