radical Insights.

Weekly Research and Commentary on the Future of Business and Technology.

AI Isn’t Intelligent, Wisdom in the Workplace.

Nov 26, 2018


Welcome to the second radical Briefing. We hope you are enjoying our insights, and it is just enough to spark an actionable thought in your week. Here at radical we focus on helping you build momentum toward a positive future. By deepening the learning and forwarding the action (and repeating!), you will get much closer to the world you want to build.

To kick things off – here is the video recording of a talk Pascal recently gave (via video-link) at disconium in Germany. Pascal covered some exponential foundations, disruption and some brand-new content around business models (“The Stack”).

/ Insights

AI Isn’t Intelligent

Sometimes a rose just isn’t a rose by any other name: Artificial Intelligence isn’t particularly intelligent (at least not compared to human standards – for now); which has a lot to do with the fact that AI is nothing more than a bunch of fancy statistics. And with fancy statistics you might be better at playing chess than a grandmaster, beat a world champion in the ancient game of go, identify all your friends (and those you might rather not call a “friend”) in your pictures or even drive a car – but none of these systems can even begin to explain to you the meaning of their endeavor. Or truly create something new – and even if they come up with something new (like the painting robot of my colleague Hod Lipson), they have no clue as to what it means and why it matters.

A lot of the current debate about AI seems to be carried by the “intelligent” moniker – when in reality we should rather focus our attention on the question of “what can we make better with amazing statistics and the insights we can gain from this.” Andrew Ng, one of the world’s foremost experts on AI, has a simple formula to think about AI: Every decision we make, which takes less than 1 second will be done, and done better, by an AI in the future. The reason for this is simple: An AI can process much (MUCH) more data in a given timeframe than we can and then make statistical decisions based on the data – where humans often revert to “gut feeling” to minimize cognitive load.

With this, the question isn’t “will AI replace humans” but rather “how can we use the specific (and rather narrow) abilities of AI to augment us.”

Insights worth reading this week:

// Leadership

How Much Wisdom is there in Your Workplace?

This week we’ve been reading Chip Conley’s new book Wisdom at Work. Chip is the founder of Joie de Vivre Hospitality and now Strategic Advisor for Hospitality and Strategy at Airbnb. His book centers around the “making of the modern elder,” a case for older talent as a key to success.

Organizations can indeed greatly benefit from the wealth of experience and skills from mature employees. And yet, most organizations do not have a strategy to evolve, grow and retain “elder talent.” Nor do they take time to purposefully integrate and bring together seasoned and budding staff members.

Multi-generational creativity and learning brings great rewards for all groups. Whether as an opportunity for a young leader to have an experienced mentor, or an elder being reinvigorated and challenged by a growing team member. Cultivating growth across the age spectrum is healthy where institutional knowledge can be equally preserved and challenged.

Since 1996, the U.S. labor force has soared from about 12% to more than 22% for people aged 55 and older, and by 2025 three times as many Americans 65+ will be employed in the US than 30 years earlier. Imagine how these statistics will look like when we live until 120 years and longer!

We’d all be wise to start optimizing for wisdom.

Leadership articles worth reading this week:

/// Allies

We are currently interviewing numerous leaders (or radicals as we like to call them) from around the world on their insights and leadership to share with our allies on this mailing list. Stay tuned for our first interview in the next edition of the radical Briefing!

Jane, Mafe and Pascal @ radical